Panthers Of ISKL #72 – The Staff Association Stars

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Staff Association (SA) - Panthers of ISKL

This week we meet up with Ashton Anthony, Carmela Ganeson, Indira Muniandy, Krystle Van Dijk, Melissa Lee, Mohd Syafiq, Najihah Athar and Punita Subramaniam, the eight members who make up the ISKL Staff Association 2020-2022 team!

The Staff Association, who are voted as representatives by their fellow colleagues, are the backbone of our ISKL staff and comprises members from various departments within our school.

Here are their stories.

In two words, describe what the Staff Association (SA) team does?

Ashton: Connecting people

Carmela: Bridging & strengthening

Indira: Create memories

Krystle: Build & support

Melissa: Bridging the gap

Mohd Syafiq: Networking and motivation

Najihah: Celebrate life!

Punita: Staff Representation!

Why did you decide to take on this role, and why is the SA needed? What would happen to ISKL without the SA?

Ashton: Those who voted for me showed that they trusted me to take on this position, I did not want to disappoint, and I also felt honored to be chosen to join SA. Without the SA, we would lose an instrumental communication bridge that connects us to the Head of School (HOS).

Carmela: This is the first time SA reps were chosen via an online voting system, and I am glad to be entrusted with this role. SA is the right channel for ISKL staff to channel their voices, and we do our best to listen to each of them. No staff, no SA 🙂

Indira: It was a surprise for me to know I was chosen for this role. We are here to spice up our precious ISKL family and taste the flavors of each member’s life journey together. Without the SA, ISKL would be tasteless. It’s like when you bake a delicious chocolate cake, and then you realize that you forgot to add the sugar in the cake!

Krystle: I decided to be part of the SA to create fun events for the staff and ISKL community, whether it be a community-building or fundraising event. Each member comes with their own unique experience and talents, and with my event management experience, I can somehow contribute by organizing fun events for the staff and ISKL Community. I think ISKL would still work like clockwork if there weren’t an SA, but perhaps it won’t be as FUN…!

Melissa:  I felt that the staff needed a voice, and as SA, we are the voice of our staff and the community.

Mohd Syafiq: We have been selected by the ISKL staff, and this is important because they believe in us to deliver all their messages and bring forward their issues.

Najihah: This role came as a complete surprise! After learning more about the previous SA committee, I felt honored and humbled to be nominated for this, especially since I had only been at ISKL for a few months. It then became a role I took very seriously because my incredibly supportive co-workers believed in us! ISKL staff, faculty, students, parents, and the Board, whom we all call family, are the most crucial pillars in SA’s mission. The mission of bringing everyone together in creative ways was what ISKL needed this past year, and hopefully, it will always be the goal!

Punita: This was an unexpected role that came my way because the whole process was done via online voting. I was surprised to be on the list of people’s choices :). Without the SA, we will not be able to hear our staff and their concerns.

What’s the best and most fun part of your role?

Ashton: Coming up with fun activities and successfully executing them.

Carmela: Just being a SA representative brings so much fun.

Indira: When I deliver the birthday cards and little gifts to the staff on their big day. When I see the big smiles on their beautiful faces, I feel we, the SA, have made their day.

Krystle: Coming up with ideas on creating events for the staff and getting other community members involved in supporting them.

Melissa:  Planning #ColorsofISKL

Mohd Syafiq: I have to plan birthday gifts for all the staff and deliver a gift to them. I see their happiness when they receive it.

Najihah: Laughing with everyone we get to meet because of SA work. Our work doesn’t feel like work because it’s so much fun!

Punita: Planning activities.

What is the one thing you wish the ISKL Community knows about what your team does?

Ashton: I wish they knew that everything we do is to serve the ISKL community and make working here even more fun than it already is.

Carmela: We listen and act! We communicate and collaborate! We build and strengthen the GAP!

Indira: We care, and we share happiness for everyone as a family.

Krystle: We could do SO MUCH more if COVID-19 were not around. Humbug to the pandemic.

Melissa:  We are here to bring everyone together in this community because you are part of ISKL.

Mohd Syafiq: When we are doing a donation drive, we can show all vendors that the ISKL community still cares about each other.

Najihah: I hope they know how much we love our community and want to see people happy, working together with our unique roles towards a common goal, celebrating each other and life!

Punita: Know that we are collaborating with the entire ISKL community. We celebrate every group of people at ISKL – the staff, faculty, parents, students, cleaners, gardeners, guards, etc. We are inclusive and value relationships.

POISKL Staff association
Photo was taken before MCO

Tell us the most significant challenge your team has faced and how you have resolved it?

Ashton: The lockdown has been a significant challenge as we had to scrap many ideas for activities (for e.g., the badminton tournament). We overcame this by rethinking our ideas and coming up with activities that follow SOPs and can be moved to an online platform.

