By KELVIN TEH
Chitra Devi Gopalakrishnan, a sustainable seafood manager for the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature Malaysia, emerged as the first female to win the Tun Razak Youth Leadership Award (TRYLA), which was first introduced in 1993.
She was recognised for her exemplary display of leadership skills.
“I think that it is my team spirit. I’ve always believed in teamwork and have always declared myself as a team player.
“I think it needs to be clear that anyone who comes to this programme needs to throw 100% to the programme, otherwise you would not reap the benefits. If it were just 50% or 60%, you would not be able to get the deep insights that you get if you are fully committed to it,” Chitra told The Malaysian Reserve.
The award, presented by the Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM), celebrates leadership excellence. It is given to the best candidate of a five-day leadership event.
Named after Malaysia’s second prime minister, it aims to develop outstanding leaders between the ages of 24 and 36 from a range of ethnic and religious backgrounds. For the first time this year, the event also saw the participation of international aspiring young leaders from New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.
This year, the event forged a collaboration with Outward Bound Malaysia in Lumut, one of the oldest centres outside the UK accredited to train and shape youth leaders.
The programme features daunting tasks and activities that require participants to work together to overcome challenges and adapt to the forces of nature where they can prove themselves as independent and worthy leaders.
Among the tasks were kayaking, camping in the wilderness and abseiling. It was a first time for many of the participants.
The programme serves to foster young talents in terms of leadership and teamwork where participants are able to nurture and bring the values learnt back to their workplace.
“I was very apprehensive when I first came as they had a host of challenging activities. I’m not a very physical person. I was not sure if I could do them. But the moment I decided to join the programme, I said ‘100%’ I am going to try this out and let’s just see what happens” said Chitra.
All India Management Association manager Kapil Verma, one of the international participants, said the programme allowed him to learn how to deal with people from different backgrounds and also escape from one’s comfort zone.
Kapil, a manager for the procurement and supply chain management programme, said the programme had also allowed him to grow in terms of mental fortitude.