Meeting Manju Melwani

Manju Melwani is one of the newer RISE consultants. Based in Singapore, she has a wide range of experience as a facilitator, as well as in counselling. In this post she talks about her passion for interpersonal dynamics, and what excites her about the RISE community.

Meeting Manju Melwani...

IMG_4567What do you really enjoy about your work that you’d like to share with others?

I love to understand inter-personal dynamics. I find people are their true selves when they’re in learning mode. I’m always fascinated to see the change when people feel safe to take risks and express themselves in a group setting. 


I learn a lot when I conduct exercises, and not just about the participants! Asking and answering questions helps me reflect on and crystallise my own learning process. I also enjoy learning about the organisation’s culture and processes, and how I can help enhance or transform existing systems.

I get a real sense of exhilaration when I see participants walk out energised from a session at the end of the day, excited at the new knowledge or skills they’ve gained.

What has been your biggest learning experience in the past few years that has shaped the way you approach your work?

A few years ago, I had a repeat participant: a gentleman who I’d previously met in a training session three years earlier. He was like a new man. His personality had changed completely, and he radiated joy, contentment and positivity.

I asked him what had caused this change, and he shared that he’d decided to be thankful for everything in his life, because too many things were going wrong. Since then, I’ve also adopted this philosophy of appreciation and gratitude for the opportunities that I’ve been given.

What got you interested in this work, what continues to motivate you, and what do you wish you had known earlier?

I’ve been interested in training and education from a young age. As a student, I would sometimes tutor my classmates. I remember helping a struggling classmate prepare for the public exam in our final year of school.

I’m also intrigued by group dynamics. I like to watch in various situations, say over a dinner table, who looks at whom when I ask a question. I’m interested to see who the influencers and leaders are, who is close to whom, and so on. Understanding group dynamics is a lifelong pursuit for me, and my two postgraduate degrees — a Masters of Education in Organisational Development and a Masters in Counselling — have helped me learn more in this field so I can help others.

Something I wish I’d known earlier in my career: despite (and sometimes because of!) group dynamics, a lot of work in relationship building is done one-on-one outside the group.

What do you find valuable about this RISE community? How can we continue to improve the way we bring consultants together?

I’ve been touched by the warm welcome I’ve received from the RISE community, and how reachable and friendly my fellow consultants have been.

I appreciate the genuine peer learning and content development support that we provide each other. This ensures we are neither stagnant nor live in our own ivory towers. For instance, I’ve enjoyed working collaboratively over new technology platforms like Slack.

As far as improvement goes, I think RISE is already taking good steps in this direction. For example, the peer learning groups which are now kicking off, and getting us to possibly take on roles during our consultants’ retreats. I’m looking forward to growing and improving together with RISE.