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On adding value, confidence and IBM: An interview with Singapore MD Annie Choy
During a recent interview with Annie Choy, Managing Director at IBM Singapore, she shared her experiences of rising through the ranks at the multinational technology company along with her advice to female executives looking to reach management level.
Tell us about your career so far?
I started my career with a company called Electrolux. I worked there for over two years and then took a change and joined the banking industry. I then spent seven years with DBS (the Development Bank of Singapore) and then subsequently three years with HSBC. Then an opportunity came up, when IBM was looking for someone to run their financial business in Singapore so I joined the company in 1996.
I spent 21 years at IBM with a short stint at Compaq in between before then coming back to IBM. I’ve been in various roles at the company including being the Asia Pacific General Manager for the region; running the business in India, China, Australia and Korea.
I then took on an assignment in China, based out of Beijing covering specifically the Chinese market because China was a growing market for IBM. After my assignment in Beijing I went to Japan, where I spent three years in IBM Japan, running the global financing business before returning to Singapore last year to assume my current role as the MD for IBM Singapore.
What do you love most about your current role?
IBM is a company that covers a very wide spectrum of goods and services in the industry that we cater to. We have the ability to integrate the business from end to end, be it in software services, or our new technology. We have the ability to bring everything together; to enable my colleagues to be advocates in the industry. I think those are very enjoyable parts of the business that I am in right now.
It’s about adding value to the business, bringing different perspectives – learning from all the different experiences I have had outside of Singapore and seeing how we can make a difference. It’s about doing it slightly differently in Singapore and bringing in industry knowledge together.
What is your advice for female executives to reach management level roles?
I think one important criteria is that one must have confidence in whatever one does. We must of course have the capability and ability, so I will assume that is there. You have the skillset, the knowledge – but one has to be confident to be able to portray an image that suggests ‘yes, I can do it. I have the ability to lead, to manage and bring results to the company.’
Don’t think about whether there is a glass ceiling, or if there are barriers to being successful. Take a very positive attitude, believing ‘I have the skills, I have the ability to do it – let me go ahead, execute and do the best I can’.
Forget about the distractions and be yourself, be true to what you can deliver and do the best you can out there. Be it male or female – we are all the same.
Aspiring to follow in Annie’s footsteps? Get in touch with us today to speak to a recruitment specialist about your own journey to success.