My Decision to Take-up a Leadership Role

profile-pic Dr. Michelle Goh graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2009 and started her early career working in the Singapore public government hospital sector as a Doctor. In November 2011, she partnered her father, Dr Goh Seng Heng (a trained Dermatologist and Aesthetic doctor) and started PPP Laser Clinics. More

Can you name someone who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?

There are just lots of people I know that have unknowingly inspired me. I used to work in the government hospital for a brief period of time and a lot of my medical colleagues, senior registrars and consultants that I work left an impression for their relentless work ethic and meticulousness. Hospital work sets the mold for what a working professional should be.

But that saying, if I had to name the most significant one, that would be my father, Dr. Goh Seng Heng

How does this person impact you as a professional and your decision to take-up a leadership role?

My father persuaded me to join him on a business venture to start PPP Laser clinics when I was still working as a Medical Officer. I was initially skeptical of the idea but was curious to find out more. Having no business experience, I developed PPP’s concept largely based my understanding of the procedure as a patient and a medical doctor. The concept was modeled into a project which blossomed into a real business.

As the business took off, I had to make a call on whether I should stay in the government sector to train as a specialist or pursue this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a formal capacity full time and was tasked by my father to become the company’s group CEO.

I remember protesting to my father as I had no experience and did not want to take on that kind of responsibility. My father was insistent and I reluctantly took on the role. Besides the namecard was already printed.

I started coming to terms with the role of a CEO when I realised that I have the clearest idea on the company’s direction when we needed someone chart the business road map to align all employees to a common vision.

It is ironic to say that I never set out to be a leader or CEO from Day 1 and all that I cared about was materializing my fantasies and ideas.

Many times when I felt really overwhelmed, and the easiest thing to do was turn to my father and say “It’s all your fault”. I remember he once reprimanded me with this line “Michelle, if being a CEO is so easy then anyone can be a CEO”. That’s just my father. As a parent and boss, he showed tough love, but he was always there as a mentor to guide me through tricky situations where I knew I needed help and lacked experience.