In the Year of Celebrating SG Women, we present stories which showcase and celebrate women’s multi-faceted contributions and progress at SNEC and SERI.
Join us to honour and acknowledge our team of amazing women who have made impact in the field of Ophthalmology, inspiring those around them with their brand of ethos in life.
Clin Assoc Prof Lee Shu YenHead and Senior Consultant, Surgical Retina Department, SNECClinical Director, SNEC Retina Centre
Being a woman and a head of department at the same time, do you sometimes feel that these two roles are contradictory in style?I do not feel that gender has any impact on the role of a HOD. I run a department in which I am the only female, but that doesn’t make things more challenging for me. We live in a meritocratic society. Talent, ability, commitment and dedication are important for our work — but these traits are not gender-bound.
Did you have a role model that influenced your decision to work as an ophthalmologist / researcher?In the course of my career thus far, I have encountered several inspiring individuals, both male and female. Prof Arthur Lim had great vision in building SNEC and SERI. Prof Ang Chong Lye demanded excellence and did not suffer fools, but showed that that could be achieved while displaying kindness and warmth — he is a generous mentor. Prof Ian Constable, my clinical and research mentor in Perth, leads an exciting and well-rounded life. He is an excellent vitreoretinal surgeon, researcher, scientific adviser, and teacher. He is also an art collector, in addition to being a doting father and grandfather. His wife is also inspiring and dynamic.
When it comes to obstacles in your career, have you ever felt that they would have been easier to overcome as a man?No, I’ve never wished that I’d been born male to make things easier for myself. Obviously, women have their own set of challenges, and the biggest one would be time management. We make our own choices in life, and with that, we have to somehow balance the juggling act of being mummy, wife and still aim to be a top-notch doctor almost every day. Somehow, we all find our own supports and our own life balances to achieve it. Some days are better than others — but that’s life!
In five to 10 years, what do you hope to accomplish in terms of your work?I hope to provide inspiration and guidance for a new generation at SNEC.
here to check out the
Women of Vision series.
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