Member Testimonial: Joe Tofield, International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)

April 2022 marks my 9.5 years being part of a Britcham committee coming to an end. With my partner studying in Australia for a year, I am taking a year out of Singapore but leaving with fond memories.

The Chamber has been a key part of my professional life since I came to Singapore helping me grow and network during my time. I still remember a few months into my time in Singapore, volunteering to lead the D&I team at the British Council. I did this to gain exposure to the wider business and lead an area that I had some knowledge in, but mainly a passion for. Having grown up with a stammer, it was a good opportunity to support others inside and outside the British Council in removing barriers to success and creating awareness for the various areas of D&I.

Shortly after this, I was informed of a new D&I committee at the chamber and was invited to join, beginning my association with Britcham. I still remember those first few meetings, young, new to Singapore and to D&I strategy, I was nervous to participate and simply tried to absorb and learn as much as I could. The committee did not disappoint with some hugely knowledge members, I was quickly able to start contributing and in the first few years, we produced some fantastic thought leadership for the chamber including a full D&I publication. Within this period, I was fortunate to also spend 6 months with the women in business committee and joined the young chamber, eventually becoming the elected Chair. These first few years with the chamber were an invaluable experience, providing insights into key areas of leadership such as facilitation, active listening and mentoring. In addition, the insights I gained during this time all had applications in my ‘day job’ for the British Council and now International Baccalaureate in areas such as D&I, developing talent, recruiting, leadership and engagement.

When the young chamber was amalgamated in 2018 into the newly formed Leadership, Talent and Professional development committee, I spent 6 months as co-chair and then became the first elected Chair. The four years leading this committee have been an immense privilege and I am hugely grateful for all the members who gave up their precious time to make it such as success. Being a ‘horizontal committee’ (as opposed to an industry-specific vertical) we always came into the year needing to set the agenda and drive the thought leadership.

My role as Chair was therefore a facilitator of this, so committee members could meet, network and share ideas and deliver content that the Britcham members were looking for. We have quite a list of achievements including events like the ‘world café’ we ran in 2018 along with the networking booklet, senior thought leadership events and training seminars. Of course, like everyone else, we had to adapt during Covid and I appreciated the coaching and mentorship from those in the committee as well as the chamber leadership on how to continue moving forwards with an agenda that continued to give value to members. This sharing was invaluable to me as we put all our existing plans to one side and pivoted to podcasts and zoom events successfully with a dedicated committee. Now, thankfully, it feels like we have turned a corner with our first face to face meeting in over two years this April, my last official meeting before stepping away.

It is impossible to sum up everything I was part of in my time at Chamber in a short piece, but I hope this has gone some way to demonstrating what a hugely valuable experience it has been spending just a few hours a month being more involved in this community. In writing this, I realised how many friends and connections I have made in the last 9 years. By spending my last year additionally as a Board Member, I could see first-hand all the brilliant care, effort and passion from the chamber team and the value this has created for UK-Singapore business. 

If you are thinking of joining a committee or simply want to get more involved, I would offer three pieces of advice:

  1. Join a committee with a simple expectation to contribute, learn and network. You will see opportunities arise naturally. 
  2. Understand all the opportunities Britcham providers with events, the hubs and its extensive network. Don’t be afraid to be proactive and contact the Chamber if you are looking for greater business opportunities. 
  3. Spend 30 minutes each week interacting with the content the Chamber produces- you will get insights into the latest thought leadership in a range of sectors in Singapore and ASEAN.

It is impossible to thank everyone who I have learned from in the last 9 years but a huge thank you to you all and will certainly be returning to the Singapore Chamber in 2023.  


Joe Tofield

Senior Regional Manager, International Baccalaureate Organization