10 influential professional speakers in Singapore right now

Check who's who on the list.

Everyone can become speakers but not all can bring change and influence to listeners.

Singapore Business Review over the past month has called for nominations for professional corporate speakers that are making a buzz in the industry and here’s what we got.

In no particular order, here is a list of some of the most sought after professional speakers in Singapore. Read on and learn what their nominators have to say about them.

Most of them are loved for being able to simplify complex business terms and concepts and have mastered a unique blend of entertainment, engagement and education.

1. James Leong C.Foo

Position: CEO and Master Trainer of Visions.One Consulting, Adjunct Associate Professor of National University of Singapore

Industry: Training and education

James is the go-to expert in making sense of the financial aspects of business. A highly engaging trainer and keynote presenter on topics such as “Finance for Non-finance Managers” and “Financial Acumen in Business”, James has the amazing talent to make accounting and financial concepts simple and bring them to life through humour and interesting analogies.

James took the stage at Raise Your Game 2013, an annual professional speaker event run by Asia Professional Speakers Singapore, and brought the house down.

His deft speech design and audience involvement brought a potentially dry topic to life in a way that only a creative professional can.

What made it additionally special is that James delivered as one who is not pretentious but personable and not rehearsed but real.

Articulate, charismatic and persuasive on stage, he is sincere, down-to-earth and extremely approachable off stage.

His wit and positive attitude radiates to the world. Have a chat with him and see how you will feel you are the only person he is talking to in a crowded room.

As a leader in action, James has a big heart and is innovatively entrepreneurial in his approaches.

James is a chartered accountant and an adjunct professor with National University of Singapore who also has the unique achievement of doing Singapore proud by emerging as champion in the Year 2000 Toastmasters International Pan Southeast Asia Humourous Speech Contest.

2. Karen Leong

Position: Director, Influence Solutions
Industry: Leadership Development

Karen is a expert on Influence, and is highly regarded for her transformational and results-
oriented programs. Her Influence 247 strategies provide powerful, practical solutions to win people over, a much-needed skill for success and fulfillment.

Karen is a much sought-after keynote speaker, having inspired diverse audiences including CEOs and senior management, corporate executives and professionals.

She is also a champion for women's leadership, and has been invited to speak at conferences by forward looking organizations such as McDonald's, Credit Suisse and Covidien.

Karen is someone who has gone off the beaten path in life - a living example that if you can
imagine it, you can achieve it.

She is a CPA, and first established a career in audit and consulting with KPMG and KPMG Consulting in Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

Her entrepreneurial journey begin when, despite no formal training in fashion, she launched
her bespoke fashion label in Singapore, leading a team of designers.It turned a profit within six months.

After two years of running a profitable business, she realized her passion of helping people be their best selves. Karen then founded Influential Solutions, now a regional leadership company with the mission: To help companies be more profitable, by helping people be more productive.

Today, Karen is regularly featured as an influence and networking expert in the media, such as The Straits Times, Mediacorp 938 and leading magazines.

She is also a contributing author of the best-selling book 88 Essential Secrets for Achieving Greater Success at Work.

Karen is accredited as a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance, and is a master trainer in Improving Human Performance Certificate program by ASTD (American Society of Training and Development.

She on the board and chairs the audit committee, of STADA(Singapore Training and Development Association).

She is a professional member with the Asia Professional Speakers Association.

Karen is an avid traveller who thrives on a diet of morning yoga, and regular no-fee speaking engagements for women and not-for-profit initiatives.

3. Ken Wong

Position: Leadership & Service Coach; Workshop Facilitator & Speaker, Certified AEM-Cube Consultant, Certified Emergenetics Associate.

Industry: Corporate Training

Ken Wong is the Leadership & Service Coach of ProActive Training & Education, a Regional Training & Management Consultancy, based in Singapore.

He is highly sought after as he is multi-lingual and conducts his workshops and seminars in English, Mandarin and Cantonese for clients in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

He blends International Profiling tools like AEM-Cube® (Change Leadership) and Emergenetics® (Thinking & Behavioural Preferences) into his Leadership and Service workshops and seminars with the Asian perspectives.

