Defence Executive Officers (DXOs) play a difference role in Singapore's defence. Gain insights into two who serve the nation in other dynamic capacities.
When it comes to defence, it is multi-faceted and all-rounded. There is Jenny Chua Juan Ni, who is an executive under the Service Schemes branch in the Manpower Policy Department (MPPD), and Gloria Chee Sze Ing, who is assistant director of the SAF Film Unit. The work they do contributes immensely to safeguarding the nation in specialised and lesser-known ways.
What is it about MINDEF that appealed to you as an organisation to build a career at?
Jenny: As I wanted to contribute back to my nation, the public sector attracted me. The DXO scheme in MINDEF places great emphasis on career empowerment through multiple opportunities for career advancement, such as development in specialised areas of expertise and job rotations. Having been in the private sector for four years, this was what I was looking for at the next stage of my HR career.
Gloria: I worked with MINDEF-SAF on a contract basis to manage the National Day Parade Show Segment from 2003 to 2008. After being acquainted with how SAF functions as an organisation and its working culture, I decided to apply for my current position when it became available. The interesting job scope, such as understanding the unique considerations behind defence-related content generation, was appealing too.
Gloria Chee Sze Ing
(SAF Film Unit)
“The purpose behind my work brings me the most fulfilment."
Share with us your main roles and responsibilities. Explain how they contribute to the organisation’s objectives.
Jenny: MPPD has various branches covering service schemes, service benefits, and remuneration policies and research, to name a few. Under my branch, we formulate and review various service schemes in MINDEF and SAF, namely the Enhanced Officers Scheme, Enhanced Warrant Officers Scheme, Military Domain Experts Scheme and the DXO Scheme. I analyse trends which impact our schemes, review HR policies, and assist with policy queries. As MPPD is committed to formulate effective manpower policies, my role serves to attract, develop and retain talents for Singapore’s defence.
Gloria: I manage the creative and administrative aspects of the SAF Film Unit, and this unit supports all three services – The Singapore Army, The Republic of Singapore Navy and The Republic of Singapore Air Force. We are deployed on exercises both locally and overseas to document missions, which are meant for external and internal communications, knowledge management and archival purposes. We may also be mobilised for the same reasons for Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) and Search and Rescue (SAR) operations, such as the recent collision involving USS John S. McCain.
What do you find rewarding about your work at MINDEF?
Jenny: It expands my skill sets and interest in HR. I gain insights into the strategic thinking and considerations when formulating or reviewing HR policies. It gives me a sense of fulfilment as I discovered that having successful policies and strategies benefit employees by recognising and addressing their needs. This in turn improves the overall performance of employees, and in the bigger picture, the organisation.
Gloria: The purpose behind my work brings me the most fulfilment. The ability to document and display the selfless and dedicated service of SAF personnel on media platforms, and thereby validating their commitment to defence, is meaningful.
What programmes has MINDEF implemented to bolster employees’ personal and professional development?
Jenny: The organisation encourages a culture of lifelong learning and provides great support and ample opportunities for employees to improve themselves. We are given training credits and days annually to pursue higher education and self-development. I pursued a part-time degree in Business with the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) during my time in MINDEF, and owing to these training days that I used to prepare for my final examinations, I scored well. Now I am equipped with better technical skills and knowledge to contribute back to the organisation and its staff.
Gloria: MINDEF recognises the importance of training; I have gone for internal and external media courses and conferences, involving international speakers who spoke about the media line of work. This broadened my knowledge and besides honing my leadership skills, it allowed me to identify the gaps in my unit that can be worked on to enhance the quality of our work.
Jenny Chua Juan Ni
Executive (Service Schemes)
Manpower Policy Department
“MINDEF has a family-oriented culture and flexible work arrangements have been implemented to accommodate work-life integration.”
In what ways does MINDEF facilitate and encourage work-life balance?
Jenny: MINDEF has a family-oriented culture and flexible work arrangements have been implemented to accommodate work-life integration. For example, the flexi-time schemes allow DXOs to choose their preferred time to report to work, within a fixed range of working hours. It has promoted better work-life harmony and afforded us opportunities to contribute to the organisation while balancing our personal, family and social commitments.
Share with us one memorable episode you have had during your career.
Gloria: In May, the SAF Film Unit was the show runner for the live feed broadcast of the first International Maritime Review held at Changi Naval Base. The unit cued a total of 18 cameras, including 2 on jibs, and the event was broadcast live to the audience at the parade and on Facebook. It was an intensive two weeks of preparation and rehearsals but it was a raving success! It is the biggest live feed show that the SAF Film Unit has produced to date.
What advice do you have for polytechnic graduates who wish to join MINDEF?
Jenny: Be open-minded, take up new challenges and build determination to overcome obstacles. Pro-activeness and resourcefulness are essential qualities to possess if you want to excel at MINDEF.
Gloria: Be humble and adaptable. Do not have any pre-conceived notions about MINDEF. Experience for yourself a career path that MIDNEF can offer you.