I chose Avanade because it has a heart
- Posted on May 5, 2022
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
I’ve been working in tech for nearly two decades and it wasn’t until I came to Avanade that I felt truly comfortable in my own skin and accepted.
I grew up in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia in the days of dial-up modems. We didn’t even have a computer in my household until I was in my mid-teens. But when I did my year 12 studies, my female IT lecturer got me hooked on technology and I ended up doing a Bachelor of Computing at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in Australia. My degree taught me two important things: first, I wanted to live and work in Australia; and second, I really didn’t enjoy programming!
While trying to look for a role to kick start my IT career, a good friend suggested I apply to be an IT auditor for a local retail bank in KL. Back then, I didn’t even know what auditing was, but it piqued my interest when I found out more, as it aligned with my passion – helping organisations to operate with integrity. After a year, determined to start my journey to Australia, I secured an IT audit role at global professional services firm in Singapore. The hours were crazy: I regularly did 10 am-3 am days and worked weekends. But I knew it was short-term pain. After a year, I managed to get a transfer to Australia.
Over the years, I deliberately sought roles that would expand my knowledge and experience, with consulting and in-house roles across multiple industries. I always had a strong affinity with government and financial services. In recent years, I started increasing my presence in professional networks, including public speaking at security, risk, compliance, and assurance forums. One stark reminder of how different I am is in many of the security leaders’ forums, I was often the only female, Asian, and the shortest and youngest person in the room!
In 2021, I decided I’d got to the point where I could choose a job – not for where it would take me, but for how it would make me feel.
What tipped me to sign on the dotted line with Avanade was the fact that the company has a leave policy for anyone who’s undergoing gender transitioning. For me, that spoke volumes. This organisation wasn’t just paying lip service to inclusion. When they said “We believe everyone counts” – they actually mean it.
I joined Avanade during COVID and while I mostly worked virtually, I still felt a sense of belonging from the outset. Corporate conversations are refreshingly different at Avanade: genuine, candid, and authentic. Everyone, even senior leaders, takes the time to find out what you want to get out of your career, what you need to thrive – and how they can help on both fronts.
And people give you timely, constructive feedback (good and bad). In previous jobs, I didn’t always get feedback on how I was doing. That made it tough to work out how I could improve myself or to even know when to give myself a pat on the back. At Avanade, people steer you right without making a big deal of it. And they’re even quicker to tell you when you’re doing a great job.
One of the things I mentioned in my interview at Avanade was I didn’t want “my tank to get empty”. I know many consulting firms expect long hours without respite. I have experienced burnouts (or close to it) and I wanted a job where I am able to look after myself without feeling guilty.
In Australia, Avanade solves this by giving us five “MyDays” on top of our annual leave. This means I can take time off for meaningful events – my birthday, Lunar New Year – as well as taking a day, whenever I need one, to recharge my physical, mental, and emotional batteries.
More importantly, Avanade has a focused emphasis on its employees’ well-being – and this is echoed consistently globally. One initiative is a Well-being Plan (just like a career development plan) that prompts me to reflect on what well-being means to me as an individual and create an action plan. I also see our Talent Community leaders launching initiatives that put well-being into practice. All of this enables me to take regular moments to reflect, stocktake, and celebrate – and never feel guilty.
Here at Avanade, I’m not a cog in a machine and I always feel like an asset. My tank stays full! My friends and family tell me they’ve never seen me so happy and fulfilled. I tell them it’s because I work for an organisation with the right heart.