Cover Story: 5 Inspiring Malaysians To Know From Our Gen.T List 2019
Since Generation T launched in Malaysia in 2016, we have been honouring the accomplishments of successful young talents under 40 who are making an impact across multiple industries in the annual Gen.T List.
For the first time ever, Generation T Asia will be producing a single, regional magazine listing down all 400 honourees from across Asia. Our nominees hail from 19 categories which range from technology, education, social entrepreneurship, science & mathematics, philanthropy & charity, sports, the arts and more.
They are then vetted through by 100 heavyweights throughout Asia, a panel of judges we refer to fondly as the Tatler Tribe. This year, we had 14 Malaysia Tatler Tribe members who contributed towards the final output of our list.
To be considered for the list, a nominee needs to have had a significant achievement within the last 18 months. He or she should have attained a few of these:
- Financial investment from a reputable VC firm
- A significant growth in customer base or revenue
- Increased geography of impact, positive media attention
- Received respected industry awards.
Other factors like innovation and possessing a social and entrepreneurial spirit to create, collaborate and change also play a role in deciding who makes the cut.
In conjunction with the launch of our Gen.T List 2019, we identified 5 individuals who we think best represent the drive and dynamism of Generation T for our cover story this month.
Mohd Azizulhasni Awang
The state of an athlete's mental health is very important. I am always open to speak to any athletes who needs me to listen to their struggles.
— Mohd Azizulhasni Awang
Azizulhasni is the 1st Malaysian cyclist to win a medal at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, earning him the coveted rainbow jersey. He is also Malaysia’s first Olympic medalist in track cycling.
What code do you live by?
Give everything and leave nothing. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a fighter. During a crash in 2010, a splinter went through my calf, through the crevice in my bone.But I still cycled on and won 3rd place. It took a year for me to recover, but I never regretted it.
How do you maintain a positive frame of mind to win during races?
Athletes experience something termed ‘choke’. Although you are in your best form, you cannot perform. This happened to me before in 2010 at the Asian Games in Guangzhou. I was a favourite for gold, but as there was external pressure for me to win gold, I choked. I lost, but I learnt from it.
The state of an athlete's mental health is very important. Depression can affect us. I am currently pursuing a degree in Melbourne in clinical science psychology. I am always open to speak to any athletes who need me to listen to their struggles.
Also read: Gen.T 2017 honouree Pandelela Rinong on her trials and tribulations as a star diver
As I sat there in the boardroom, I realised I was the only woman in the discussion. I was in the big boys’ league now. From then on, I took my representation at the table very seriously.
— Ivanna Salehudin
Ivanna co-founded health tech company, Nova Satra, which recently raised $2.8 million in funding from Genting Bio Cellular. Her company's Novatech Bc test diagnoses for cancer cells based on the epigenetic targets associated with breast cancer in Asian women, using blood samples.
What is a turning point in your life?
When my father passed away. When I started my business, he walked me through every step of the process. He was my safety net and guru. I trusted him and knew he would never lead me astray. After his passing, I knew I can never be blasé and carefree anymore. I had to open my eyes and ears, and grow up on my own.
How important is representation to you as a female entrepreneur?
During my early days at Nova Satra, my business partner Kane Black and I travelled to London to pitch to advisors for the company. As I sat there in the boardroom, I realised I was the only woman in the discussion. I was in the big boys’ league now. Since then, I took my representation at the table very seriously.
ICYMI: Read how 7 women empower other women in their pursuit of success
His company Carsome transformed the car trading business by connecting sellers and buyers online, through a transparent bidding system. Last year, Carsome raised a series B funding of $19million from local and international investors.
Share one thing about yourself that not many people know about.
I did not finish college. My last education certificate was my SPM results. I just couldn’t engage in the classroom. But funnily enough, when I went into business, I became more curious and desired knowledge. My hunger to learn and absorb information increased after I became an entrepreneur and this time, I was driven by a passion to learn.
Who is your role model?
Sir Alex Ferguson. He previously built Manchester United into a formidable football club. Plus, he created a strong culture that defined MU’s way of playing. His style of leadership has impacted me on how I can better lead the company, in a way where everyone can unite under one identity.
Don't miss: Our picks of Malaysia's rising tech stars to note
If you want change to happen, you need to be courageous enough to sit amongst decision makers and not be apologetic about it. Be the voice for the voiceless.
— Renard Siew
This passionate environmentalist recently launched Accelerating Climate Action Initiative, which seeks to raise US$ 1 billion for climate entrepreneurs in Asia.
What are your time management secrets?
Always start your day with your MITs—Most Important Tasks. Ask yourself, what are 2 or 3 most important things that I could do today that could move me closer to my goals? I also believe in setting SMART goals—specific, measureable, accurate, realistic and timely!
What advice do you have for those who wish to pursue the same path that you do?
When you are in the path of sustainability, you realise no man is an island and everything that we pursue relates back to many stakeholders. The key is to identify what these resources are and leverage on existing strengths to keep advancing the bigger agenda. If you want change to happen, you need to be courageous enough to sit amongst decision makers and not be apologetic about it. Be the voice for the voiceless.
Also read: Renard's in-depth interview with us on his sustainability goals and agenda
Professor Abhi Veerakumarasivam
The co-chair of the ASEAN Young Scientists Network is the first Asian and Malaysian to win the International Famelab Competition in the UK. He is also part of the National Education Policy Review Committee, under the invitation of the Minister of Education.
What are the challenges you face in your work as a geneticist?
I think there is a need to humanise science. Even when I review grants at the ministry and international level, I find that a lot of Malaysian researchers are focused on answering specific hypotheses without uncovering the root question—why does this research matter?
Also, the specific nature of science prevents us from communicating our ideas effectively to the public. The funny thing is, believers of alternative facts advocate their stance with full confidence. To them, the earth is flat and vaccinating your children causes autism. Because they are persuasive, their ideas spread. This is quite an irony.
What is the wisest decision you have ever made?
Marrying my wife. She is the biggest influence over my emotional state. I’m lucky to have found a partner who gives me space to pursue my ambitions and is always there to give me feedback on what I do.
Grab a copy of Malaysia Tatler's July 2019 issue on newsstands for the full feature and interview, together with our Gen.T regional magazine. You can also subscribe to our digital issue here.
- Photography Khairul Imran Sulaiman
- Art Direction Liew Chiaw Ching
- Styling Andrea Kee
- Outfit Giorgio Armani
- Make-Up Joey Yap using YSL Beauté