Janet Yeo founded NASAM in November 1996, when she herself was recovering from a devastating stroke. At the time of her stroke, she was an icon in the advertising industry. Her diverse and rich experience can be traced to ‘70s, when she took over the reins of her father’s outdoor advertising company, Union Commercial Art. She renamed it Union 45 and at 25, became the youngest MD of an advertising agency. Under her leadership, Union 45 grew into an influential leader in the advertising arena.
Her illustrious markers in the industry included Presidency of 4As or Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies in Malaysia (she was the first woman and the youngest to assume this position); launching the prestigious Kancil Awards which exists to this day; and being inducted into the Malaysian Advertising Industry’s Hall of Fame in 2008.
A stroke in 1989 cut short this spiralling success. It left her paralysed on the right side and deprived her of the ability to write. Her speech was partially affected. After gruelling therapy and incredible commitment on her part, Janet recovered in four years and returned to manage her businesses in 1995. Realising the importance of healing the human spirit, mind and body after a major brain attack, she wasted no time in setting up a stroke support group – of friends, professional colleagues and associates. Exercises were conducted in the porch of her home in PJ. Most of the expenses were borne by Janet herself and till today, 21 years later, her service is entirely altruistic.
Believing that every stroke survivor deserves the right to live a functional life, Janet drives hard to help them regain their self-esteem, confidence and hope. She believes that no stroke survivor should be left to vegetate at home or in an institution.
She fully retired from the advertising industry more than 10 years ago so that she could focus on her life’s commitment – NASAM and the stroke community not only in Malaysia but the world over.