Leadership Spotlight Series: Yamin Myo Nyunt, Head of Proximity School
In our Leadership Spotlight Series, Proximity leaders tell us where they come from, where they want to go and what drives them.
A memorable chance encounter set the tone for Yamin’s Proximity journey. Now she leads Proximity School, an in-house training centre offering courses to hundreds of her colleagues.
Yamin never imagined herself working in education. She studied psychology at UCLA in the United States and earned her masters in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. She also spent time counseling couples and families in Los Angeles and working as a mental health counselor at a high school during and after her studies.
But after living abroad for most of her adult life, she decided to move back to her native Myanmar to spend more time with her mother and grandmother.
At the time Yamin didn’t know much about Proximity Designs but she felt an affinity with its mission; that of giving people the tools and support they need to achieve their goals. After all, as a psychologist that’s what she was trained to do.
Her first encounter with Proximity was a memorable one. Yamin recalls being at a job fair and approaching Ma Seng, Head of People Operations , who immediately showed an interest in her background as a psychologist.
“She was so excited… and had lots of ideas on how my experiences could be beneficial for the organization,” Yamin said.
“This made Proximity stand out for me because the other companies at the job fair immediately told me that there was nothing a person with a psych background to do. With Proximity, I didn’t even have to sell this idea. It was so obvious to Ma Seng.”
Yamin joined Proximity’s People’s Operation team shortly after her meeting with Ma Seng and it didn’t take long for her to develop strong relationships with her co-workers, particularly those at Proximity School. Jim, Co-founder and CEO, recognized this and offered Yamin the new position of Head of Proximity School just three months later.
Being in a new role meant Yamin had to go back to school herself. She had to learn how to build and manage a team, design a curriculum, train adult learners and even become more comfortable speaking in public and training in Burmese.
“I definitely had challenging times but looking back, it’s amazing how much I’ve grown from the experience and the team has grown a lot too.”
That was almost three years ago. Since then, the school has transformed from being a yearly training event to a fully fledged team offering regular courses ranging from employee onboarding to technical skills such as agronomy and microfinance, and core competency courses, including problem-solving skills and English. Yamin and her team are constantly learning too. They’re always on the lookout for skills and techniques which they think might be useful for Proximity staff.
The school’s trainings are based on a 70:20:10 learning model, which means 70 percent of learning comes from on-the-job experience, 20 percent through feedback and 10 percent in-class. This highly interactive direction has proven very popular among Yamin’s colleagues. So popular, that Proximity’s 800 employees participated in more than 40,000 training hours last fiscal year.
But when asked what motivates her you won’t hear Yamin rattle through the numbers or list of achievements.
“I get to work with a group of people who truly care about our staff and their development, and about each other too,” she says.
“It feels like a family.”