CEO Turns Educator to Nurture Young Minds


SIT Senior Lecturer Ms Angela Ng made to the ‘Singapore 40-over-40’: Inspiring Women List 2023 by Career Navigators, a job matching service provider for female talents. The recognition embraces the transformational journeys of 40 women over age 40 in Singapore, who took risks to breathe life into their career aspirations.

Angela Ng is a well-travelled and confident media industry veteran who has built a storied career in various leadership positions across the Asia Pacific. In her early forties, she was on top of her game, helming positions as the CEO of advertising and brand agency Initiative China, and as an APAC Regional Media Director of a French luxury goods MNC.

But the relentless pace of her successful career and the constant travelling started to take a toll on her. It was also around that period that she lost her mother.

md in apac

Ms Angela Ng (with laptop) was the Managing Director (Beijing and Shanghai) of Starcom MediaVest Group, a global media communications agency in 2009. (Photo: Angela Ng)

“I was working overseas in China then, living a fast-paced life and flying across Asia thrice a week. There was little time to stop, review and reflect on my life. Like many others, I kept postponing my plans to do the things I wanted until retirement. And one of my dreams has always been to return to university to pursue further studies.” 

It was on one of her many work trips that Angela had a moment of epiphany. She recalled, “I woke up in one of the business hotels, not knowing where I was and feeling lost. That was when I realised, I needed to pause and take a break to think about what I really wanted out of life.”

Making the Transition

It took a cancer diagnosis in her early forties to finally spur her into action. As she had lost her mum and two maternal aunts to cancer, Angela decided to take precautions and went for a genetic screening. Fortunately, her cancer was detected early at Stage 0, and after the necessary treatment, the condition is under control, and she can go about the day-to-day with little disruptions. 

Determined to lead a purposeful life, she explored taking a sabbatical and spoke to friends working in the education sector to find out more about teaching. Describing the whole process as a back-and-forth tango, she said, “It took a lot of courage to embrace change, especially since things were going really well for me career-wise.”

When one of her friends suggested she take up an adjunct lecturing role at Nanyang Polytechnic, she leapt at the chance. As she was based in Hong Kong then and returned to Singapore only on weekends, she would schedule her lessons on Monday mornings before flying back to Hong Kong for work after her classes.

That went on for half a year in 2016 before she decided to take the plunge. “When the polytechnic requested me to stay on to teach another module, I decided I should just do it properly, so I resigned from my full-time job.”

Passion for Education

 Angela has always had an affinity for education. In her secondary school years, she would give tuition to her neighbours’ children to give them a leg-up in their studies. “It felt gratifying when I was able to help them progress to the next level.” That early experience seeded in her a passion for teaching.

angela main

Minister of State, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Manpower, Ms Gan Siow Huang (left) presents the ‘Singapore 40-over-40: Inspiring Women List of honourees’ certificate to Angela.  (Photo: Career Navigators)

Even in her corporate jobs, Angela would gravitate toward training roles. “Since I enjoy training people, I would ask for such roles during performance reviews. As there were not many dedicated trainer jobs in the media industry, they would assign me in-house training roles and mentorship responsibilities instead.” 

Lecturing at the polytechnic affirmed that she had made the right choice. “I really looked forward to my Monday classes with the students. I loved how they were always full of ideas and creativity, which rejuvenated and energised me.”

Advocate for Lifelong Learning  

As she pivoted to her new role as an educator, Angela also took the opportunity to return to university in 2019 to pursue a Master’s in Positive Psychology. As a media strategist, she had been exposed to studies on consumer behaviour. Fascinated by the psychology behind it, she wanted to understand how she could employ similar strategies to promote positive well-being and uplift others.

In 2021, Angela joined the Singapore Institute of Technology as a senior lecturer in the Digital Communications and Integrated Media degree programme. 

Now, Angela is pursuing a PhD in Applied Psychology with UK’s University of Reading alongside her lecturing duties at SIT, researching about emotional literacy in the workplace. “Emotions have a lot of power. I hope my research can uncover ways to help people manage or leverage emotions to motivate themselves, overcome fear and become more courageous in life,” she revealed.

It has been a journey of self-discovery, insights and self-fulfilment for Angela as she navigates a new chapter in her life. “During my career transitions, there were times when I felt like an intern, so it has been a humbling journey. Yet, at the same time, every day is refreshing to me because there is so much to learn.

The curiosity and drive keep me youthful and going,” she shared. “And watching my students graduate, get a job and move up in life gave me a sense of pride and fulfilment that no corporate job could ever provide me.

Moving from FOMO (Fear of missing out) to JOMO (Joy of missing out), I think I appreciate a quieter life where I can savour life more fully now.”

with dcim grads

Angela and her students from the pioneer cohort of the Digital Communications and Integrated Media degree programme last year at the graduation ceremony.  (Photo: Angela Ng)

A Decade of Impact: SIT Celebrates 10 Years of Transforming Education
SIT Launches First-of-its-kind Centre for AI in Collaboration with NVIDIA