Navigating global AI ethics and governance through collaborative learning


Damian James Leach

Alumni of NBS/2016
Global, Chief Information Officer at Seaco
Completed Certificate in AI Ethics and Governance

Please share with us your professional life’s journey and at which point in your career did you aspire to pursue this certificate.

As the CTO for APJ in a global SaaS company, I pursued the Certificate in AI Ethics and Governance. My role as CTO focused on educating, evangelising products, guiding customers and prospective CIOs across the region. During hundreds of CIO conversations and C-Level events in the region, I discussed various use cases of AI, how to develop effective data policy, data readiness, and, importantly, what business problems customers are solving with AI. This NTU and SCS certificate helped me remove the blinkers and consider the practical, wider global business and technology challenges for CIOs and how to solve them.

Describe the factors that led you to choose PaCE@NTU.

The timing and modular structure of this certificate’s course content really worked for me. While the schedule committed me every Saturday, it was something I could manage despite traveling for work and juggling family life. My wife and kids are always very supportive of my learning, but I also had to make sure it fitted in with our family schedule. As it was remote, that was a factor also; I didn’t have to waste time traveling from A to B. While we didn’t have to, our group met up outside of study time to finalise the project we were collaborating on. The final factor that made it a no-brainer was the discount I received by being an alumnus of NTU and a Singaporean; always check this first, you might be pleasantly surprised at the cost.

Which aspect of this certificate did you like the most?

I really enjoyed the collaborative group work during the course, it enabled me to bond with fellow learners and learn about different industries. We were fortunate in our group to have a great mix from high-tech, university management, government scholars, F&B founders – everyone shared a very different perspective. The group work also enabled us to put what we had learned into practice; solve real business problems. This not only made the learning fun but helped cement the theory we learned into a reality.

How did you apply what you've learnt from this certificate?

Since obtaining this certificate, I moved to a new role as a global CIO, and it’s been a super exciting journey. I am in the process of creating a Global Data policy that will assist us in adopting AI only where it can solve real business problems. I hope to build AI models to better predict demand, move to predictive processing, and optimise the availability of our fleet. I am also experimenting with AI to create greater insight for decision-making across the millions of assets we have out on lease around the world. AI represents a fantastic opportunity to digitise our traditional business vertical, its processes, and the way we interact with our customers.

Do you think lifelong learning is important? Please share your thoughts about it.

For me, lifelong learning is critical for adaptation. Careers evolve, and to make the most of each transition, one must be open to learning while continuing to plant seeds of knowledge. Learning drives more passion for solving problems and embraces a growth mindset to apply what you have learned. Being a lifelong learner also means you are forever curious, always asking questions, interacting, and communicating with many diverse groups of people. It’s not always about the specific subject you are learning; more often, it’s about the journey to learn, the people you meet, and the conversations you have.