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Your Past Does Not Determine Your Future

3 valuable life lessons we can learn from one of Singapore's leading corporate counsels

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Photo courtesy of: Yeo Shi Yuan on LinkedIn

Long before Yeo Shi Yuan became one of Singapore’s leading corporate legal counsels, he was framed for misappropriating cash when he was just a teenager working as an attendant in a 7-Eleven store. Growing up in a single parent family, Shi Yuan experienced his fair share of hardship from a young age. He was a rebellious child who was often behind on his studies, constantly getting into trouble in school, and even in the early stages of his working life, where he was bullied and blamed for others’ misdeeds. However, despite his struggles and circumstances, the one thing Shi Yuan had never known how to do was give up. Here are three things you can learn from him.

1. Pursue Your Dreams

His life began to turn around when he signed on as a full-time police officer with the Singapore Police Force. In the 5 years of his police career, he received guidance from mentors who taught him the importance of a strong work ethic and professionalism, along with many valuable life lessons. It was also during this time of his life that he first got acquainted with law studies, and decided that it was something he wanted to pursue. Thus began his desire to constantly upgrade himself, and become a lifelong learner.

2. Be A Lifelong Learner

Look up Shi Yuan’s LinkedIn profile and you can see how his never-say-die attitude, combined with his thirst for knowledge, has translated into personal excellence: Shi Yuan started his lifelong journey with a Diploma in Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering from Nanyang Polytechnic. Since starting his professional career, he has obtained a Bachelor of Laws with University of London, a Master of Business Administration degree with Murdoch University, and completed Executive Education programmes on Behavioural Economics and Negotiation with Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, respectively. He holds multiple professional certificates such as a Chartered Secretary qualification, a GRCA (Governance, Risk Management, Compliance and Audit) Professional Certification, and GRCP (Governance, Risk Management and Compliance) Professional Certification, among others.  

3. Understanding That Change Is Constant

As a corporate legal counsel, Shi Yuan advises companies on complex legal matters, commercial contracts, and regional corporate secretarial work, such as legal compliance, business expansion activities, and more. His two decades of experience include several senior management positions across different sectors such as real estate, oil and gas, energy technology solutions, and TMT (technology, media, and telecommunications), including financial technology.

According to Shi Yuan, “Change is constant, and the only way to address it is to constantly learn and improve ourselves. This is especially relevant with the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ of technology. We have to keep learning and progressing, and continue to apply the law to new areas and provide added value to our clients and employers.”

People who knew Shi Yuan in his youth would probably have never expected him to completely overcome his odds and turn his life around. Yet, even with his impressive array of achievements and the amazing heights he has reached in his career, Shi Yuan shows no signs of slowing down. He remains a lifelong learner to date, having most recently completed the Program on Negotiation (PON) global with Harvard Law School in February 2021. Shi Yuan’s life story proves that with perseverance, the willingness to learn, and a little guidance, anyone can choose to defy their circumstances, and find success in their life.

You may connect with him via his LinkedIn.

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