Why Connecting Alumni Globally Is Like Looking for Lost Sheep, and Just as Rewarding

Mr Wayne Tai, YCIS Hong Kong Class of 2003, spent his entire childhood with us for over 15 years and that bond still continues. Apart from being a Yew Chung alumnus, the APAC regional Ecommerce & Digital Manager of Naos also volunteers as the president of the YCYW alumni advisory board, bringing his driving passion to expand and build a more meaningful alumni community for all of us.

“Growing up in Yew Chung wasn’t easy for me,” says Wayne, as being in the second class of IB was quite a challenge. Back in the day, the network and connections weren’t as wide as now and applying to universities was a daunting task. “Hundreds of hours must be spent to achieve a good result,” he sighed. But thanks to all the help from teachers, UGOs, and fellow classmates, the second class of IB, including Wayne, were able to achieve extraordinary results. It is for this very reason that Wayne decided to retain and foster his connection with Yew Chung, volunteering for services and eventually rising to become president of the alumni advisory board.

The YCYW alumni advisory board was a fairly new concept established three years ago by the alumni relations office along with Wayne and a few core alumni members. The idea of alumni isn’t new for Yew Chung or Yew Wah, “Everything started in Hong Kong at first, and existed there for over a decade until now. However, everything [in Hong Kong] was very Hong Kong centric,” says Wayne. Therefore, after the resignation of the second president, Wayne decided to take the lead and make changes. With a singular aim to better link our school and to expand globally, Wayne decided to work with the alumni relations office and form the new YCYW advisory board from scratch.

The advisory board has been a success, establishing different chapters around the globe and organising various events including career sharing, virtual alumni day, alumni mixers and more. Board members with different cultural backgrounds from different generations were able to sit together and brainstorm some amazing ideas to connect alumni globally.

“We never had these events in the past but now we are able to see alumni of different race, region and age, mingle and have fun together,” says Wayne. At first, when the board was just established, communication and cooperation was very difficult. Members had to communicate across different time zones with several members attending meetings either extremely early in the morning or very late at night. Prioritising ideas from members was another challenge for Wayne. “All members are enthusiastic and are full of fantastic ideas, but sometimes we will need to think through what works and to prioritise these ideas before execution,” he says. Good team chemistry helped overcome these hurdles.

While the current status of the alumni community and the alumni advisory board is quite satisfying, things need to move forward.

“We will continue to expand our network across the globe allowing more and more alumni to benefit and, of course, getting in touch with those who have lost contact with us [at Yew Chung and Yew Wah],” says Wayne. We can proudly say our alumni are spread across every corner of the world. With the zeal of the Biblical shepherd searching for his lost sheep, Wayne’s dream is to find all floating alumni and reconnect them with the broader academic family.

“The year 2020 has not been an easy year for us, and 2021 may not be any easier, but we are all doing a great job,” Wayne believes. “The juniors and the seniors are adapting to this new era. The world is evolving and changing at an extremely high speed. What I want to say here is, you are not alone, you are never alone, and the Yew Chung and Yew Wah alumni community is always here to support you.”