Adopting his unique approach in training and speaking for MNCs, SMEs and Government agencies, Ken has impacted thousands of his learners - Middle Managers, Supervisors, Baby Boomers, GEN X & Y and even inmates - and greatly enhanced their personal effectiveness and team performance.

Ken's vast experience and expertise is recognized and asserted as a Contributing Author to ''88 Essential Secrets for Achieving Greater Success at Work'' book and being one of the 49 Professional Members in Asia Professional Speakers - Singapore (APSS).

He has been in the media for over 25 times for the past 12 months.

4. Shirley Taylor

Position: CEO of STTS Training, Former President, Asia Professional Speakers Singapore (2011-12

Industry: Speaking and training

Shirley is a communication speaker/trainer and an international published author of several best-selling books.

As a trainer and speaker, Shirley’s workshops are dynamic, engaging and impactful.

As 2011-12 President of APSS, Asia Professional Speakers Singapore, Shirley has given her time, energy and leadership selflessly.

Under her leadership, she has been able to grow the APSS speaking/training community and expand the influence and status of the association.

Shirley’s vision, drive and willingness to go the extra mile has won her accolades such as "strong attraction energy", "amazing", "watershed president", “generous heart”, and “APSS has taken a quantum leap” from fellow professional members of APSS.

Always dependable and visionary, she is someone to whom others look for leadership, mentoring and guidance.

She is a beacon of light shining brightly in the speaking and training industry, someone who steers aspiring as well as seasoned professional speakers on an enlightened journey of growth and professionalism.

For her service to the association, Shirley has been awarded the APSS “Spirit of Service Award” two years running in 2011 and 2012.

5. Prabu Naidu

Position: Co-founder of Facilitators Network Singapore

Industry: Human Resources / OD Consulting

Prabu Naidu holds a Masters in Organisational Behaviour (Birkbeck College, UK) and gained 19 years of MNC experience (1980-1999) with Philips, AT&T and Compaq which spanned diverse functions in Engineering, Materials, Project Management, TQM, HRD, Managing Change and Supply Chain Re-Engineering - these set the foundation for his current fourteen years (2000-2013) of training, facilitation and consulting work in organisationaldevelopment.

He has designed and delivered numerous OD interventions for MNCs, SMEs, Government departments & not-for-profit organisations in Singapore and regionally for MNEs & SMEs. He is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) and an INIFAC Certified Master Facilitator (CMF). He co-founded the Facilitators Network in 2004 to upscale the competencies of facilitators in Singapore and the region.

His lectures at professional institutions are always well received by the students as all his lectures are very engaging and facilitative.

He co-authored SPOT on Facilitation.

Currently he is building capacity in the region for OD Consulting, with a focus on group process facilitation in engaging multi-stakeholders.

6. Andrew Chow

Position: Social Media Strategist of IDEAMART

Industry: Training and Development

Andrew Chow is a visionary, giver and collaborator among his peers.

As President of APSS, he is the brand ambassador and also the media relation officers linking many professional speakers and trainers to radio and the press.

As a social media strategist, he has huge followers on Facebook, Twitter and his blog. He is a dynamic and authentic speaker, and a popular choice among reputable institution like SIM, SCCCI and SNEF.

His new book Social Media 247 became a organizational strategy roadmap for many companies to embark on Conversational Marketing instead of Campaign Marketing.

His famous quote on social media is "If social media content is King, social conversation will be the Queen"

7. Tina Altieri

Position. Media communication expert; Managing Principal of her own company, MAX

Industry – Media and Communication

Tina is renowned in Singapore and the region for her “lioness” approach when it comes to preparing company spokespeople to face the media. Her calm and gentle demeanor as she throws the toughest of questions (complete with lights, microphones and cameras) will often throw participants completely off balance.

Company heads, many in Singapore’s Finance and Pharma industries, are becoming familiar with Tina’s rough and tumble coaching style to get them confident enough to take on the world….or at the very least, take on a tough CNBC interview!

