Coffee Chats - Gary Kaw

Get to know Gary Kaw, Assistant Director (Partnerships, Programming)!

Chad Davis, Deputy Director (Cloud Forest, Conservatory Operations)

Gary and his team are responsible for getting new partners on board to support the efforts of the Gardens, and take care of the needs of existing ones. This includes seeing to requests such as hosting private tours of the Gardens or conducting special events, just to name a few.

What are Gardens by the Bay’s key selling points that make us attractive to potential partners?

Our successful branding as a premier, must-visit garden attraction in Singapore, and the phenomenal visitor numbers that come with it (before COVID-19), are definitely among our strongest pull factors. Furthermore, we’re a registered charity and an Institution of a Public Character (IPC). This means that in eligible cases, sponsors receive tax deductions for their donations to us, which gives them another reason to partner the Gardens.

What’s the most memorable request from/ encounter that you’ve had with our partners?

It would probably be the time we conducted a planting session in the Flower Dome in 2016, for our key sponsor, OCBC, who had requested it for their staff. We worked with the team from Conservatory Operations to arrange for them to be involved in the planting of proteas for our Tribal Tempo floral display, and coordinated the planting over four nights. OCBC enjoyed the experience tremendously.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

Meeting people and seeing them become fans of the Gardens over time. Along the way, there have also been many instances where we’ve grown from being work acquaintances to personal friends with our partners. We still keep in touch with some of them, even after they move on to other organisations. Building and cultivating these relationships that last is truly rewarding.

If you spot Gary at the Gardens, approach him for a chat – he’d be delighted to share a part of it with you!


Information for this article was adapted from Faces by the Bay by Ching Yi Aw, published in the Baywatch Magazine (September-October 2018).

Written by: Debbie Chen, Assistant Director (Education, Programming)

Debbie is an ardent reader who often finds herself nose-deep in a dystopian novel. She has been involved in education since graduating from university, and enjoys bringing information to people in an engaging way that helps them see things in a new light.

This article is part of our Coffee Chat series.