Member profiles

We have members across a number of nations, who have either taken an IAM qualification or who wished to sign up for professional membership to enhance their career prospects. Here we are delighted to highlight the accomplishments of a few of our international Fellows.

Prem K. Subba, FInstAM
Retired, formerly UNICEF Chief of Operations from Fiji
Based in Nepal

I retired from UNICEF in 2008, where I was Chief of Operations for Fiji, after nearly 27 years of service in Nepal, Somalia, Ethiopia, the former Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Sri Lanka and Fiji Islands. I was involved in contribution management and monitoring for the first seven years of my UNICEF career, and later became responsible for leading and managing operational support to the individual country programmes. As Head of the Operations group, I was responsible for leading and supervising professional and support staff and the work of the administration, human resources, finance/accounts, supply/logistics and IT units.

Prior to my UNICEF career I helped train retired British Gurkhas to become primary school teachers through the UK government-aided Gurkha Reintegration Scheme in 1970 in Nepal. However, my involvement in administrative management started while working for a small trading firm in 1976, handling correspondence with European, Indian and Japanese principles. I became fully involved in administrative and logistical support responsibilities when I later joined a UK government-aided Hill Area Rural Development Project in 1978.

My college educational background includes Biological Sciences and English Literature. On retirement I went back to school and completed the Executive MBA, specialising in Human Resources from Kathmandu University School of Management (KUSOM), a leading management school in Nepal. My association with the IAM has involved progressing from an Associate to a full Member and then recently on to Fellowship.

How long have you been a member of the IAM?

My association with the IAM started when I took a correspondence course with Wolsey College, Oxford. I obtained Associate membership in 1984, full Membership in 1993 and Fellowship as recently as this year. Active membership with the IAM has been maintained for approximately 10 years.

Why did you join the Institute?

For two reasons: first, the IAM was one of the very few professional institutes that catered to the training needs of working people in administrative management, and it was the convenience of a self-study opportunity in my area of interest while also working. The second reason was to earn a formal Professional Diploma in administrative management – my career-related field.

Why did you apply for Fellowship of the Institute?

I went back to management school after retirement to pursue an Executive MBA (EMBA) to learn how academic concepts and deliberations compare with ‘management in action’, the organisational environment and the issues that I had experienced in my long career, and also to share my own experience. The IAM is one of the very few organisations committed to administrative management, and my own long professional career in this field inspired me to continue my association through Fellowship. As a management professional, I consider the IAM Fellowship to be a recognition and an honour.

What are the benefits of being a member?

Perhaps most of all the prestige of being associated with one of the most dynamic professional institutes in the administrative management field.

What is your own proudest achievement?

It was getting the IAM Advanced Diploma in 1993, successfully completing the EMBA course and then being approved for Fellowship recently this year. In short, the recognition of my long experience and learning endeavours by a respected professional body.

Do you have any top business tips that others may find useful?

My top business tips are:

  • Never stop learning, whether in the workplace or from any other sources of information and knowledge.
  • Sometimes process is important, but at other times it is the content. A positive, ‘can do’ approach helps to simplify issues.
  • Carry out a short 10-minute ‘stand up’ meeting for six to seven staff of a section in the morning. I’ve found these to be extremely useful. Each gets about a minute in turn to speak, so specifically only the most important points of the day are raised. It helps the manager to find out where his/her intervention and support are really needed, and the staff to articulate their work priorities and progress for the day. This greatly helped either to curtail, or to deal in advance with, issues that would have taken up unnecessary staff time and effort during more formal weekly or monthly meetings.
  • Fairness in all decision-making may not make one popular all of the time, but it does generate trust and respect in the end. This is important in contributing to a positive organisational culture and environment.

Cassandra Yuk Ping, FInstAM

Executive Secretary to the Chairman of a finance company affiliated with a listed company in Hong Kong, Casandra joined the IAM in May 2012.

What are the benefits of being an IAM member?

Although I joined the Institute a mere two months ago, I’ve found many benefits to members already, including the regional events, special discounts and offers in healthcare. It’s mainly in the UK, so hopefully it will be extended to East Asia soon.

I am fond of the e-newsletter too, where you can find messages from other members, share their life stories, and learn how to undertake changes in the working environment.

What is your proudest achievement?

I achieved my goal of completing a Bachelor of Business (Management) Degree and a Masters Degree of Science in three years. In addition I got a high mark of 88 in ‘Quantitative Studies’. That was not just the study of a lot raw numbers, but required a hypothesis/assumptions to prove whether a task or project was going to be possible. I learnt a lot of interesting things studying that.

Do you have any top business tips?

I think profitability is always the core objective of any business, but social responsibility should be another priority.

Social responsibility can imply the duty of an individual, or organisation, to maintain balance between the economy and the wider business ecosystem, as well as to the welfare of society and the environment.

