During Girl Guides Singapore annual general meeting on 16 May 2020, we introduced our new Chief Commissioner, Ms Gan Siow Huang. Let us find out a little more about Ms Gan and her plans for GGS moving forward.

Can you give us a brief background about yourself?

I was a Brownie and Girl Guide when I was in primary school and secondary school. My experiences in Guiding gave me courage and confidence to try new things and take on new challenges. I joined the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) after my A levels and had a rewarding career with the Air Force for more than 25 years. Even though it was unusual for women to join the military then, I was drawn to the SAF’s mission of protecting Singapore and sense of adventure. To a large extent, Girl Guides’ service to the community and outdoor spirit were the things that resonated with me when I was younger.

About eight years ago, I re-connected with GGS to contribute to the Guiding movement and help girls become future leaders in our community. I was appointed Membership Commissioner in 2013 and Deputy Chief Commissioner in 2019.

Given that you are a working mother with 3 daughters and are actively involved in various volunteering work, what inspired you to take on the helm at GGS?

I’m passionate about serving the community and was also inspired by passionate and dedicated GGS members whom I met when I returned to Guiding. They were Mrs Chua Yen Ching (Vice President GGS), Dr Eileen Aw (former Chief Commissioner), Mrs Tham (first Queen’s Guide in Singapore and GGS volunteer of 70 years), Mdm Mas (GGS Adviser) and Mrs Bebe Huang (former Brownie Branch Commissioner). Mrs Huang was my Brownie Guider in primary school more than 30 years ago!

I recently retired from the SAF and joined e2i, a company under NTUC supporting the employment and employability of Singaporeans. I’m also an active grassroots volunteer in Bishan, as well as a mentor to several young women in the Young Women’s Leadership Connection under the People’s Association.

What are some areas you will be focusing on and where do you want to take the Guiding Movement to, 3 years from now?

GGS has a very important mission, which is to enable girls and young women in Singapore to develop their fullest potential as responsible citizens of the world – empowering them to be their best, to push boundaries and achieve outstanding things. For GGS to achieve this mission, we must continue to make our programmes interesting and relevant, and keep our training engaging for our girls and Guiders through these fast-changing times. We also need to tap on the strengths of our volunteers, as they provide valuable capacity and expertise for GGS to reach out to more girls and young women who can benefit from the Guiding Light.

In three years’ time, I hope that GGS will be able to impact more girls and young women. I would like to see more former Brownies, Guides and Guiders re-connect with GGS and make the Guiding movement stronger than before. I believe we can do it if GGS members – Council, Exco, Trefoil Guild, Young Adults, Guiders, volunteers, and staff come together as one united family with a common mission!