The Communications team interviews fellow team member Mr. Reza Shah (Associate Director for Planning, Organisational Development & Quality Service), and a recipient of the 2014 Achiever's Award and Long Service Award, to find out his secret recipe for success.

Colleagues fondly remark that they often hear Reza’s hearty laugh along the office corridors, before they meet the man himself.

Behind his friendly and positive demeanour is a passion to better Duke-NUS with his dedication, expertise and experience. These are put to good use, as he juggles daily with three major areas of the organisation – strategic planning, quality service management and staff engagement.

“In the euphoria of rolling out many things and getting ourselves busy, we sometimes miss the big picture. My job is to put everything into perspective and understand how all our efforts contribute towards the final outcome,” he says, adding that he enjoys seeing what he does has an impact downstream.

Previously from the Housing & Development Board, he went on to serve at the Office of Student Affairs at the National University of Singapore (NUS) for 12 years before moving to Duke-NUS in March 2012. He recently received the long service award for reaching his 15-year milestone at NUS and the 2014 Duke-NUS' Achiever’s Award (Administration).

Despite the accolades, his feet remained firmly grounded.

“A sense of value in yourself is much more significant. If you can contribute positively to those around you, that is reward in itself. Award schemes are an extension and external affirmation of the self-worth you cultivated internally”.

Reza insists his secret to excellence is simple – just give your best.

“My philosophy in life is to focus and strive for clarity in thoughts. Always remember we have the power to control the process but not the outcome. If you focus your energy on the process - the eventual outcome will be a good one.”

The willingness to explore personal improvement also makes the difference, he says.

“If there are areas that you can build up competency, do it. Be it on your own or through formalised training.”

Being both Dad and Mum to two young children and juggling a full-time career is a daunting task to any parent but Reza takes the challenges he encounters in his stride. How does he manage the delicate balance between work and home demands?

Reza and his two children, daughter aged 11 and son aged 9, toured Mt. Tangkuban Parahu in
Bandung, Indonesia in 2013.

“Fundamentally, it is about prioritising and balancing the different needs, setting realistic goals and learning from the experience itself”.

With his pragmatic and wise approach to life, Reza looks forward to his future at Duke-NUS.

“It has been a significant decade for Duke-NUS, and I look forward to contribute to this excellent organisation for its second decade”.

"Reza has inspired me to be very positive even when faced with difficult situations.  He has won the hearts and minds of a lot of his colleagues. Reza lives by the values of diversity, respect, and always tries to be professional and passionate. Ironically, because he champions the School's core values and our annual Values Ambassaador Awards, he cannot be nominated for this award!", says Corinna Ng, Director, Office of Communications, Organisational Development and Alumni Relations.

The Insider: We would also like to recognise our other six Long Service Award (2014) recipients. Thank you for your service and dedication to the school.

Long Service Award (15 Years)

Office of Clinical Sciences:
Prof. Wong Tien Yin, Vice Dean

Long Service Award (10 Years)

Office of Education:
Mr. Calvin Tan, Senior Education Specialist 

Office of Research:
Ms. Elaine To, Manager, Sponsored Research Department
Assoc. Prof. William Hwang, Cancer & Stem Cell Programme
Prof. Patrick Tan,Cancer & Stem Cell Programme
Prof. Michael Chee, Neuroscience & Behavioral Disorders Programme