Leading with Kindness and Empathy

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we cast the spotlight on four women who have been working with the Singapore Red Cross (SRC). Having garnered private and public sector experience, Eileen Cher joined the Singapore Red Cross' Corporate Communications team as a Senior Executive in March 2010. She worked closely with the media to profile the contributions of employees, volunteers in communities. She rose up the ranks of the organisation to become the Head of department in 2012, the Director of Outreach, before taking on the role of the Assistant Secretary General, Corporate. She shares her fourteen year journey with the SRC and her aspirations for SRC going forward. 

“We forge a better world when we value women’s inclusion. I have benefited immensely from the culture of inclusion, and am committed to lift the women around us in all that we do,” said Eileen Cher, Assistant Secretary General (Corporate), Singapore Red Cross.

Enhancing the Visibility of SRC's Humanitarian Work

Eileen Cher joined the SRC's Corporate Communications team as a Senior Executive in March 2010, bringing private and public sector experience to her role. As the public relations officer, she partnered with the media to profile fellow employees and volunteers, showcasing their collective impact on communities they serve. She supported internal and external communications to keep stakeholders engaged about SRC's humanitarian work, and to build trust and win support for the brand.

She tied the knot in the same year, and worked with reporters to enhance the visibility of SRC's local and overseas humanitarian efforts, up until she delivered her first child at the end of 2011. This prompted the senior management in SRC to entrust her with the corporate communications team when she returned from maternity leave. Although the new mum had “imposter syndrome” apprehension, she was nevertheless grateful for the trust and opportunity presented to her.

Leading Her 'Dream Team'

Eileen led her “dream team” of multi-cultural talents, which subsequently expanded to include marketing professionals. Some of Eileen’s work included spearheading the SRC’s 65th and 70th Anniversary commemorative events, and representing SRC on the steering committees for regional and international Red Cross and Red Crescent communications forums. Over the years, the team bagged PRISM Awards from the Institute of Public Relations of Singapore for their work, and launched the SRC on social platforms such as Instagram, Threads, TikTok and Telegram to engage youth in humanitarian work. Eileen and her Outreach team catalysed brand partnerships and collaborations in corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact, to support the vulnerable in and beyond Singapore.

As she juggled the demands of work and parenthood, Eileen devoted herself to helping her team mates succeed, while nurturing her two young daughters with her husband she calls her “better half”.

Dedicated to Maximising the Employees' Potential 

In early March 2023, Eileen was appointed as the Assistant Secretary General (Corporate) of SRC. In her role, she oversees the corporate services — marketing and communications, resource development and partnerships (fundraising), human resources, information technology and administration, with a focus on talent development, resource mobilisation, and corporate governance. 

“I am very blessed to have experienced professional and personal growth at SRC. Like my colleagues, we are happy to spend time at work for it is a worthy cause — and we do not see that as a sacrifice, but a privilege to serve,” Eileen shared.

“I see the latest appointment as a mission to help more people become better versions of themselves. Like the Japanese phrase 'ikigai' (life purpose), where we can combine what we are good at, with what we enjoy, with what the world needs, and earn a living from it.” 

Singapore Red Cross International Womens Day 2024 Eileen Cher 1

While she wondered initially if joining the social service sector would cause her career to stagnate, Eileen is glad to be proven wrong. She credits her growth to her bosses and mentors — her supportive superiors when she first joined SRC, her advisory panel members and pioneer volunteers who are generous with sharing their life and industry experience; and Benjamin William, Secretary General/CEO of SRC, who is “a huge believer in nurturing young talent, and has an empowering leadership style.”

Eileen works closely with the management and the HR team to create opportunities for learning & development and advancement, and policies that support diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as work-life harmony — enabling women and men to succeed at work and at home.

An advocate of lifelong learning, she has attended training to prepare herself for the different stages of her career, and she encourages her colleagues to do the same — often sussing out and sharing relevant courses with colleagues across departments. She quipped, “We need to keep pace with evolving times. I learnt social media content creation from my younger colleagues, which helped me become a more effective ambassador for SRC!” 

Uplifting Lives

Over the years, the people she met and the experiences she gained from working at SRC has shaped her as a person. Eileen recalled meeting the elderly mother of one of the residents at the Red Cross Home for the Disabled (RCHD), who would take two buses to visit her daughter daily without fail. Knowing that her daughter was in the expert care of RCHD’s nursing team and volunteers brought her a peace of mind.

“This mother, and many others, may never hear her children call them “mama” this lifetime - as their children have severe or multiple disabilities. But they never lose hope, and they never give up. Love does not need to be articulated, to be felt. And there are other ways we help them show their love. Their perseverance and resilience is a keen reminder of how our work impacts and improves lives,” Eileen recounted.

Looking back on her 14-year journey at SRC, Eileen is proud to come from a workplace of strong and empowered women and men who care deeply about developing female talent, elevating their participation and achievement, supporting them into leadership and decision-making. 

By Clara Lim, Marketing & Communications

Inspired to join our humanitarian movement?  Embark on a career with the Singapore Red Cross or check out internship opportunities.