Regional Director, Digital Transformation: Essilor
Juliana graduated in Computer Science in 2004 and is now the Director of Digital Transformation at Essilor.
As an international student, the investment of family, time and money is significant. I had heard a lot about Loughborough in Singapore, and had great admiration for the teachers and the rich balanced student life Loughborough provides. Among the likes of Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial for teaching excellence, I prioritised my decision in a university that provided a high quality teaching and learning experience for its students.
Loughborough has inspired me about school-work-life integration. It has taught me to get out of my comfort zone, to learn from failure, persevere and stay true to the course of achieving what I set out to do, a home away from home - 11,000km away.
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study a similar course to the one you did?
I graduated with honors in Computer Science and took on a gap year to work for IBM Hursley to enhance that school-work-life integration experience. I would encourage prospective students to opt for a year-out of experiential learning to increase ownership as well as deepen practical and personal awareness of career ambition. During my 15 months at IBM Hursley, I was exposed to Intellectual Property Law which kick-started my career. I received the departmental Bravo award with a cash reward that I stashed away for my final year, and more importantly a job referral to work for an Australian patent law firm upon graduation.
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?
As an international student, I looked forward to bringing the international student community together. I participated heavily in the Singapore Society as Publicity Officer and Advisor in my second and final year respectively. During my second year, I received the award for best contribution to a society. For leisure, I was a member of the Loughborough Ski Club in my first year. As university work got heavier, I decided to run daily, swim weekly at our Olympic-sized indoor heated pool, as well as play basketball regularly with friends in the indoor basketball courts.
Very grounded with a common theme of innovation throughout my journey of nine companies to date. Although my background was in Computer Science at Loughborough, I continue to grow myself thereafter by studying Intellectual Property Law at the National University of Singapore, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Stanford University in the USA and International Business Management at INSEAD. My first job had me exposed to Intellectual Property Law and my curiosity steered me thereafter into innovation, entrepreneurship and digital transformation. Each of the nine companies has taught me resilience and agility, where I seek to understand instead of being understood so as to constantly move forward in an innovative dimension.
I’m currently with Essilor, a French-based world leading ophthalmic optics company founded in 1849. In 2018, Essilor completed a merger with Italian company Luxottica to be EssilorLuxottica, bringing about a combined market capitalisation of €57 billion. At Essilor, I drive B2B digitisation efforts for Asia, Middle East, Russia and Africa markets as Regional Director of Digital Transformation.
There are 3 moments thus far. In 2015, I received Gold for Fitness Innovation at Edison Awards in New York and was also nominated into MIT Technology Review for Innovators under 35 - for the first startup where I launched our health monitor into 30 countries worldwide. In 2017, I was emplaced into Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) Leadership programme and got to study International Business Management at INSEAD. In 2019, I was awarded Digital Leader of the Year for Woman in IT Asia Awards, and was named into IDG ASEAN CIO50 for Leadership and Innovation with the digitisation of all line of our insurance business.
Overall, the future holds good outcomes for the economy where technology adoption is focused on innovation-led growth instead of labour reduction and cost savings. Transition management is thus important, where the government is working closely with companies to proactively increase labour fluidity and equipping employees with new skills.
A day to reflect mutual respect which makes the world a better place to live, to celebrate brilliant contributions that women made to all areas of life and also a time recognise the challenges that women still face.