It is important for the CHRO to have holistic thinking, and be receptive to varying opinions and perspectives, says Parvinder Walia, President of Asia Pacific & Japan at ESET, in conversation with Priya Sunil.

Q How did you get to where you are with ESET?

Personally, I am always interested and passionate about new technologies. After moving from India to Australia for my master’s degree, my interest in ESET began when I stumbled upon a good product from ESET which worked well on my computer. Seeing the potential of the products, I secured a job at ESET in Singapore through its North American entity.

Shortly after, I moved to Singapore where ESET opened a new office, which is our APJ (Asia Pacific and Japan) regional headquarters. In Singapore, I worked closely with distributors and partners focusing on channel marketing and was also involved in sales. I had forged good relationships with key clients, stakeholders, and colleagues.

I have grown with the company and donned many hats over the years including channel marketing, head of marketing, head of sales and marketing. I was also very fortunate to be entrusted and given opportunities where I was able to challenge myself outside my comfort zone.

I strongly believe that the culture of mentorship, internal talent development and empowerment at the company made this possible.

Q How would you describe your leadership style? How has it changed over the years and what experiences helped you shape it?

Having been in various roles at ESET, I was able to observe how successful people operate and also put myself in the shoes of employees. I see my leadership style as one of mentorship and collaboration, working hand-in-hand with teams, and always striving to improve together to meet our collective goals.

However, I recognise that every employee is different. Having a good understanding of each employee both personally and professionally is key to tailor the approach based on the individual. I also believe that having an appreciation and respect for different cultures goes a long way in a diverse region like Asia Pacific. I am heartened that over time, I’ve managed to work with different people across the region and globally in the organisation, but every day is a new day, and we keep learning.

Q What are some meaningful lessons you've taken over the course of your career?

If I have to call out the biggest learning, it’s relationship management. It is especially critical for our business as we rely on the channel distribution model. Always have a positive mindset and take a multi-dimensional approach when working with different people. It is also important to have an open mind, be collaborative and keep things simple.

Q As President, how closely do you work with your HR head, and on what matters?

As someone who was mentored and groomed to be in the current position that I am in, I am an advocate and strong believer in nurturing internal talent. Apart from talent management, I also believe in the value of diversity and its positive impact on the business. I work closely with HR to build a positive culture and develop future leaders in the organisation.

Q Describe your ideal CHRO.

My ideal CHRO is an individual who is patient, rational and pleasant to work with. It is important for the CHRO to have holistic thinking, and be receptive to varying opinions and perspectives. As ESET is a global company, having an understanding of different cultures is also key.

Q If not this career, what alternative career path would you have chosen?

My initial plan was to be a mechanical engineer but things changed after my business degree, and I developed an interest in sales and marketing. I could also have pursued a career in sports, as I am passionate about cricket and was competing at a college and club level.

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