I never really thought much about the effects of my speech impairment in my earlier years. I was the best (or top three) in my class throughout primary through to high school and still survived the subtle giggles from friends. I had an angel of a mother who made me feel safe even when I was at my most vulnerable, until she passed in 2012 – just four months after joining Standard Chartered.
I got to university and decided I wanted to contest for a student leadership position in my second year. My first attempt at campaigning in a senior class went horribly wrong. I choked in my throat and practically ran out of the class without delivering one full sentence.
My worst experience was when I had the opportunity to get into bank management trainee programmes. I went through the first hurdle, the aptitude test and then was called for an assessment centre. I was nominated by my team to do our first presentation and right there in front of everyone, I began to stammer terribly. The words did not come out, the facilitators were stunned, and I just walked back to my seat. At the interview session that followed, the panel told me to build confidence before looking for any of such roles. I told myself I would not miss that opportunity ever again.