JESSICA FOO: FROM BEING AWESOME AT BILLIARDS TO NEVER HAVING A BAD MONDAY

Hey there Jessica! We appreciate you hanging out with us today. We’ve been looking forward to this for a while now.

Thanks for having me! I feel so flattered. It’s always fun for me to get involved with ASW projects.

Let’s start by getting to know you. Tell us about yourself.

Okay here we go! First, I guess I would say I’m an only child, which is probably why I’m a people person because I enjoy having a lot of people around me. I grew up in a quiet environment without having a lot of company, so I’m always looking towards mixing around.

I’m always looking to get myself involved in some form of club of some sort, so even in my high school days I was already looking to be a part of something. I found that sense of association in the Police Cadets (one of the few uniformed activities in Malaysian schools), especially since my dad had always wanted to be a policeman as well. From there I learned a fair bit of self-discipline, and I even wanted to pursue it as a career after school. My mom was having none of that though since I was their only child and daughter. Yeah there’s no arguing with her sometimes.

But no matter – I felt like that also contributed to my more artistic side. I’ve always had a spark of creativity in me, so I began to pursue that through a few things. I got my fingers in floral arrangements, cooking, pastries, home décor and stencil colouring, which eventually evolved to many other interests.

I also extended my range to 9-Ball Pool. I got so into it that I even sought training with Ibrahim Amir, a SEA Games professional billiards athlete for Malaysia. I’m actually very proud of this.

Oh nice! You want to tell us a little bit about it?

It started back during my college days where me and my friends would go shoot some pool after class. I’ve always been impressed with girls who could hold their own, especially when they’re kicking butt. I gave it a try and got obsessed with the game very quickly.

I realised that there’s a real skill involved to this, and I wanted to get good. It was then I started looking around and signed up with Ibrahim Amir for a 6-month course. I learned everything from techniques, equipment, posture, and even some good life lessons.

Like this guy was brutal. He was very diligent in training me, making sure I got things done right. Precision is obviously a big deal in this game, and he would make me practice for hours on end. I developed a close relationship with him. He’s become sort of a father figure to me – teaching me values like perseverance, humility, self-control and a sense of respect.

That’s beautiful. Tell us a little bit more of your life history. We would love to know about how the universe brought you to us.

Well for starters I’ve lived here all my life! I grew up, studied, and built my career here in Malaysia. I’ve travelled around, but home really is where the heart is. My schooling years were straightforward, but I guess I’d say things really sort of started taking shape in college.

I took Secretarial in college as an effort to be a bit more rounded for work life instead of focusing on one discipline alone. And I’m glad I did too since I’ve had the opportunity to work in different roles across different industries.

A notable period I’d highlight was my time with this one company in the Oil & Gas industry. I was with them for about 17 years, working in the sales and marketing department. In the course of performing my duties, I wore a lot of different hats which gave me a lot of tertiary skills that became super useful in a lot of other areas. I ended up doing everything from meeting with clients, administrating office affairs, negotiating contracts, dealing with different legal teams, handling tenders, and even managing expats engaged with our company. But what I really took away from all of that was document control, where I really had to make sure I was on top of my record keeping skills.

Now THAT’S commitment! We love how much effort you put in in to becoming so well rounded. Talk to us about how that launched you forward.

Eventually I figured that there really was nothing more for me to learn from there, and I wanted to move on. I left with the intention of wanting to start my own florist and home décor shop, but as luck would have it, I found myself at ASW’s doorstep.

It’s a good thing it did too! I was recommended through a friend for a Change Analyst role in an IT team. I’m so grateful to have scored a job with ASW. I’ll admit I was very taken by how cool the office was during my first visit. The office itself was so nice, the people were nicer, and the challenge they offered was very interesting. It obviously didn’t take me long to jump on board! Haha!

It wasn’t long until I had a good hold on things, and by then I was already involved in various projects under the team. I had the privilege of attending trainings and seminars to further develop my skills in the field, and eventually working my way up as the Change Management Manager for the team.

You’ve really thrown yourself into change management. Sounds like you’re very passionate about your work.

YES I AM! I’m very passionate about the work. I don’t have bad Mondays – Haha! I look forward to meeting my office friends and doing my job. I like what I do a lot, like, it really appeals to me and it’s something that drives me every day.

Then there’s unwinding at the end of the day where I go toe-to-toe with my boss over a game of pool. So, us having a pool table in the office is definitely a big plus for me.

I’ve grown a lot since I joined, becoming a lot more confident and in control of myself. I think I’m going to be here for a while. There’re a lot of opportunities here and still lots more things for me to learn. It’s been a very interesting journey and who knows? I might look towards becoming a Business Analyst after this.

Okay one last question – let’s make this a fun one. If you could head out there into the world, what would be something that you would really, really want to do to?

*It can’t be a work thing!

I know exactly how to answer this question! I would want to commit myself to UNICEF and UNHCR. I was already volunteering with UNICEF about 10 years ago, but as life went on, I found that I could not dedicate myself appropriately.

They come from Afghanistan, Cambodia, and other politically unstable or war-torn countries. My role would be to empathise with refugee families, helping them gain some form of skill that would help them either to survive, or generate income. Since their status are oftentimes unsettled, unable to legally seek employment and are in some form of limbo, a lot of them end up wasting a lot of time. This means they don’t get the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to be a productive member of society if they ever get back home.

Thank you so much for sharing with us Jess. You’ve got a big heart. We love having you with us.



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