Yoma Central Profiles: Khin Sandy Linn
Discover the people behind the project. This month’s Yoma Central Profiles features Khin Sandy Linn, our E&C Compliance Manager.
Khin Sandy Linn is an E&S Compliance Manager at SPA Design and Project Services Ltd. She is responsible for project compliance when it comes to meeting conditions attached to the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and the E&S Management Plan (ESMP) included in the approved Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Report. She is also in charge of meeting E&S-related Condition Precedents for each capital injection stage established by environmentally and socially responsible investors – IFC and ADB. She also contributes in different aspects of E&S management and the due diligence processes of potential investors of the Group.
Prior to her current position as E&S Compliance Manager, Khin Sandy Lin was an Office Admin for SPA Projects. Khin holds an MBA degree from Yangon Institute of Economics and Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from National Management College.
What is your role in the Yoma Central project and how has your experience of working on it been so far?
I find my role in Yoma Central Project quite fascinating. It’s about ensuring the project is being developed in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Yoma Central is a joint investment amongst six high-profile business partners, all of whom share one common goal: sustainable development. They have their own Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards which are not so different from one another. We, as the Project Management team, uphold the highest environmental and social values, and make sure all contractors perform their best to deliver on these.
This requires very strong working relationships with our internal core project teams who supervise our contractors on site. I also liaise regularly with various stakeholders such as the immediate community, authorities and shareholders to get their input. Within the framework of sustainability, I oversee EDGE Certification process which is a detailed technical review by IFC, a member of the World Bank, that ensures the construction project can be classified as eco-friendly. I’m glad my job comprises of some many diverse tasks. It allows me to broadened my knowledge and improve my sense of self-esteem.
What was your career path towards the role of E&S manager?
I’ve been with SPA for over seven years now, but it was not until June 2014 that I became a part of the compliance team. When I first joined the group in 2012, I was the assistant to Mr. David Whitting – the Project Director of Star City Project in Thanlyin. Within a few months, he noticed that I could take more responsibility and thus assigned me to set up the admin team for Yoma Central Project. About a year later, I had grown a thirst for a fresh challenge, so I agreed to take a position as the E&S Compliance Manager.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced working on the Yoma Central project?
I’d say finishing off the Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process took the most of my energy. It was a lengthy process from the very first appointment of the ESIA consultant in 2013 to the finishing line of being awarded the “Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC)” in 2019. Halfway through the project, we had to update the report a couple of times due to the significant change in the Yoma Central Project design in late 2014 as well as the changes in local Environmental Impact Assessment Procedures in 2015.
Who do you turn to for the advice and how did your relationship with you mentor develop?
Over the past six years, I have found two mentors, both are my former bosses. I meet with Ms. Tessa Morton, my former compliance and approvals manager, and with Mr. Stephen Purvis, a former project director, once every quarter or half a year for a chat. We also keep in touch via messenger or email. I really appreciate their guidance on career and life in general.
What is your relationship with your team?
The E&C team consists of just two people so I always make sure my team member feels empowered, learns new things and gradually takes more responsibility for our tasks.
How is your working relationship with your boss?
My current boss is Mr. Iain Fairbairn, the Project Director. He came onboard just before I took a break from work to raise my child, so we didn’t really get to know each other very well back then. Yet he welcomed me to come back without any questions and even allowed me to work part-time on the condition that it doesn’t affect the workload. He places trust in me and lets me work independently. No matter how busy he is, he is always there to hear out the problems and give me a clear direction if needed. I believe we are on good terms.
And who is Khin Sandy outside of work?
I am a proud mum of a 3-year-old son who still from time to time tries to stop me leaving for work in the morning but he always joyfully welcomes me when I come back home. My husband is a marine engineer working on vessels so he spends two-thirds of a year sailing out in sea.
My focus outside of work is on spending as much quality time with my son as I can. I’m mainly responsible for mychild’s upbringing, hence working part-time is such a blessing for me. It also allows for some ‘Me-time’. I enjoy learning new things whether or not it is related to my profession. My favourite Einstein quote is, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”
Even during recent work-from-home period, I’ve completed a few courses in chart reading, basic techniques of business valuation, international financial services laws and regulations and portfolio management.
Being an expert in E&S, what is your assessment of the impact Yoma Central will have on local community?
Yoma Central is a mixed-use development that will create a great deal of job opportunities when the development opens to the public. We estimate around 7,000 jobs will be created for local people, including roles suitable for those with different levels of education. In the current construction phase, the project has already accommodated over 2,000 jobs for both skilled and unskilled Myanmar people, and it will continue to reach around 4,000 jobs at its construction peak. That’s thousands of families positively impacted with an additional income. Let’s also not forget to mention the transfer of skills and knowledge as well as all service jobs and opportunities emerging from the community of construction workers.
Aside from job creation, the general public will benefit from the development’s visual aesthetics. Yoma Central takes property development in Myanmar to the next level. It upgrades the status of our city and allows Myanmar people to boast about the presence of international luxury brands in fashion retailing, hotels and property management.
And what was the impact of YCP on your life?
I admit that I used to be very uncomfortable to be around many people I’m not close to. However due to my job, I have no choice but to meet with new people and coordinate between many different teams, thereby considerably improving my people skills.
I was the type of person who kept my thoughts and feelings to myself rather than to voice them. Thanks to the low power distance culture developed at our workplace, I have eventually learned to speak for myself.