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“Embrace and leverage change with confidence”, “if in doubt, ask for advice”, and “A small change in perspective from ‘CAN I do it?’ to ‘I CAN do it’.” – this is just some advice women leaders would share with their younger selves if given the opportunity.
In this 15th part of our 16-part series, see what advice women leaders such as Monica Bhatia of Essence, Genevieve Godwin of PropertyGuru Group, Tinku Gupta of Singapore Exchange, and many more would give to their younger selves.
Michelle Zatlyn, co-founder and COO, Cloudflare
Collect a group of people who believe in you and want to see you succeed – colleagues, managers, professors, friends and loved ones. It is these relationships (as well as hard work and an openness to try new things), that will help you have the career that you want.
Monica Bhatia, Vice President, Client Partner, APAC, Essence
There will be circumstances where decisions that bring about radical change need to be made. If they come along as opportunities that add to your life experience, move. Don’t be apologetic. Take the risk. Embrace and leverage change with confidence.
Take comfort in that the initial apprehension with leaving your comfort zone will only make you deal with life better.
Cherie Teng, Head of Corporate Banking, HSBC Singapore
I believe that the majority of women sell themselves short – we often need encouragement to take on a challenge.
I would have told my younger self to understand the qualities I have and use them to my advantage. Being collaborative, tenacious and reliable are not necessarily the ‘buzz words’ associated with a successful banker. But they make a recipe for success.
I would encourage women to be alive to their own qualities and be bold in deploying them.
Deborah Heng, Country Manager, Mastercard Singapore
Tackle every challenge with passion and determination. If you fail at a task today, learn from your mistakes and try again tomorrow. Don’t be afraid – be courageous – because that is how you’ll grow and succeed.
Remember: There is no limit to what you can accomplish, if you believe in yourself. Never let gender labels determine who you really want to be and what you want to achieve. In addition, having a good support group both in your personal and professional life is key to staying happy and positive.
Marian Salzman, Senior VP, Global Communications, Philip Morris International
Always send thank you notes (now evolved to email). Stay connected with friends and acquaintances—the world’s small; who you know and what they think about your work matters. Remember, your career is a marathon not a sprint; it calls for comfortable running shoes along with those crazy four-inch heels.
Caroline Klein, Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications & Public Relations, Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Trust yourself – your ideas, talent, and intuition – and focus on what success means to you instead of trying to follow someone else’s path. Also, consistently make decisions that are aligned with your values, be willing to work harder than the people around you 95% of the time, and laugh more!
Genevieve Godwin, Human Resources Director, PropertyGuru Group
I have been fortunate to have opportunities to work around the world with amazing colleagues. However, as I get older (gulp!) and hopefully wiser, my message to my younger self is:
“If in doubt, ask for advice.” So many times, I have tried to go at it alone, thinking, I should know this! Ask for advice, brainstorm with others and talk to people both in your field and outside of it. It’s amazing what you can learn from a different perspective and gain from diversity of thought.
Agatha Soh, Head of Regional Marketing, Shopee
As the saying goes, “change is the only constant”.
Throughout my career, it is through constant adaptation and evolution that enabled me to reach where I am today. Do not be afraid of change. Learn to embrace, celebrate and influence it. You will be better for it.
Tinku Gupta, Executive Vice President, Head of Technology, Singapore Exchange (SGX)
As women, we often surround ourselves with question marks on our own capabilities, shying away from bigger roles at work. A small change in perspective from ‘CAN I do it?’ to ‘I CAN do it.’ has immensely helped me in putting my best foot forward and accepting new challenges.
Gauri Bajaj, Director – Managed Security Services, Tata Communications
I would ask my younger self to believe in herself. Go ahead and take that plunge! Seek out opportunities for yourself and boldly step up for the ones that come your way. We are a lot more critical of our capabilities than others. Do not doubt your potential or find reasons for holding yourself back. It all works out in the end – we either prove ourselves or learn something new.
We still have one more parts to our series focusing on women leadership, and bridging the gap in gender diversity in organisations. Stay tuned for more!