This year, we honoured four inspiring personalities who are outstanding leaders in their fields with the Patron, Tastemaker, Vanguard and Sustainability awards. Many congratulations to our 2022 laureates!
Patron Award 2022
Mary Ann Tsao, chairperson and founding director of the Tsao Foundation
Established in 1993 by Tsao Ng Yu Shun, who was 86 years old at the time, Tsao Foundation champions the needs of seniors and their caregivers through community-based eldercare, training and education, policy-relevant research, collaboration and advocacy.
At the helm of the non-profit organisation since its beginning is Mrs Tsao’s granddaughter, Mary Ann Tsao, who has, in the last three decades, steward mindset and systemic change in the ageing experiences of older people in Singapore. To date, the Tsao Foundation has launched community-based, interdisciplinary medical and psychosocial healthcare facility Hua Mei Centre for Successful Ageing; Hua Mei Training Academy specialising in eldercare; Internal Longevity Centre (ILC) Singapore for community development programmes, research and collaboration; and Community for Successful Ageing (ComSA), which boasts an integrated care system that improves the quality of life of seniors in the interconnected areas of health, personal empowerment, social participation and wellbeing.
In recognition of her contributions, the Prime Minister’s Office awarded Mary Ann with the Prestige’s Public Service Medal and Public Service Star awards. Most recently, she was one of 50 world leaders credited by the United Nations for transforming the world to be a better place to grow older.
“I’d like to think that we can make some difference in how we think about ageing and longevity,” said Mary Ann at the Prestige Anew Ball 2022. There are times where I feel very discouraged, like we haven’t done a lot. But next year is our 30th anniversary; that’s how long I’ve been here. And we’ve been thinking about ‘Anew’, about how our way forward is. This is a very nice acknowledgement and encouragement to keep moving forward.”
Tastemaker Award 2022
Susanna Kang, socialite and philanthropist
Dressed in a figure-hugging, crystal-embellished Alin Le’Kal gown and Cartier jewels, society doyenne Susanna Kang sparkled like a diamond under the spotlight as she received the Tastemaker award at the Prestige Anew Ball 2022. “I can’t begin to say how thrilled I am tonight,” said Susanna on stage. “I flew in just for this momentous evening after a hiatus of three years. I live every moment with love and joy, and somehow became an accidental tastemaker. Thank you, Burda, for this award.”
Never the one to impress, Susanna is widely known in the society and fashion circuit for her fearless and fabulous style, which she says is an expression of her free, creative spirit and taste for adventure. Her love for the bold, beautiful and artistic extends beyond her wardrobe: The former marketing and branding specialist serves as a board member at Wild Rice, supporting its efforts in fundraising for the theatre every year. Now that galas are back on our social calendar, we can’t wait to see what Susanna will be wearing on the next red carpet.
Vanguard Award 2022
David Z Wang, co-founder and group CEO of Helicap
Seeing an opportunity to make an impact through financial inclusion and providing sustainable finance to the unbanked and underbanked, David Z Wang started Helicap in 2018 with two other partners.
The local fintech investment firm, which specialises in alternative lending, facilitates loans to non-bank financial institutions that support fast-growing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Since its founding, Helicap has transacted more than $200 million in deal volume. More impressively, it boasts a stellar track record of consistently hitting target returns for investors with zero defaults of balance sheet loans.
David’s work is highly recognised in his field. In 2019, he was awarded the Top FinTech Leader title by the Singapore FinTech Association. The following year, he was named a Singapore Founder Finalist for the MAS FinTech Awards in 2020. Having spent a life-changing semester in the US and wanting to enable students with financial needs to do the same, he also set up a bursary, the 33 Capital Student Experience Award, at his alma mater, NUS Business School.
“I always tell my staff, “You will accomplish much, if you work harder than your peers. You will be a great person, if you also do it with your heart,’ says David, upon receiving the 2022 Vanguard Award at the ball. “I hope that this recognition of my work can serve as an inspiration to others and create a positive impact for our future generations.”
Sustainability Award 2022
Ho Ren Yung, senior vice president of Brand HQ at Banyan Tree Group
A sustainability advocate long before it was trending, Ho Ren Yung leads the evolution of Banyan Tree Group as it sharpens its focus in bringing holistic travel experiences to a world out of balance.
Understanding the importance of inner work, the company began its mindfulness journey from within, through its Organisational Wellbeing Index to assess employees’ state of well-being and the “I Am With You” service culture programme designed to build resilience and mindfulness among its staff. “This has created team cohesion, passion and conviction in the value of what we offer guests, and a shared connection between our guests and associates,” says the hospitality visionary in an interview we did with her in June.
Against the backdrop of the travel boom, Banyan Tree has launched two new brand extensions, Escape and Veya, under the Banyan Tree Wellbeing Sanctuary concept. Opened in late 2021, Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape in Bali is constructed from recycled Ulin (iron) wood from Kalimantan region, features a “no walls, no doors” concept for guests to fully immerse in central Bali’s local heritage and culture, and boast a zero-waste farm-to-table menu. Banyan Tree Veya Phuket, which debuted this March, is a wellbeing-centred resort that offers bespoke programmes built on Banyan Tree’s proprietary eight pillars of wellbeing that involves the mind, body and soul.
“I’m more excited and driven than ever, as we took this year to reshape our sustainability strategy and deepen it through everything we do and how we do it,” says Ren Yung in her acceptance speech, recorded remotely for the Prestige Anew Ball. “We’re being bold in surpassing industry targets for decarbonisation, linking ESG KPIs to incentive plans, experimenting with carbon positive and circular new builds, mapping where our food comes from, and even looking into rewilding all the green spaces of our properties worldwide. There’s so much to do, and so much that we can do. Every one of us has something that we can change in service of a better world. It is a hopeful future ahead.”