Profile: Praise Mok

Published on 26 August 2017

PHOTO: Rohei Corporation

Praise Mok infuses art into the world of corporate personnel development.

BY DAPHNE ONG

Pottery is not what you would ordinarily associate with corporate personnel development, but that is precisely what Praise Mok has created. The deputy chief executive of Rohei Corporation, a company specialising in corporate training and executive coaching, has taken the company’s commitment to creating inspired learning experiences and birthed Artisan Series, an unusual programme that links the personal growth and professional goals of its participants with artistic experiences.

After her close friend and founder of Rohei, Rachel Ong, convinced her to join the company, they realised they needed to add value to the programmes they offered, and from there evolved their motto: “Creating inspired learning experiences”. Inspiration hit when Mok saw a forum theatre-style production by The Necessary Stage that was themed around increasing youth involvement in elderly caregiving.

After witnessing the power of the platform, Mok invited the theatre group to run a pilot programme with Rohei. “We felt so much connection in that pilot programme, and realised it was in line with our belief in transformative experiences — in connecting not only with the head, but also with the heart. This journey led us to the arts, because you cannot understand the arts without being able to connect it with the heart.”

From there, Mok and Ong dipped their toes into mixed media, collaborating with artists like potters Hiroko Mita and Tan Gek Lin. “We found we were picking up different things and gaining a lot more self-awareness. As a group, we were discovering more about teamwork and agility.

“Personally, I found it a beautiful experience: cathartic, relaxing, and deep. I realised it was not just about a skill to be learned, but about the person, the artist. This guides a lot of what Rohei does in terms of engaging with the arts — we are mindful and respectful of the value that the person or artist brings.”

For Mok, the process has a more personal dimension. “I’m not much good at art, but through my late father who enrolled at LASALLE College of the Arts at 55, I picked up a love for beautiful things, and the ability to appreciate the beauty in things. This nurtured an openness to new things, without judgement, and gave me a strong base from which to explore. I have a lot of respect and regard for artists, because I know how difficult it is!”

Mok also notices the community picking up on the value of arts in learning, apparent in the increasing interest in such programmes. “While its popularity is increasing, there is a dignity about the craft and its craftsmen we want to keep. Such experiences dignify a person and add personal value. It is about ‘flourishing in your lane’, i.e. thriving in your vocation and finding joy in it.”

In Rohei’s corporate programmes which involve crafts like pottery, penmanship, and photography, Mok finds satisfaction in inspiring hope, joy, courage and purpose in the participants. “My wish is for Rohei to continue to grow and deepen people’s understanding of the value of the arts.”

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