I chose to study at Loughborough University as I had heard a lot about Loughborough in Singapore, and had great admiration for the teachers and the rich balanced student life Loughborough provides.
As an international student, the investment of family, time and money is significant. Among the likes of Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial for teaching excellence, I prioritised my decision to learn at a university that provided a high quality teaching and learning experience for its students. Loughborough has inspired me to find a school-work-life balance. 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. Loughborough become a home away from home - 11,000km away.
I graduated from Loughborough University 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 placement year 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.
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.
My career journey so far has been 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 currently work with with Essilor, a French-based world leading ophthalmic optics company founded in 1849. In 2018, we completed a €48 billion merger with Italian eyewear company Luxottica to be EssilorLuxottica. The current market capitalisation for EssilorLuxottica stands at €55 billion (Feb 2020). At Essilor, I head the digitisation efforts for Asia, Middle East, Russia and Africa markets as Director of Digital Transformation.
There are 3 moments in my career which I am most proud of 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, I think 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.