What is your one trait which you think has led to your career success?
A persevering attitude that never gives up but seeks to find a solution to every problem has helped me in my career. I started as a Marketing Manager and over the years, it is this belief in perseverance that has brought me success in my career and helped me to reach my current position, leading the Canon consumer products marketing and sales team in Singapore.
What do you look for in young leaders?
Young leaders are the future. While there are quite a few traits that young leaders should have, I look for the following in my interactions;
• A good positive attitude and mindset
• Someone who is not daunted by difficulties, but find a solution in every situation
• Good interpersonal skills which are critical in communicating across all levels in the company
• Ability to motivate people
• Must be able to make tough decisions, the objective is not to be a popular but an effective leader
Best career advice you’ve ever received?
Not to accept “no” for an answer, but to work around it and find solutions. This advice was given by my first boss, who led by example. As a mentor, he also instilled a sense of confidence in my communication, both oral and written. In fact my ‘don’t give up’ attitude stems from this inspiring piece of career advice and it never fails to support me when I deal with any kind tough situation or people.
What was one of your biggest challenges that you’ve faced in your career?
I recall my first job in sales where I was assigned to Los Angeles to manage key client accounts. As a novice in the industry, it was a challenging and eye-opening experience for me. I was dealing with American clients of very different cultural background as myself while adapting to a completely new way of life in Los Angeles. It was a steep learning curve in my 1.5 years stint in the US. However, it was time well spent and I learnt a lot during my stay there.
How can employees make a lasting impression on you at work?
As I am strong believer and follower of dogged determination, if employees are able to demonstrate the “never say die” spirit, and persevere in trying times, they can make a lasting impression on me. I remember the experience of working with an ex-colleague. She did not complain when we were going through tough times, despite her being unwell. She pushed on despite odds and I truly admire that kind of fighting spirit.
What are some of your personal goals for yourself when it comes to your career?
Aside from fulfilling the organisational goals, I feel that people are the most valuable assets for any organisation. My personal goal is to create a better and more fulfilling work environment for my employees. It is easier to strike a balance at work and life when employees can materialize their professional ambitions and goals. I also believe in continuous learning and self-improvement.
How do you develop your leadership skills?
I draw inspiration from strong leaders and learn from them. I cite the example of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew whom I admire for transforming Singapore into what it is today; a progressive nation with booming economic prospects. Knowledge is priceless and there is no end to learning. I consciously evaluate myself and read widely to improve my skills and knowledge.
What is the biggest business challenge you see in your industry now?
Today’s business environment is dynamic to say the least. It is evolving at a very rapid pace and it is necessary to stay agile and adapt quickly to changes. We are constantly challenged by technologies that are similar or mimic ours which makes it imperative to anticipate what’s coming up in order to expand the business. Building brand equity and ensuring its longevity, beyond product sales is key.