As part of our series of 22 stories under the overarching theme of #ChooseToChallenge, the team at Human Resources Online reached out to about 70 leaders (women and men - because we believe men play a part too) to ask "What is one action you are taking at work, and at home, to challenge the existing gender stereotypes?"
In this 16th story in our series, leaders from Jabil, Lemi, Procore, Software AG, Telstra, and Tookitaki Holdings share the following:
- It’s an issue of abilities, everyone should be provided equal opportunities.
- Raising kids makes female entrepreneurs better leaders. It forces them to develop strong teams who can operate seamlessly in their occasional absence.
- Hiring women at work and speaking openly about gender equity at home.
- Leading by example and paying it forward by coaching aspiring women in tech.
- Creating safe spaces for people to voice their opinions.
- Creating a motivating work environment built on authenticity, trust, and empathy.
May Yap, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Jabil
Everyone - men and women alike - should be provided equal opportunities. It is not an issue of gender but of abilities.
As Chief Information Officer of US-based Jabil, I am constantly dismayed that women make up only 25% of professionals in high-tech jobs and Asian women make up less than 5% of the number.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has long been stereotyped as a predominantly man’s world but this need not be the case. As part of our community service, we have a team that teaches young women to do programming. We also organise STEM workshops for young children – girls and boys - to help them appreciate "fun" in the IT world and we also work with universities to sponsor internships for students with neurodiversity.
Cheryl Ng, CEO and Founder of Lemi
There is an ingrained mindset that a woman who juggles motherhood and their career is less efficient, more likely to get distracted and is overall less of a businessperson.
However, what I learned is that being pregnant and raising kids actually makes female entrepreneurs better leaders because it forces us to develop strong teams who can operate seamlessly in our occasional absence.
This protects the company in the long run because it is not reliant on a single person driving the company and it will not fall apart whenever there is a need for any team member to step back.
Rose Leitch, Director of People, APAC at Procore
While construction is a male-dominated field, this is slowly but surely changing as companies must find ways to improve recruiting and retention. The industry needs to embrace diversity.
I champion gender equity by hiring women and supporting their career growth at Procore. At home, I speak openly about gender equity and leadership with my daughter.
We chose a school for her that celebrates the uniqueness and potential of young women, while giving her every opportunity to succeed and give back to girls and women in less fortunate communities.
Daisy Santosa, Chief Operating Officer, Asia Pacific Japan, Software AG
As a woman whose career spans over 20 years in the technology industry, I have a moral duty to help, guide and empower others journeying on the same path.
I love to lead by example - as I had the opportunity to learn from the best industry leaders throughout my career. I am a strong believer in paying it forward by coaching, sharing my experience and conducting pro-bono counselling sessions with aspiring women-in-tech.
My current job as COO of Software AG APJ entails not only hitting sales growth targets but also mentoring my team to realise their full potential by giving both men and women equal opportunities to advance in their careers, all while maintaining Software AG’s 50-50 gender balance in the Singapore team.
Geraldine Kor, Managing Director, South Asia and Country Managing Director Singapore, Telstra
As a woman in business myself, I care deeply about female empowerment.
To me, diversity of thought is valuable, so I encourage and challenge people to express alternative viewpoints or ask tough questions and assess them objectively. On that note, challenging stereotypes is all about creating safe spaces for people to voice their opinions.
With my new role at Telstra, I am looking forward to working with the team to create and sustain such an environment. We already have a well-established Brilliant Connected Women’s committee, a supporting forum for employees to connect, build relationships and gain mentoring opportunities for career progression. I’ll take an active role in championing this forum here in Singapore. I will also continue to support our “All Roles Flex” program to provide flexible working arrangements for both men and women so they can balance the demands of office and home life.
Jeeta Bandopadhyay, Co-founder and COO, Tookitaki Holdings
At Tookitaki, I lead a diverse team of talents across our offices in Singapore, India and the US.
As COO and Co-Founder, I want to create a motivating work environment built on authenticity, trust and empathy. I believe that these form the core foundation in building quality relationships, better team synergies that could empower each team member to bring out the best version of himself or herself.
Since the age of 25, as a woman in the technology industry, I have always thrived in an environment that promotes freedom of experimentation without fear of failing. This has helped me create a work environment of innovation and continuous learning and I am willing to share my experiences and learnings with my female peers to navigate the contours of this fast-paced, dynamic industry successfully.
Photo / Provided [First row, L-R: May Yap, Cheryl Ng, and Rose Leitch. Second row, L-R: Daisy Santosa, Geraldine Kor, and Jeeta Bandopadhyay.]