Saturday, November 13, 2010

Great People

One obvious thing that I will regret from moving on from my company is indeed working with great people in the energy sector which I took care, especially those from the Power Sector.

Since earlier this year, I had the chance to collaborate with two great people. One is Francois Nguyen from IEA, France who was always very helpful in my project researches and speaking opportunities despite his unbelievable travelling schedules. The other is Joel Laykin from IPPF, Hong Kong, an extraordinary man.

Joel is a 75-years old man who spends most of his time jetting the planes internationally to run the association, speaks at many conferences, attends high-level power-related events around the world, meets the association members and other clients. He doesn't really use computer nor internet and prefers fax, hand-written notes and phone calls. What a conventional way to reach a person overseas in today's cyber age. He always starts phone conversation with "Can we talk?" instead of hello or any other greetings.

First time I was in touch with Joel over the phone, I really had the impression of working with a fussy old man whose speech I really barely understood. The first time he called my office, he requested the event manager's personal mobile number which I was reluctant to share with speakers since I would rather spend weekends or after-working-hours away from work. With Joel, we have to take his working style no matter what - I had to be ready to pick up his phone calls and answer his questions on event's progress late at night or on weekends.

After he paid us a visit in our office in Singapore and I finally had the chance to directly work with him as my conference's chairman in Jakarta, my impression towards him changed 180 degree. His being fussy and demanding is simply because he wants to ensure the event run smoothly on the D-Day.

I remember running my Indonesia Power Conference in Jakarta with Joel. It was my first time having Joel as the conference chairman. We had problem with the function room since day one. The available room for our event that day was incredibly too small to fit 70-80 expected delegates. Joel and I stayed until 9pm together with the other hotel staff to make the room work. He brought a measurement and measured the space between one table to another himself to ensure the space was wide enough for people to pass by. In the end, we somehow did manage to fit all the crowd in the small room.

Francois Nguyen, Christine and Joel Laykin in Jakarta.

ABF Team with Great People.

On the D-Day itself, we still had to overcome so many unexpected dramas, which Joel always jokes about this to his colleagues or associates. It was really a stormy conference to run. We had several angry delegates due to the room size and speakers who had serious food poisoning to deal with. There were two speakers who suffered from food poisoning due to the spicy food they ate the night before. One of them still managed to deliver his presentation as scheduled but he had to run to gent's room five times during his less than one hour presentation slot and passed the mike to Joel whenever his stomach pain attacked. Joel had to take over the mike and continue the presentation whenever the speaker ran to the toilet for several times.

Another speaker for the afternoon slot also suffered from food poisoning as well. He was really unfit to do his presentation but managed to drop by and passed us his presentation file in thumb drive for one of us to present. With Joel's motto of "The Show Must Go On", Joel did this speaker's presentation without so much preparation  in advance and delivered it incredibly well by adding lots of humors on it. Lucky, I had a real senior person whose knowledge on the industry is two miles in width and three-inch in depth. He really can talk almost about anything pertaining to the industry and was a good cover.

I really learned so much from Joel. His dedication to work, level of energy, humorous personality, friendly and helpful characters. I am just amazed to see how he carries his personalities and wears many hats so well at golden age.

When he found out that I was leaving my role in ABF, he called me immediately. He rang both my office and mobile numbers and asked me why I was leaving and where I was going. One of his questions related to my successors was whether the next person who replaces me can work with him.

I had my last meeting with him in my ex-office in my last working day and before he left the building with his colleague, Priscilla, he shook my hand and told me "I will miss working with you." Likewise, Joel.

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