When you meet Andee Chua for the first time, you get this strange feeling that you have met him before. It probably stems from the fact that he is warm, open, and truly one of the friendliest people you'd have ever met.
How it all began
A little known fact about Andee is that he used to be a professional dancer and a model and a very good one at that! In fact, since a young age, he loved being on the stage and talking in front of people. “That has helped me along my journey in modelling and to have a great stage presence,” reveals Andee. And not just any model, he walked for the Emporio Armani Menswear Spring/Summer 2016 show at Milan Fashion Week!
Although community building was a less popular concept when he was growing up, it was something that he thoroughly enjoyed. “It was just about bringing people together, all of them with similar interests, and that's what I enjoy doing since the day I began dancing,” he shares. As for personal branding, this also came natural with his love of using social media to share content throughout his journey. His past experiences as the Head of Community at co-working space Found8 and a marketing role at proptech startup OhmyHome helped him further hone his skills and also build a great passion for entrepreneurship. Today, Andee heads Singapore at Young Founders School and co-founded the Kampung Collective. And since we, at NewCampus, love accomplished people and always find tons of things to learn from them, we got Andee on board as a class host at NewCampus, to share about topics in community building and personal branding.
On passion, entrepreneurship and building communities
Juggling two meaningful organisations is no easy task and Andee has his hands full. As the country manager of Young Founders School, he is passionate about bringing entrepreneurship education to high school students, aged 11 to 18. Andee shares, “This is done through our ideation workshops, as well as our startup boot camp where we matchmake mentors who are business leaders and entrepreneurs, to kids of a very young age.” Through this, these students have the opportunity to exercise their creativity, generate ideas, and even pitch to venture capitalists.
Apart from connecting students to mentors through the Young Founders School, Andee’s doing some exciting work at his other establishment – the Kampung Collective. “It is a ground-up initiative where we bring community builders across Asia together. So, in short, we call it the community for community builders”.
The importance of being skilled
Many of us might have a love-hate relationship with public speaking, but Andee also asserts that public speaking is definitely a “21st-century skill set” that “everyone in the modern world should have”. Andee recognizes that it was his multifaceted skill-set that has helped him open many doors in his career. Being in a community and constantly building new ones allowed him to know more people outside of his usual circle of interaction. From a more practical point of view, he is also quick to highlight that the new connections made has been immensely using for driving business sales and growth.
While these skills have worked out well for Andee, he strongly believes that everyone can benefit from developing them. Andee shares how people in a community can learn extensively from one another, but also notes that learning is not the sole goal. “It is not just about what you can take from the community, but also what you could give to this community,” he shares.
Challenges in skill acquisition
Here comes the tough part: How do we get started at building these skills? The first important question that Andee posits as we embark on acquiring these skills is: “Why do you want to do it?” Finding out our ‘why’ will unearth a clear direction and intention, and it becomes much easier for us to pick these skills up.
Another significant challenge Andee predicts in the path to skill-building is finding the right resources and knowledge to get started. While information on these topics are readily available on the internet, the process of understanding the information and committing to the lessons can be arduous. This is where Andee believes having a community to learn these skills with would be useful - “I think it's important to find the right support network to learn these skills.”
Andee Chua is indeed a multi-talented entrepreneur who continues to innovate and find new ways to bring young enthusiastic learners and communities together through a mix of skills and passion. What greatly impressed us about Andee was his passion to always stay curious and learning.
Inspired by Andee’s journey? Join us and learn from the man himself in his upcoming class: The power of building a community - 10 Dec 2019
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