Picture this in your mind: Thousands of young people in one venue, all glued to the stage. Australia’s top sports, business and community leaders telling their personal leadership stories. Stories of gritting failure. Stories of the pain of defeat. Stories of how they overcame. The thousands of young people, leaving the auditorium, inspired to lead.
This was the scene at Halogen Foundation Australia’s Young Leaders’ Day. This was the beginning. Jeffrey Yip experienced the energy and saw the potential of that for Singapore. He then seeded this idea to Martin Tan. On 20 August 2003, Young Leaders’ Foundation (renamed as Halogen Foundation in 2005) was birthed in Singapore. The first office? Martin’s balcony. The first purchase? A fax machine.
Ten years on, Halogen Foundation Singapore now has a proper office, located at *SCAPE, in the heart of youth activity. Thankfully, we also have a new fax machine. Over the years, many youth have been impacted through events, leadership training and community projects. Beyond youth, we have also reached educators and parents.
The journey has been an exciting one with heart-wrenching challenges and sweet milestones. To read Martin Tan’s personal account of the Halogen start-up journey, click here: “A Moment of Madness” [published in “Chicken Soup for the Singaporean Soul”, available on Amazon and from the National Library of Singapore].
1997: Young Leader’s Foundation in Australia was formed. National Young Leaders’ Day was launched.
2001: Young Leaders’ Foundation in New Zealand was started as a subsidiary of Young Leaders’ Foundation Australia.
2003: Together with Matt Martin, Martin Tan and Jeffrey Yip set up Young Leaders’ Foundation Singapore. In this year, Halogen ran its first National Young Leaders’ Day where about 1,000 participants attended. Our very first Guest-of-Honour was Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who was then the Minister of Defence.
2004: As recipient of National Youth Council’s “Youth Organisation Capability and Development Fund” (YOCDF), we managed to move from a volunteer-run organisation to having our first two full-time staff, Martin Tan and Janice Tan. We developed a school wide leadership development framework and programme titled “Everyday Leadership” which we piloted with 40 youths from Temasek Secondary School that year.
2005: From 40 youths, we went on to train the whole Secondary one cohort of Temasek Secondary school students with “Everyday Leadership modules”. Young Leaders’ Academy was birthed. National Primary Young Leaders’ Day was launched by DPM Teo Chee Hean who was then the Minister for Defence.
2006: Young Leaders’ Foundation was rebranded as Halogen Foundation. We ran our first Teachers’ Leadership Summit. Halogen Foundation Singapore was one of the pioneers in the world to run The Leadership Challenge® for students as a full two-day programme complete with the The Leadership Practices Inventory® as a 360 degree assessment tool.
2007: We launched One Degree Asia, our first-ever youth leadership festival in Asia with 274 delegates from 14 countries.
2008: We celebrated our 5th Anniversary with an Anniversary Dinner. At this dinner, we launched our “Next High 5” strategic plan. Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean officially became our Patron. Our partnership with Centre for Creative Leadership began.
2009: The H1N1 crisis struck Singapore and prevented Halogen from going into schools. Halogen almost had to shut down operations.
2010: Halogen launched the Youth Leadership Indicator Survey together with the National Youth Council to determine the competencies required of young people today so they can be effective leaders in the future. We also kicked off the Cambridge-Halogen Youth Leadership Programme with the Singapore Cambridge Chapter.
2011: Halogen was re-organised into five units: Events, Academy, Projects, Social, Lab. Our quarterly leadership publication, Halogen360 was first printed. Partnering with Temasek Junior College and Temasek Secondary, Halogen ran a national leadership competition “The Leadership Face-Off”.
2012: Together with Salesforce.com, Halogen ran Salesforce BizAcademy. Halogen also gathered a community of educators passionate about youth leadership development by creating Halogen Think Tank.
2013: Halogen celebrates its 10th Anniversary and reached over 10o,000 youths and educators to date. We also launched the National Young Leader Award.
2014: Halogen became the sole license programme partner in Singapore for the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship programme – a programme that seeks to give a leg up to mid-risk youth from disadvantaged and under-privileged families.
2015: Halogen became the Exclusive License Partner of Growing Leaders to deliver the Habitudes® series of Accredited Programmes and Training Events in Singapore and South East Asia.