In the end, this Aussie born news anchor and journalist will make you feel like you’ve done a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson.
Surprisingly most of her “prey” keep coming back for more coaching.

8. Thaddeus Lawrence

Position: Professional Speaker and Corporate Trainer

Industry: Personal Development, Learning and Development

Thaddeus is well known for successfully racing 1,000 kilometres in the hottest, coldest, windiest and driest deserts on earth, in a competition rated by TIME magazine as one of its Top Ten Endurance Competitions in the world and which Men’s Health calls “the ultimate test of human endurance”.

With his remarkable feats in the Sahara, Gobi, Atacama and Antarctica raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable organisations, Thaddeus has been called the Adventure Philanthropist.

He uses the powerful metaphor of life being an ultra endurance race – it is not about going fast and compromising the race, but about going far and completing the race – to live his mission of helping teams and individuals build and sustain superior performance by setting audacious goals, overcoming extreme obstacles and persevering through adversity to achieve their targets in all areas of their personal and professional life.

Thaddeus doesn’t just preach the message; he is a practitioner of dreaming big and stepping out his comfort zone to take inspired action.

As an entrepreneur and Vice-President of Asia Professional Speakers Singapore, Thaddeus epitomises a unique blend of philanthropic pursuit and business enterprise, personal altruism and professional passion.

9. Jovin Hurry

Position: Trainer/Facilitator

Industry: Learning & Development

Jovin specialises at asking the right questions to the right person at the right time.

He probes entrepreneurs at how they negotiate around core sustainability issues, in their world of turbulent markets, limited resources, social disparities and structural faults.

He derives his expertise from the last 15 years he spent studying, living and working in Asia and Europe, as a student, an analyst and a facilitator in the field of sustainability, business and learning and development.

He's about to start-up.

The difference that he has made has been his focus on entrepreneurship and sustainability topics in the area of Learning & Development.
Jovin completed two Master's in Sweden (Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability and Entrepreneurship & Innovation); graduated in Environmental Engineering from NUS; and has chaired, facilitated and organised a number of events on sustainability in Asia and Europe.

Among the various awards and recognitions that Jovin won are: the “Global Sustainability Learning Award 2005”, organised by AIESEC, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Shell and the International Business Leaders Forum, with a US$ 6,500 merit scholarship; a place in the CEOs and entrepreneurs "Circle of Excellence" of the OFW World Business Dialogue in Cologne, Germany; a seat in the top 20 for the International Students Committee (ISC) Symposium in St-Gallen, Switzerland; the “4th Asia-Pacific Cup English Presentation Contest” (APEP) in Singapore with a total of US$ 4,000 scholarship received from the Japanese Nobel Laureate Leo Asaki; the “Competent Toastmaster Award” from Toastmasters International; was one of the nominees for “The Outstanding Young Person’ Award 2008 (Personal Improvement category), organised by the Junior Chamber International (Mauritius).

His travels have revealed to him that there is a lack of human connections in business in this day and age. He's currently building a selective results-based niche entrepreneurial circle of doers, thinkers and influencers.

In role-plays and simulations using current technology, he will facilitate these crucial high-stake cross-sectoral conversations and actions on business and sustainability.

Using the 80/20 rule as his guide, his focus is on the 20% of people who achieve 80% of the work and willing to collaborate more than compete.

10. Name: Jonathan Poh

Position: Managing Consultant, Krempl Communications

Industry: HR – Management Development Consulting

Jonathan is a veteran HR practitioner who is impassioned in developing the talents in the region to be highly competitive and successful on a global stage.

He has significantly contributed in driving key talent & leadership strategies during his tenure in various corporate and consulting capacity in the last 20 years.

In his present role, Jonathan continues his passion in helping to sharpen the regional leaders through their Global Executive Mindset philosophy, development and coaching; and at the same time pursue to collaborate with the tertiary institutions to help make a difference in the students by getting them to be “corporate-ready”; to become the global leaders of tomorrow in Asia.


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