An accountant, husband and his latest adventure, father to a 16-month old daughter, Joel Dass has always taken on life’s challenges heads on.
Since joining Boustead Holdings Berhad under the Accountant Development Programme in 2012 he has had a holistic view of the company’s operations having been seconded to the company’s various business units including University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Boustead Plantations Berhad, Group Finance and is currently positioned in Corporate Planning.
A go-getter who is always up for a new adventure, when Joel was selected by his company to join TRYLA, the Experiential Leadership Programme for Young Leaders hosted by the Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM) and Outward Bound Malaysia, Lumut (OBML) he not only embraced the challenge but triumphed as the winner and earned the title of 23rd TRYLAN.
Handed out to the most deserving participant since its inception in 1993, the TRYLA trophy is a symbol of strength and leadership displayed by the recipient throughout the programme.
We spoke to Joel to find out the learnings from his TRYLA adventure and his advice to employers on how to engage with the new generation.
What was the first thing that came to your mind when you signed up for TRYLA?
The question I asked myself was ‘Am I even capable of completing the entire 5 days in a physically challenging environment?’
From kayaking to jungle tracking, what would you say was your favourite activity during TRYLA.
It has to be the kayaking and jungle tracking expedition. I have never recalled such a physically and mentally challenging environment where I persevered 2 hours straight being in a kayak even though I felt my back giving way and my body feeling faint.
I have never been a fan of high altitudes so the jungle trekking plus hiking session to the top of the Pulau Pangkor mountain was definitely many steps out of my comfort zone.
In TRYLA you have to work together as a team during the activities, what were some of the challenges you faced when working together and how did you overcome them?
One of the main things I found very peculiar was the fact that many participants were trying really hard to display their leadership qualities. Their actions ended up delaying the entire work process during the activities.
My approach was to just focus on the job given to me and help those who were in need of help. For those who didn’t want the help, I would not let any of their antics bother me.
How did your experience at TRYLA change you?
I found out 3 key things during my experience
- I can do anything I set my mind to do. Until and unless my body fails me, I won’t stop.
- A real leader never needs to tell others he is the leader.
- As good as anyone can be, no man is an island. Teamwork makes the dream work.
What are some of the challenges young leaders such as yourself face today?
I believe one of the main challenge is trying to change perspectives left by generational gaps. The current generation is driven by reason and motivation. Gone are the days that the older generation tells you what to do and you do it without asking a question.
However, I believe the times are changing and with the emergences of various media, mindsets are also shifting.
What are your suggestions to employers on how they can solve these challenges listed?
I have proposed several employee driven ideas which have been working especially well in engaging the younger generation to be empowered and motivated.
One of the best ways to start is to break down any barriers and create a flat structure for the younger generation to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, ideas and perspectives in an open setting. I believe there is room for improvement however we are definitely making lots of progress.
On March 30th a new batch of young leaders will be taking on the TRYLA challenge, any advice to share with them?
Don’t ever give up until your body fails on you. You will come out realizing that you can do anything you put your heart and mind into.
Interested in taking on the TRYLA adventure for yourself? Click here to BOOK your spot today! Hurry as the next batch is set to go off on their adventure in less than two weeks!