Tag Archives: Stewardship Asia Centre

Rosalina Jowers Explores Stewardship in Asia

Rosalina Jowers is a second year graduate student in the joint MAIR/MSPR Public Diplomacy program. She was a research assistant for the Public Relations department of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and is currently a research assistant in the Tully Center for Free Speech during the fall of 2016. She participated in the Singapore Summer Internship Program during the summer of 2016 and interned with the Stewardship Asia Centre.

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the Stewardship Asia Centre in Singapore. Throughout my three months in the position, I worked as both a research assistant and a public
relations and marketing intern for the team.

SAC is a thought-leadership center based in Singapore that conducts research and holds regional events to advocate for corporate stewardship, governance, and responsibility in the private sector. The center holds an annual event inviting international business leaders, CEOs, investors, and government officials to discuss best practices, challenges, and emerging themes that impact corporate stewardship and add to the existing literature. Within their Knowledge Center, SAC produces white papers, media articles, and has recently published a book about the necessity and prevalence of stewardship internationally.

Due to the small size of my team, I played a multifaceted position and was able to become thoroughly involved in various roles. My primary role was to contribute to SAC’s Knowledge Center by conducting research about stewardship in regards to cultural differences, family businesses, and sovereign wealth funds. I compiled my findings into three separate research articles that will be published within the Knowledge Center and used for future book publications and media articles.

Secondly, I worked with SAC’s public relations team in event planning, media relations, and brief writing. SAC’s annual roundtable event was held towards the end of my internship, and I was able to help with the planning, implementation and evaluation of our media and event strategies. I helped pitch and coordinate with media personnel, assist in interviews with key speakers, and ensure the smooth running of the event. For SAC itself, I was able to create the
event insights report, informational videos about the center and the event, and also create briefs for the center’s CEO for his regional speaking platforms promoting stewardship and CSR.

Lastly, I worked with the marketing team in promoting the center’s first publication, Inspiring Stewardship. In collaborating with the book’s publisher, Wiley Asia, I helped create a marketing plan for both the regional and international promotion of the book, communicate with key media contacts in Singapore, and plan a book launch event that will be held in Singapore this upcoming fall.

Aside from the valuable experience I gained throughout these varying roles, I was able to network with a variety of top executives from the Southeast Asia region to expand my network and acquire valuable contacts for the future. Thankfully and because of this experience, I gained valuable insights into the work, social and political environment of Singapore, and was able to explore the region unlike I have ever been able to before.

Rosalina Jowers at Temasek's Stewardship Asia Centre

Rosalina Jowers at Temasek’s Stewardship Asia Centre

Alex Jorgensen, Learning the Theoretical and Practical Side of Stewardship

Alex Jorgensen, MAIR student

Alex Jorgensen, MAIR/MSPR (Public Diplomacy) student

Alex Jorgensen is a Public Diplomacy student pursuing both a Master’s of International Relations at the Maxwell School and a Master’s of Science in Public Relations at the S.I. Newhouse School. He participated in the Singapore Summer Practicum.

Stewardship Asia Centre: A new thought leadership center in the East

This summer I had the opportunity to work at the Stewardship Asia Centre in Singapore. Stewardship Asia Centre (SAC) is known as a thought leadership center that looks to inspire businesses: family owned, state owned enterprises, investors, and nonprofits; to employ SAC practices with the long term in mind. This means that they conduct their business thinking about stakeholders as opposed to simply shareholders. Stakeholder theory is a broad theory, but in short it means that a business takes into account the environment, the community, the customer, and the shareholder or investor. This differs from the way many companies conduct themselves because most companies are looking to make a short-term profit that brings quarterly gains and keeps their shareholders at bay.

It is a widely held belief that this type of short-term profit chasing is what led to the Great Recession when mortgages were repackaged with high grades despite the fact that the homes were owned by people who could not afford the loans. This real estate bubble combined with the failings of the Lehman brothers and Arthur Andersen has led to sweeping changes and a Western focus on Corporate Governance. While corporate governance is seen as the first champion of long-term profitability, it still only focuses on a companies shareholders and is not as important to private corporations, nonprofits, and institutional investors who may see it as a checklist. Corporate governance serves as a list of boxes to check for public companies so that investors can claim ethical investment, but fails to see the larger picture that stewardship encapsulates.

Stewardship is a function of management. According to SAC, “Stewardship is the management of assets to which an organization has been entrusted so that they hand them on in better condition.” Good stewardship has a direct relationship with long-term return on investment. While good stewards may experience short-term pain, the long-term goals and core values of an organization drive them through temporary setbacks, into enduring prosperity. SAC spells out four elements that foster stewardship for companies:

  1. Conservatism in financing
  2. Sensitivity to the operating context – leaders are aware of the external world around them
  3. Cohesion and company identity – salient through all employees
  4. Tolerance for experimentation and outliers, which allows them to stretch their conception of what is possible.

These four elements create long-term vision and core values that empower employees to feel valued and become loyal to leadership in place. Stewardship as a business concept is new and only has been implemented with regulations in two countries, Britain and Japan (with failed attempts in Malaysia), Singapore is looking to be an early adopter of stewardship as it serves a lot of the philosophy of the Eastern world and lends itself to long-term profitability. Companies that have championed stewardship in the eyes of Stewardship Asia Centre include: Black Rock Investment, the Tata Group from India, and Singapore’s own government practices.

This internship taught me the theoretical side of stewardship and the practical side of running a start-up thought leadership center. Through sitting in on policy development, speech writing, curating content, press release writing, and event planning I learned practical ways to run a successful thought leadership center.

 Welcome Address by Hsieh Fu Hua, Chairman, Stewardship Asia Centre & UOB


Welcome Address by Hsieh Fu Hua, Chairman, Stewardship Asia Centre & UOB