School Advisor Articles

An AISM Legacy: Stephanie Woon’s Entrepreneurial Spirit and Leadership in Action

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Jan 18, 2024

In the quaint halls of the Australian International School Malaysia (AISM), Stephanie Woon found more than just an educational institution; she discovered a second home.

Describing her time at AISM akin to being part of a ‘big, warm family,’ Stephanie’s journey from student to accomplished brand manager reflects the transformative power of a nurturing learning environment.

Stephanie (second from left) credits AISM teachers for providing necessary academic support and encouragement, assigning additional work for skill polishing, and, most importantly, believing in her. 


Studying at AISM

Established in 2000, AISM caters to students from age three to 18. The school follows an Australian curriculum and is the only school in Malaysia to offer the New South Wales Higher School Certificate (HSC). Here, students are nurtured to be curious, responsible, creative, confident and well-informed through its 50/50 approach to curriculum and learning.

Imagine cosy classrooms teeming with just 20 students, where teachers aren’t just educators but also cheerleaders pushing you to break free from your comfort zone. That’s the reality at AISM. “Even though I wasn't the most outgoing at first, these teachers were like my support squad, pushing me to step out of my comfort zone and grow as a person and leader,” Stephanie says.

Besides this, the emphasis on self-expression and leadership at AISM played a pivotal role in shaping Stephanie’s confidence and personality. “It was like my own little growth adventure!” she exclaims. This sentiment echoes through her involvement in various co-curricular activities (CCAs), where she learned invaluable life lessons.

“Back at AISM, being part of all those sports teams taught me a crucial life lesson: it’s not about being the best, but giving your best.”

The small student body meant everyone had to jump in, highlighting the importance of teamwork – something Stephanie experienced first-hand. “Take my adventure as a goalkeeper, for instance – I had zero clue about the game! But my teacher pushed me to take it on, so I hit the training grounds, stayed disciplined, and, surprisingly, bagged the ‘Most Valuable Player’ title in a tournament.”

This ‘give it your all’ spirit became a cornerstone of the students’ approach to life, both at AISM and beyond. “It’s funny how kicking a soccer ball around in school laid the foundation for how I approach life now,” Stephanie says.

Stephanie (right) as goalkeeper. Students formed diverse teams to address the limited numbers, underscoring the importance of teamwork.

AISM’s strength lies in its vibrant multicultural tapestry. The school’s take on International Day isn’t just a celebration; it is a global food fair, a melting pot of cultures and a platform for mutual understanding. Everyone, including parents, contributes by bringing their cultural delights and donning traditional attire, creating an engaging platform for mutual education. It isn’t just about the food; it is about learning and connecting through the joy of shared experiences.

This exposure opens students’ minds and fuels a genuine interest in understanding diverse cultures through celebration and interaction. “It paved the way for a seamless transition to studying abroad, where my curiosity became a compass for embracing varied cultures and working styles and adapting swiftly to new environments,” Stephanie says.

AISM’s commitment to holistic development is exemplified by Stephanie’s numerous awards, including the Internal Scholarship Holder in 2012 and the Senior Principal Award in 2013, a testament to her leadership prowess as she served as a captain in both middle and senior school. She notes that these accolades weren’t just about personal achievements but stemmed from a people-oriented mindset ingrained by the school.

“The school ingrained in me the importance of being people-oriented, empathetic and making a positive impact on others. It wasn’t just about ticking off personal accomplishments; it was about the ripple effect, about uplifting those around you.”

For Stephanie, leadership isn’t about barking orders, it is about connecting people with their interests and helping them shine. “It’s this human side of leadership that AISM instilled in me – making genuine connections and helping others discover and pursue their passions.”

Stephanie's University Journey and Beyond

Stephanie’s journey continued at The University of Western Australia, where she pursued a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Business, Management, and Marketing.

In Year 10, Stephanie worked at BluInc as a participant in AISM’s programme, gaining valuable job experience.


Choosing a university course was a breeze after AISM’s ‘working experience’ programme. This programme, launched in Year 10, throws students into real-world work environments, giving them the maturity and trust to explore potential career paths. This sneak peek into the professional world, combined with students’ freedom to choose subjects that spark their interest, gives them a better idea for their careers. For Stephanie, she was interested in legal studies, business studies, math and visual art.

“Diving into these subjects made it clear to me – I wanted a career that blended commercial acumen with arts. Fast forward to my university days, and that’s exactly what I pursued.”

AISM didn’t just educate; it empowered students to discover and pursue their passions with unwavering confidence. “It’s incredible how those early experiences set the stage for my journey in higher education and beyond,” she says.

After her education journey, Stephanie delved into the world of FMCG through a management trainee programme, fueled by her love for brand building. Simultaneously, she ignited her entrepreneurial spirit during the pandemic, establishing @SwoonBySwoon — a platform offering art kits and workshops, providing a creative outlet for the working class.

This endeavour led her to collaborate with renowned brands such as Tiffany & Co, Balvenie and Mont Blanc, adding a unique dimension to her multifaceted career. AISM instilled courage and entrepreneurial spirit in Stephanie, driving her to explore new paths and take bold initiatives in her professional journey

Stephanie's collaboration with Tiffany & Co. involved a personalised coaster workshop through her platform, @SwoonBySwoon

Stephanie’s Wisdom: Nurturing Skills for Life Beyond AISM

Stephanie Woon now works as a senior brand manager at Brownes Dairy in Perth, Australia

Reflecting on her AISM journey, Stephanie identifies three essential skills that continue to shape her personal and professional life.

1. Putting People First: AISM taught her the incredible power of empathy. It wasn’t just a soft skill; it was a game-changer. The ability to connect with people on a deeper level, fueled by genuine curiosity about their cultures and backgrounds, became a defining aspect of how students approached personal and professional relationships.

2. The Beauty of Mentorship: AISM instilled the wisdom that you can’t do it all, but what’s equally clear is the beauty of mentorship. It’s not about going at it alone; it’s about choosing the right life mentors to guide you through the maze of challenges. AISM taught Stephanie that seeking guidance is not a sign of weakness but an intelligent move in pursuing growth.

3. Giving Your Best is Already a ‘Success’: AISM redefines success not by comparison but by the commitment to providing your all, whether in academics, training or career. This mindset remained a cornerstone for overcoming challenges and achieving personal excellence.

In offering advice to parents considering AISM for their children, Stephanie draws from her personal experience. “Your child isn’t just entering a school; they are entering a nurturing environment where challenges are opportunities, setbacks are stepping stones and every student has the chance to shine. It’s more than education; it’s a journey toward unlocking potential and building a foundation for a future they can be proud of.”

Admissions for January 2024 are currently open! If you’re interested in enrolling your children into AISM, please contact our admissions office. For more information about AISM, our teaching methods and school tour bookings, visit