Tang Ching Leng, Managing Director of Sinwah Industries
When incoming EO Malaysia Chapter President, Felicia Lim, was cracking her head over the ideal venue for our latest Strategy Summit, the location of Jakarta, Indonesia, wasn’t even on the short list. In fact, Hanoi, Vietnam, was our final choice after weeks of painstaking planning. A luxurious hotel by the countryside was booked, and various outdoor activities that tickled the soul were lined up. We were locked and loaded for the time of our lives!
Alas, it was not to be. Our facilitator, Jody Dharmawan, with a schedule tighter than Mick Jagger’s pants, could only attend if we shifted the venue to his home city of Jakarta. Our first thought was: “Jakarta?! That city with the infamous traffic snarl?!” So out went the relaxed countryside setting for our meetings, our meals by the paddy fields, our morning walks with buffalo … we were devastated. And so were the buffalo. But if Jody wanted us to come to him, of course we would oblige.
We quickly got down to piecing together a new program. Our challenges were two-fold: First, how could we get our board members, many of whom have just taken their first step in EO leadership, to become comfortable with one another and allow their creative juices to flow in discussion? Second, in line with our board’s tagline—”The Crazy Ones”—how could we create a memorable experience that, well, bordered on insanity? We had a lot to do.
The first three days of replanning yielded no results. Potential hotel choices were either full or too expensive. Dinner venues had to be carefully considered both for their proximity to where we were staying and, crucially, its food quality (we Malaysians are known to revolt when served substandard meals). And if we couldn’t confirm our hotel, we couldn’t pre-book the restaurants. We were going in circles until Michelle Voon, EO’s Chapter Manager of Northeast and Southeast Asia, in a moment of pure genius, blurted, “Let’s contact EO Indonesia!”
Even though we have heard so much about the power and wonders of the EO network, we were still amazed by the scope of assistance that EO Indonesia rendered to our chapter. From the moment we connected with EO Indonesia’s Chapter President, Cindy Gozali, over the phone, the magic of EO’s peer-to-peer support system kicked in instantly. A WhatsApp? channel was set up, and things began to fall into place even before you could say, “EO Indonesia rocks!”
Through EO Indonesia’s contacts and local knowledge, we secured rooms at a heritage hotel (formerly a Dutch telecommunications outpost) and were given excellent dinner recommendations. What’s more, Yudha Kartohadiprodjo, owner of the largest magazine publishing house in Jakarta, graciously offered to host us in his office. He even arranged for Warren Liu, a TED speaker from Hong Kong, to engage us. To lessen the pain of being stuck in traffic, EO Indonesia suggested we rent a party bus, outfitted with a huge LED television, premium sound system and laser lights. Best of all, Yudha arranged a video crew to capture our crazy moments!
From the moment The Crazy Ones arrived at the Jakarta airport, we had an amazing time, thanks to the generous help of Cindy and her team. All in all, our Strategy Summit was a success. We worked hard, aligned our goals and left with a great plan for the year. Most of all, we had fun, got to know each other a little deeper and walked away with the knowledge that the EO network is one of the greatest benefits this organization has to offer. Thank you, EO Indonesia, for your support. You reminded us how impactful our #EONATION truly is!
Tang Ching Leng is an EO Malaysia member, managing director of Sinwah Industries and his chapter’s incoming Communications Chair. Contact Tang at firstname.lastname@example.org.