Leading with Passion

Infocomm Media Development Authority’s Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Content & Innovation Group) Angeline Poh (CS ‘99) recounts how she found her calling in the public service. 

As assistant CEO, Poh oversees content creation in various sub-sectors and heads the organisation’s innovation drive across the infocomm and media sectors. PHOTO: CHERYL TEE

As assistant CEO, Poh oversees content creation in various sub-sectors and heads the organisation’s innovation drive across the infocomm and media sectors. PHOTO: CHERYL TEE

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She might have left the public sector for two years to join an international publishing house as managing director in 2011, but it was not long before Angeline Poh returned to the public service because it was where she saw herself making a difference in people’s lives.

“When I started out at the Economic Development Board after graduation, I was involved in creating jobs and driving economic growth,” said the Assistant CEO of IMDA’s Content & Innovation Group. 

“Then, while at MDA, I was privileged to be able to collaborate with Singaporeans who excelled in the fields of documentary filming, visual arts, and game development,” added Poh, who joined MDA in 2014.

In her present role, Poh oversees content creation in various sub-sectors, such as film, interactive media and advertising, and heads the organisation’s innovation drive across the infocomm and media sectors.

“(The merger) gave us the ability to look at the infocomm and media sector as a whole, which allowed us to cross-pollinate between the two.”

Angeline Poh

Speaking about the recent merger between the Media Development Authority and Infocomm Development Authority in October, Poh said that the direction of the newly formed IMDA remains largely similar to how MDA was before.

However, a prominent change has been the increased amount of resources they can work with, such as the now-shared PIXEL Labs, which were previously under IDA’s supervision.

“(The merger) gave us the ability to look at the infocomm and media sector as a whole, which allowed us to cross-pollinate between the two,” she said.

Looking back at her 15-year career in the public service, Poh said that a highlight of her journey was an early project in 2001. 

While at EDB as a senior officer in the Communications & Media Division, she had helped negotiate with the National Geographic Channel to create the National Geographic Channels International-Economic Development Board Documentary Production Fund, which provided funding for both Singapore and Asia-based production companies.

“I attended a workshop organised by the National Geographic Channel, and bumped into some of my friends from WKWSCI who went on to pursue a career in documentary filming,” Poh recalled. "I know these people and how big of a dream it was for them to have a global stage where they could showcase their works. So I'm very proud to have been involved in that."

During her time at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, the then Electronic Broadcast Media major chose to complete her professional internship at Mediacorp, where she was a broadcast journalist for the now-discontinued morning show “AM Singapore.” She considered herself lucky to have been given a broad swath of topics to work on, from boybands to lifestyle and real estate.

“I did everything from conducting and scripting interviews to actual on-the-ground reporting. It's amazing seeing the stories I packaged come to life.” 

But it was at EDB – her first job – where she found her true passion.

“Learning doesn't stop when you leave school. Nobody is going to tell you how to do things. You have to figure that out yourself.”

Angeline Poh

There, she got to witness Singapore’s media scene transit from print to digital. Today, the media industry is “more vibrant” as compared to 1999, said Poh. 

“Back then, there was hype about convergence, but the media landscape was largely dominated by print and broadcast television. Digital publishing was quite slow because the Internet wasn’t what it is today.”

Despite the strong presence of digital media today, Poh believes that print and digital are not mutually exclusive.

"It's not analogue versus digital; it's analogue and digital. Any brand that wants to speak to consumers has to make use of both platforms to express their story,” she said. 

“Take roadshows for example. They are a very traditional form of storytelling where companies tell their messages live and in person, but you still see them around now despite the advent of social media."

Although it has been more than a decade since she graduated from WKWSCI, she still has fond memories of her time there. 

“Those were four fun years, because it was a small and close-knit cohort. I was part of the third batch, so the school was still very new back then and most of us knew the seniors well. Even till today, some of us still meet up.”

For students looking to chart their own paths in their careers, she has this advice: “No matter what career choice you make – be it in the public or private sector – the most important attribute is the ability to self-learn. Learning doesn't stop when you leave school. Nobody is going to tell you how to do things. You have to figure that out yourself.

“Dare to dream. Challenge and stretch yourself because you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you can achieve.” 

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