“At the frontline of healthcare, I have witnessed the phenomenal courage and strength of the human spirit.”

Daphne Yee

Respirologist and Adjunct Associate Professor, National University Health System
Tsinghua-INSEAD Executive MBA 2019


In three sentences or less, could you tell us a little more about yourself?

I grew up in different countries in Southeast Asia, lived most of my adult life in Montreal, and am currently a clinician and educator in one of the healthcare clusters in Singapore.


Any fun facts?

Here are a few memorable moments in my life:

  • Spending thrilling yet terrifying minutes inside the Great Pyramid of Giza
  • Attending a sweat lodge ceremony with the Northern Paiute of Nevada
  • Surviving a night in Bolivia’s Salt Flats at 3600m, at sub-zero temperatures
  • Being pulled from five to 38 metres in a downdraft current at Wolf Island, Galapagos


What was the greatest challenge you faced at work, and how did you overcome it?

As a medical sub-specialist in healthcare for over ten years, new opportunities for continual professional growth and development beyond my day-to-day clinical work life began to appear elusive. This is why I decided to pursue an Executive MBA.


Daphne Yee

Why did you choose the Tsinghua-INSEAD Executive MBA (TIEMBA)?

I chose this dual degree because of its diverse student body, curriculum and reputation.


How would you describe your INSEAD experience?

Intense, eye-opening, energising!

I’m grateful for the new skills and knowledge I have acquired beyond my prior comfort zones in clinical and academic medicine. For example, I have a deeper understanding of how organisational culture and strategic talent management affect company performance; I also now am able to glean useful insights from financial statements and I have a better appreciation for non-healthcare related industries!


What is surprising about you?

Perhaps the fact that I once sang in an all-black gospel choir? 



Who are your heroes in real life?

I have crossed paths with many remarkable individuals who, in one way or another, have been inspiring heroes to me. Here are just a three of them:

Dr. Elizabeth Hynd was my high school biology teacher. She lived out compassion and kindness by caring for the homeless and for individuals under the strongholds of addiction. This truly limitless woman is currently the director of New Hope Centre, an orphanage in Swaziland.

Dr. Dick Menzies, a highly accomplished and well-published clinical epidemiologist with one of the sharpest minds. He was my research supervisor when I was a McGill medical resident working on a project on the serious side effects of anti-tuberculosis drugs.

Monsieur Gilbert Pigeon is a farmer, dancer, diver, and pilot. After sustaining fractures to the base of his skull, vertebral column, ribs, arm and ankle from a helicopter crash, the courage and determination this man exhibited is a living testament of the remarkable strength of the human spirit.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I’m not sure how to answer this question. Being able to light a match is a great achievement for someone who has an irrational fear of matches … and I have an irrational fear of matches. But I am now able to light a match!

Moreover, our “greatest achievement” changes as we progress through our lives. For example, right after being accepted into medical school, that was my greatest achievement. Then, my greatest achievement changed to surviving medical school!  But this was only true before I needed to get into a residency training programme, or until I published in a top medical journal, or when I completed my first half-marathon … and so on, and so forth.

If I may reframe the question and describe one of the most humbling and fulfilling experiences? I would say it was working with an outstanding French-Canadian healthcare team to establish a high-volume pulmonary outpatient service to care for and journey with many patients and their families – many of whose stories have left indelible marks.


What does it mean to you to be limitless?

Being limitless is to be discerning of unconscious biases, to courageously speak out against discrimination, to deliberately move outside my comfort zone, to pursue new learning experiences, and to pay it forward by mentoring emerging leaders.



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