I love joining in with the voluntary work my business does. As well as being lots of fun, I have gained new experiences through the social projects and activities that lead to new ideas I can put back into my work.

Doug Wakeling, FInstAM

Doug was granted membership of the IAM in 1989. He had just started a new job as Flight Operations Manager with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) – a Christian mission providing aviation and logistics to the Church to reach people in remote locations, in Nairobi, Kenya. He had previously gained an Australian Commercial Pilots Licence, but realised his greater strength lay in administration. After several years back home in the UK running Food for the Hungry UK (with his wife, Jackie), he is now back with MAF as a Human Resources Manager in Papua New Guinea. He and his wife are responsible for the care of 35 expatriate families and 100 national staff.

Why did you apply for IAM Fellowship?

I knew that my vocation and calling was supporting the work of the Church addressing human need, but I felt I wanted to connect with people both through Christian Mission and in professional administration, and the IAM seemed an ideal means of addressing the latter.

Fellowship seemed a natural progression after many years of membership, and I was honoured to apply for it.

What is your proudest achievement?

I think that would have to be the 20 or so individuals we recruited from the UK, some of whom are still serving, and their huge impact on the lives of some of the poorest people on earth.

Do you have any top business tips?

It’s a bit unorthodox perhaps, but always seek to be a blessing. It costs nothing and can pay indeterminate rewards.

Ria Bassarath, FInstAM

Ria has been a member for 12 years. She is currently employed with the EIL Group of Companies as an Assistant Sales Manager, which involves the administration and coordination of sales of PVC, electrics and lighting for the local market.

Why did you join the Institute?

In an effort to improve my administrative skills. I believed the IAM course content was best suited to this. I decided to enroll with our local provider, the UWI School of Continuing Studies, and it has been an exciting journey since then.

What are the benefits of being a member?

One of the main benefits is the IAM Manager magazine. The information it contains has been used to develop fellow employees, and by extension the department. The information is invaluable. There are a host of other benefits too, which I have not yet taken advantage of, but I hope to do so in future.

What is your proudest achievement?

The completion of my Advanced Diploma. The HR module posed a major threat to completion, but I was successful nonetheless.

Mandy Lo, FInstAM

Mandy has been a student member in Hong Kong since 2001. She is now the Head of Contract Administration of an iron ore and coal company importing to China. She has more than 15 years of experience in sales administration and 10 years of experience in secretarial support services for multinational organisations.

Why did you join the Institute?

One of my previous employers, a global international resources company in Australia, needed to do an acquisition and merge with another giant global company in London. This process meant I transferred to a new company from the mother company in 1999, but then the newly generated company merged back with the mother company again in 2003.

I was living in a big wave of activity in these periods, so I decided to join the Institute as a student member.
I picked up all the reference books and materials to study my IAM courses again in 2001, even though I dropped my ICSA studies and took up a secretarial job without taking any courses for almost ten years.

What is your proudest achievement?

From a two-person company we have transformed into a medium-sized company with about 40 employees, and we are running four offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Dalian and Singapore.

Do you have any top business tips others may find useful?

Keep the business and the brain running, and trust your staff. People are fundamental resources, and each individual has their own character, without possibility of duplication or replacement anywhere in the world.

John-George Sigalas, FInstAM

John-Georges has been a member for more than two decades. He is a seasoned financial services professional, who has held a wide range of roles, rising to Associate Director, and has worked in London, Geneva, Zurich and Athens.

Why did you join the Institute?

Administration is an integral part of every living cell – of a human body, an organisation, a family unit, and so on. The better the administration, the better the performance, and all that results from it.

I considered that the IAM provided the world with an ever-growing ‘pool’ of ability and experience in the discipline of administration, which would improve the efficiency of not only the professionals that became members, but also – directly or indirectly – others that did not. Thus you get the efficiency of various entities, including businesses and governments, and I wanted to be part of that positive energy flow.

What is your proudest achievement?

I don’t like associating myself with ‘pride’, but I would say that I was best pleased with myself after justifying the trust placed in me by strangers to reorganise the private banking business of a relatively small, profitable, reputable commercial bank in Athens, Greece. After years of losses I led it back into profit while keeping the original team and adding to it as business grew.

One of the reasons for the success we all enjoyed was that one of my first actions as Director was to appoint a Senior Officer (Head) of Administration – in full recognition of the importance of administration – and give her equal status (in real terms) with the Senior Officer (Head) of Private Bankers who was interacting with clients and potential new clients.

Do you have any top business tips others may find useful?

I don’t think I am better qualified than others to provide such tips. I can say I found it most useful to have been asked by my very first mentor to observe that the bee makes its honey from less attractive flowers to the eye as well as roses – not to underestimate the contribution of anyone or anything, and to behave accordingly.


We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.