Carmela: Our Majlis Kanser Nasional (MAKNA) donation drive. We started this project on campus and when we moved to online learning, put the entire donation process on hold. However, we managed to rectify it upon returning to campus.

Indira: When we planned to do many fun activities on campus, and then there was a lockdown, we still managed to switch gears to do them online, for e.g., “Grab A-Team It’s Quiz Night.”

Krystle: I guess miscommunication comes with any job, so we own up to our mistakes and live and learn. That’s the only thing we can learn from that.

Melissa:  The punch card system. However, things ran smoothly when our new Director of Human Resources, Tracy Liew, came on board, and the system was removed without much hesitation.

Mohd Syafiq: We need to do our work virtually during a pandemic, so it is hard to plan and deliver all the birthday gifts right on time, however, we still managed to provide them to our ISKL staff.

Najihah: Due to the lockdown, we can’t have any food and sports events!!! Hopefully this will be possible next year.

Punita: When we are off-campus, the connection is slower, and we don’t get to see each other in person… It was challenging to gather active participation in activities, yet we have had some fantastic members taking part.

Best moment or event you’ve been part of thus far?

Ashton: Panther’s Pay It Forward. I might not have been as involved with this event as the rest of the SA, but knowing that we reached out and helped our community during the tough times makes me very happy and proud.

Carmela: Planning the “Faculty Appreciation Video.” It was such a great experience as this was done for the first time ever.

Indira: Getting dressed for the colorful celebrations like Hari Raya, Deepavali, Chinese New Year, and Christmas!

Krystle: Being able to fundraise for the staff and spending on them.

Melissa:  Definitely #ColorsofISKL.

Mohd Syafiq: During Earth Week, we worked together to pack seeds and deliver them to all the staff, faculty, and students.

Najihah: Every Admin Council meeting because we get to reflect on past events and pitch our future events. It is always well received and it’s a reason to celebrate good news. Also because Rami Madani (HOS), Ika Muzamal (Talent & Culture Development Lead), and Tracy Liew are enormous cheerleaders for us. It’s awesome and humbling.

Punita: The faculty video appreciation! Initially, we came up with the idea to celebrate faculty in person for the first time, but we couldn’t do that due to MCO. Hence, the idea of creating an appreciation video came up, and the fact that the faculty enjoyed the video was so fulfilling.

Who or what inspires you?

Ashton: The other SA members. Their enthusiasm is infectious.

Carmela: My mom. She is the strongest woman I’ve ever known.

Indira: My ISKL family and my family at home. They keep me safe and protected in every way.

Krystle: A lot of people, but I will go with my husband, Gael, on this one. As corny as it sounds, he does inspire me! There’s something about him that makes me want to be a better person.

Melissa:  To be honest, it is Siew Thai Chen, my colleague, who inspires me. She was the one who spent time nurturing me in this phase and pushed me to where my potential lies.

Mohd Syafiq: My colleagues always support and help me improve myself when we do activities for the community.

Najihah: The turtles in the pond at school. They are just living their best lives, making people feel happy and calm. Now that’s inspiring!

Punita: Myself, to engineer me the way I want me to be.

What does ‘Be All You Are’ mean to you?

Ashton: Knowing what you are good at, what your talents are and using those skills to improve your life and the lives of people around you.

Carmela: For me, I can be myself and reach my full potential without having to change my identity. And I’m honestly happy that I am at a place where I can nurture my potential to be great at what I’m doing 🙂 Thank you, ISKL!

Indira: Being me is fun because I can give everything I want to all. When I am myself, I can give the fullest of myself to everyone when I am all I can “BE”!

Krystle: It means to be the best version of yourself – to be fully accepting of your faults and strengths, looking for ways to develop oneself to become a better person. Not only for your well-being and happiness but also by helping others and, in my case, being the best example I can be for my children.

Melissa:  I would say it means nothing is impossible. During this pandemic, it has shown me this phrase clearly. Since the lockdown, we have to go virtual to make #ColorsfISKL fun, and since we can’t do it physically, we bring it to where technology brings us via  Zoom, Google currents, Jamboard, and Google photos.

Mohd Syafiq: By joining SA, we are working together as a team. We can do alot of things, and we can solve all  problems. ISKL is a place where I have improved my skills, knowledge and made a lot of friends. Thank you, ISKL.

Najihah: Professionally, it’s embracing the exposure I have with being a staff and working towards becoming faculty. My role is the best of both worlds, and it’s everything I am and can be! Personally, it’s about creating a space for your own unique identity to fit in an already diverse community. To feel at home and give it your all.

Punita: To celebrate the little achievements every day.

Do you know a student, faculty, staff, or alumni with a story to tell? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.

To find out more inspiring stories of our staff, read about Sarah Chandran our tireless tech or Rina Sharina our devoted MS Nurse!

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