Recently, the Alumni Relations Office has had the opportunity to get in touch with one of our most charitable alumni members, Mr. Ralph Dixon, who is putting in great efforts to raise funds for the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) by running the Marathon Des Sables – a run that is dubbed to be ‘the toughest footrace on earth’, in April 2014. Seeing that it is a seven-day 250km ultra-marathon in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates, the Sahara desert, one would naturally agree with the authenticity of the statement. And that’s not all; Ralph, who is also a Trustee of MAF, is actually doing it for the 2nd time! He is currently training tirelessly with another Malaysian in order to accomplish the goal of raising RM100,000.00, specifically for underprivileged women and children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, and for the MAF Red Ribbon Youth Club (a youth HIV education, empowerment and leadership initiative).
Born in Penang, Malaysia, Ralph and his parents moved to Kuala Lumpur when he was 2 and completed his Primary education with GIS, or more fondly known as Garden School then. He had then moved on to various countries including Singapore and United Kingdom to complete his Secondary and Tertiary education respectively.
As a Management Science degree holder, Ralph has since been exposed to various banking positions across Asia including Malaysia and Taiwan but felt unsatisfied as he had the desire to apply his experience hands-on instead of just giving advice as an investment banker. To fulfill the desire, he decided to participate in a family-linked business based in Indonesia managing the production of paper pulp products whilst learning about sustainability and compliance standards. Through his professional network, Ralph was later introduced to YTL Corporation Berhad and naturally became the most suitable candidate for the Director of Environmental Investments position. He had no qualms about returning to work in Malaysia as he had a great memory of a very happy childhood. He remembers GIS as a place where he made good friends. In fact, he still keeps in touch with his GIS friends until today!
One might ask, so what does the Director of Environmental Investments do? Ralph is essentially a sustainability practitioner who ensures fair treatment to all stakeholders. These stakeholders are commonly known as 3Ps – People, Planet, and Profit. Most businesses today have investors who want to make profits through integrity and an honest culture, without compromising any of the stakeholders.
Ralph has been working with YTL for the past 7 years and he admitted to being overwhelmed by the challenges sometimes. “Things are looking depressing about the globe at this time. Am I really making a productive impact on society?”, a question he often asks himself. Deep down, he knows that what he does today has a positive impact on stakeholders. He is happiest at work when running a fund raising project as it positively impacts the lives of many. “But remember, money is not everything. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing because that is what you will do well at.”
Given another chance, Ralph said that he would have changed his university course and gone into Marketing and PR to be more on the creative side of things. “Do as many internships as you can and get your hands dirty! Have as much exposure as you can to make the right decision. Good decisions are made with good information.” was his advice for the students today. “Sustainability is a growing profession and for those who are interested in pursuing the career, a degree in Environmental Sciences is the path to go. You will learn about the long term & lasting impact of everything you do as early awareness is critical towards sustainability.”
When asked about his goals and dreams, he said: “I’d like to look after my own investment in renewable energy because of its ultimate impact on the people. My future with YTL looks interesting with many different types of opportunities, not just as an employee but with potential partnerships too!”
Last but not least, he ended the interview with some great advice, “You’ll never stop learning. You learn more and more as you get older because you realize that you know less and less. The hunger to know more will grow. The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. It is a never-ending process, so carry on accumulating. Your mind should always be inquisitive. If it isn’t, then there’s something wrong.”
For those who are interested to support Ralph’s effort in fund raising for MAF, please refer to the linked below for more information: