Karen Tan is the deputy chief of government communications (development) and concurrently senior director (transformation). As deputy chief of government communications (development), she spearheads the building of new capabilities among all government communications officers.
In her concurrent role as SD (transformation), she is also responsible for overseeing the development of the Government Communications Transformation Roadmap effort and the strategies of the Information Planning Office. Prior to her current appointment, Tan headed the Public Communications Division which planned and executed the whole-of-government public communications initiatives, including data driven communications, content production and national marketing.
Tan’s vast experience also covers her time at the Ministry of Health for ten years as director of corporate communications and press secretary to the Minister of Health. She has also been previously involved in managing mass communications during the SARS epidemic in 2003 and the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic in 2009.
Today, she works closely with the agencies in Singapore, in areas such marcoms, digital comms, content production, crisis comms, branding and media relations. As such, she has a bird’s eye view on the talent scene in Singapore. Read her views on talent below
Marketing: Why do you think talent retention is such a problem in the marketing/advertising community?
There is a hunger to try different things and to learn amongst our young professionals. Not necessarily a bad thing, as it spurs an eagerness to learn but it is important to build a foundation first before moving from one job to another.
Marketing: What do you feel has to change to ensure young talent stays in organisations, and you can attract young talent?
It is vital that there is sufficient from for creativity, innovation and space to experiment and even make some mistakes. More importantly, plenty of opportunities for them to drive certain projects on their own so that there is a greater sense of ownership and belonging.
Marketing: As a judge what do you hope to see in the submissions for Marketing Talent Awards from the rising stars?
The awards are a recognition as well as a celebration of our marketing talents, and I hope to see rising stars who show boldness in their creativity, extra spark in their concepts, concrete results in delivering results and impact for clients. Mostly, I hope to see a breath of fresh air and breakthroughs of talent that go an extra mile to do things differently and yet with great effectiveness.
Marketing: What do you make of the awards?
The awards can serve as an inspiration to our young talents as success begets success, and we can all level up as a community by learning from the best in class.
Marketing: What about the veteran marketers? What will you be on the look out for?
For veteran marketers, it is important not to rest on our laurels but to continue to pursue excellence in whatever we do. Do not let the fire die but continue to be an inspiration to both veteran and newbies in the business by having the spirit of innovation and learning.
Marketing: What role do you think veteran marketers play in attracting new blood in the industry?
Their experience count a lot and meant much and as a community, they have much to share, pass on knowledge, skills and insights and this can further enrich the profession as a whole.
Marketing: One important tip for our veteran marketers?
Do not be afraid to try out new ideas and keep on learning new skills to stay relevant and impactful.