A Week with the YSEALI Academy: Digitalization Is for Everyone

A Week with the YSEALI Academy: Digitalization Is for Everyone

The journey in the digital world of our 35 Fellows with the YSEALI Academy on the Digital Transformation Seminar has reached halfway! Discussing various topics ranging from the Internet of Things, Big Data to Digital Footprints, the first week has not only enriched the Fellows’ understanding about Digital Transformation but also offered a unique virtual learning experience with a class coming from all over Southeast Asia.


Non-tech background hacks data world

Approaching state-of-the-art technologies in terms of their utilization for a better life, the first week of the seminar has inspired Fellows to enter the digital world with confidence no matter who they are. 

“The YSEALI Seminar has united all of us. A lot of things I had never been exposed to before were discussed in just one week of lectures. It was so impactful that I am now working as a researcher and nurse, aspiring to embark on this journey as a Fellow to learn more about how I can digitalize health interventions….This seminar is truly food for the mind.” - Dr. Sheena Ramazanu, a Fellow from Singapore, delightfully shared with us. 


Dr. Sheena Ramazanu (Singapore)
Dr. Sheena Ramazanu (Singapore)


Sharing the same note, Pichaya Anik, a Fellow from Thailand said that although she has no experience working with data, the seminar has given her the courage to “face Data more and apply Data Thinking to work”. Anik also found the seminar “really satisfying” and “very interesting”, since it “introduces the fields I've never [been] exposed to or ones that I have never thought that they would be related”.


Pichaya Anik (Thailand)
Pichaya Anik (Thailand)


A Data-driven Business - Opportunities and Challenges

Not only introducing high-end technologies and their application for social goods, but the seminar also discusses how technology transforms business with the participation of industry experts and top-notch lecturers. 

Marlina Ahmad, a Fellow from Brunei, emphasized: “Coming from a non-tech background, it is inspiring for me to see how technologies can be used to drive changes and tell stories...this seminar will help me identify where to start integrating data in my daily work life.” As an Internal Communication Advisor in the Energy industry, Marlina also plans to utilise her newfound knowledge to drive change in her line of work by prioritising data-backed internal communications. This is especially important in a company with 4000 employees. “Data is for everyone if they know what to do with it and which data to work on”, she emphasized. 

Marlina Ahmad (Brunei)
Marlina Ahmad (Brunei)

Together with opportunities come challenges. Seeing how E-Commerce has changed the local market, Sreyneang Krech - a Fellow from Cambodia concerns the question of how to help the local SMEs to survive and grow. “The lecture [on “Using Big Data as a Window into the Human Psyche”] by Dr. Sandra Matz resonates with me a lot. Usually, we would think of this as a black-and-white concept, but she explains the complexity in the context of real-life situations, which helps me with my decision-making process”.  


Leadership is the key

One of the biggest reasons why our Fellows were chosen is because we believe that they will be the future leaders of the Southeast Asian region. Therefore, besides lectures and discussions on Digital Transformation, two Leadership workshops were held to enhance the leadership capacity of our fellows. 

“As a Communication Advisor myself, what Sanjeev reminds me of my work, but also resonates with me as an aspiring leader”, Marlina complimented. Likewise, Sreyneang highly appreciates the presence of all the leaders invited to the seminar, “The seminar is incredible! I can see a lot of planning has been put into the organization of this seminar, I feel grateful to Dr. Nam and the organizing team.”


Sreyneang (Cambodia)
Sreyneang Krech (Cambodia)



Geographically separated, emotionally connected

Although the seminar is virtually conducted, the networking session has brought the Fellows closer. "I've participated in many online seminars but [the networking platform] has its features that [simulates] the real world”, Anik remembered. Enjoying the connection with other Fellows, Marlina shared: “I can see that this seminar has a very different set of people, who are not only good with their jobs but also contribute to their community”. “I wish there were more time for the networking session and I would be more than happy to help with that!”, Dr. Ramazanu insisted. 


The heat is still going strong as our fellows are stepping into the second week with more knowledge framework and more importantly, their newly born yet boundless friendships. We are looking forward to seeing our fellows flourishing in the digital world and enjoying the multicultural atmosphere at the seminar. 


Writer: Lê Kha 

Interviewers: Lê Kha & Minh Hân

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