In recent years, Asia has seen an increased focus on gender diversity in leadership roles.
But progress is still slow, so in line with International Women’s Day, Human Resources spoke to more than 20 HR and women leaders to find out their priorities on building gender parity in the workforce, and their advice on what needs to be done differently.
We will be presenting their responses in a eight-part series, touching on the advice these leaders have for aspiring women, challenges they face on the way up, and the support organisations can provide.
In this second part, we feature advice for women aspiring to top positions from 12 women leaders in various industries - from banking and finance, media, to hospitality and F&B.
See what they have to say here.
Meggy Chung, head of infrastructure service delivery, Citi APAC and EMEA
Take ownership of your career and never stop improving or aspiring to be better.
Soh Siew Choo, managing director, technology and operations, DBS Bank
Never be afraid to chase your dreams, share your thoughts about your career aspirations and the value you bring to the table, and how your manager can support you.
Kyoko Matsushita, CEO, Essence APAC
There’ll be many situations - personal and professional - that’ll make you want to quit, but I implore you to find reasons to stay and grow.
Paola Doebel, vice president and general manager, APAC hybrid IT sales and enterprise group global sales, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Be fearless - have confidence in your abilities. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Confidently try new things.
Angela Kelly, CEO, Lloyd's AsiaSpend time reflecting on experiences.
Use mentors, plural, these can be formal or informal mentors and take what you like from each one to build your own brand and personal style.
Hazel Chan, executive director, retail leasing, Marina Bay SandsI have seen many young talented ladies - when faced with an option to live or work overseas - choosing to stay in their comfort zone because of their boyfriends/spouses.
As great and as comfortable Singapore is, the world is a much bigger classroom. Venture out of the little red dot.
Julienne Loh, executive vice president, group products and marketing, Asia Pacific, Mastercard
Always be bold enough to follow your dreams and chase your goals. Have the confidence to create your own opportunities or take them when you receive them. Never short-change yourself, as this is your journey.
Rebecca Lewis, account director, Mutant CommunicationsA CHRO once told me that "men are raised to ask, while women are raised to wait to be asked", and it’s something that has really stuck with me.
Right from a young age, women are typically told that men ask them on a date, or for their hand in marriage. Little girls read books about the Prince saving the Princess, and female characters needing to be rescued by a male figure.
As adults in the workplace, this translates into women feeling less confident about asking for what they want. If a promotion becomes available internally, a woman might look at the competencies needed and think "I can only do half those things, so I won’t bother applying," whereas a man might think, "I can do half those things, so I'm going to go for it".
My advice would be to ask. Ask for what you're worth and ensure you’re getting a fair deal, a fair chance, and a fair opportunity to rise in your career.
Eeleen Tan, chief of global expansion, Ninja VanBe very clear about the end goals you want to achieve. Talk to your bosses / peers / colleagues about your ideas / goals and get their feedback on how best to achieve them. Be realistic too about what you aim for.
Be sincere, humble, and patient to the different people around you in your quest. This applies not only to your bosses but also to your peers and subordinates.
Jozica Habijanic, head of strategic development, Roche Diagnostics Asia Pacific
Be who you are, don’t try to fit in. We often think that we need to mold ourselves into what people expect us to be. Just be yourself, be a woman, because we need diversity in leadership to strive.
Ana Cardoso, VP of human resources, emerging markets business unit, Takeda PharmaceuticalsIt is possible to be a good professional and also care for your family.
I believe I am a better professional because I have a good balance between my personal and professional life, and I am a better mother because I love my job.
We all have different responsibilities in life as a daughter, sister, aunt, mother, or grand-daughter. Opportunities are there for women to take and we should not feel afraid to take them because of our gender.
Joanne Chew, senior human resources manager, TWG TeaDo not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to pursue and build on an area that is outside of the degree you have pursued or the skill set that you have honed.
Once you have found your proverbial cup of tea, do not be afraid of change but accept the challenge to develop yourself in the function.
Part one: IWD2018 special: How CapitaLand, DBS, P&G and more are pressing for progress
Part three: #PressForProgress: How 3M, Mastercard, TWG Tea, and more are pushing for gender inclusivity
Part four: Journey to the top: Women leaders recount challenges throughout their career
Part five: Wise words from 15 women leaders on career success
Part six: Challenges women face when climbing the corporate ladder
Part seven: Closing the gap: How Henkel, Mondeléz, and more advocate for gender inclusivity
Part eight: Breaking down walls: Women leaders recount career challengesPhoto / 123RF
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