Press Release

Journey to Entrepreneurship with Sarena Cheah

Kuala Lumpur,23 September 2019

Sunway Berhad’s Property Division Managing Director, Sarena Cheah turned a classroom session into an exciting business pitching session at a high-need secondary school in Setapak. Sarena co-taught with TFM Fellow Munirah binti Jamalludin as part of Teach For Malaysia (TFM) Week.

During the session, Sarena shared her experience and insights on marketing including techniques for cold calling, target audience segmentation, and the 4Ps of the marketing mix – product, price, place and promotion with 30 students of Form 4 Impresif. At the end of her sharing session, the students were then asked to pitch their business ideas incorporating the newly taught 4Ps to Sarena. 

Besides sharing her marketing skills and judging the pitching session, Sarena also talked about her work and life experiences with the students as well as words of advice. 

“Remember to keep a balanced lifestyle, throughout your life. As a student, be actively involved in both sports and studies because you get to learn different things in and out of the classroom. In sports, you learn how to pick yourself up after falling and how to do better and rise from failures. These are life skills which can only be learnt outside the classroom,” she said.

She also spoke about the importance of good values. “We believe that Sunway has grown to what it is today because a large group of people came together and put their best effort at work. We are able to enjoy continued success by practising our core values of integrity, humility and excellence for the benefit of the people, profit and prosperity.” 

Puan Nafisah Binti Hashim who is the principal said that the session is a meaningful part of the school’s current intervention to address some major challenges which has been identified as being low attendance rates, a socio-economic gap, and gender achievement gap amongst others. 

A participant of the session, Aiena said, “I learnt a lot from Ms Sarena, especially on how to communicate well with people and to be confident. I aspire to be a successful businesswoman and to have my own store in the future. Ms Sarena has inspired me to never stop chasing my dream.”

Teach For Malaysia

TFM is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that enlists Malaysia’s most promising future leaders in their mission to end education inequity. 

TFM Week is one of TFM’s most significant events where key influencers, including corporate figures, celebrities and members of the civil service spend time as “teachers” themselves for a day, co-teaching a lesson in school with a TFM Fellow. TFM Week has been crucial in raising awareness on the importance of education in grooming the next generation.

Sunway’s top management including Sunway Group Founder and Chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah AO, Deputy Executive Chairman Tan Sri Razman Hashim, and Corporate Advisor Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam who are also Trustees of the JCF, have previously “taught” as part of the TFM Week. 

JCF’s involvement with TFM stems from a shared belief in the importance of quality education. In addition to the teaching sessions by the corporate chiefs, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation has pledged another RM150,000 to TFM, bringing the JCF’s contribution to a total of RM 750,000 since the partnership started in 2012. 

The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation

The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation has also supported Closing the Gap, an independent organisation powered by TFM aimed at helping underprivileged children from disadvantaged families gain access to quality higher education through mentoring programmes.

Sunway Education Group, which is owned and governed by the JCF, has also pledged RM1mil in scholarships to deserving students nurtured by TFM, to reduce the post-secondary gap and create opportunities for underprivileged students to pursue quality tertiary education.

In Malaysia, more than two-thirds of students in the majority of under-performing schools come from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds. Almost half of 15-year-old Malaysian students do not meet minimum proficiency levels in reading and one in five in Malaysian students do not complete secondary school.

The Fellows or teachers of TFM will teach for two years in high-need schools across Malaysia. They work hand-in-hand with other educators, the community and private sectors, to impact and empower the lives of those within the classroom and beyond.


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