What happened when Avanade noticed me
- Posted on July 11, 2022
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
My passion is travel. I grew up in Malaysia, and I love exploring new countries. I’ve hiked in Australia’s Blue Mountains, Japan’s Mount Fuji, Vietnam’s Mount Fansipan and Indonesia’s Mount Rinjani; and cycled around Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. There’s a two-year gap in my resume when I lived in the U.K. and traveled around Europe.
I sound so adventurous – and I am when I’m travelling. At work, as an IT consultant, I’m the opposite. I’m an introvert. And I really didn’t have much ambition. I never expected to be recognized at work. And I wasn’t – until I joined Avanade.
I knew Avanade had a good reputation (the combination of Microsoft and Accenture is hard to beat!). And I valued the limitless opportunities at Avanade for self-paced, online training which made it easy to add to my Microsoft certifications.
I didn’t really understand how special it was until I was assigned to my first major project – in Brunei! The team was amazingly diverse: a project leader from Ireland and colleagues from India, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines. It was fascinating to see the way different people worked compared to the way I was used to in Malaysia.
The way the team in Avanade worked together was fantastic. The culture was very inclusive. We all sat together in an open office – even the directors, who were very approachable. Everyone was very willing to help one another.
English is not my mother tongue (I speak three other languages) and I rarely speak up in meetings. At Avanade, I didn’t have to. People asked for my opinions and ideas. They listened respectfully when I spoke. They paid attention. They valued what I said.
I didn’t fully appreciate how much I’d been noticed until Avanade asked me to lead Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) in Malaysia. I didn’t really know what the role was, and I figured I’d give it a try. My first task was to run our International Women’s Day (IWD) program. We started with a one-day celebration in the first year, extended to a week’s celebration subsequently – and for the past two years, we’ve celebrated IWD throughout the month of March. As our I&D team grew, we introduced many other initiatives, including our I&D Calendar and our Be-Inclusive Campaign. We now have a big, robust I&D program in Southeast Asia (SEA) that includes meaningful initiatives such as:
- In Avanade SEA, we have a diverse group of colleagues who come from different countries, cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. To celebrate our diversity, we launched the AvaConnect Postcard – a bi-monthly digital postcard where we put the spotlight on a colleague and get to know about the colleague’s home country, culture and much more.
- In Singapore, we started partnering with the Autism Resource Centre in 2018 with three trainees on the spectrum. This program has yielded nine full-time Avanade employees this year, which makes me very proud.
- We started the Avanade Women’s Circle in Malaysia, which we’ve since extended to Singapore. As part of this Circle, we invite female leaders from within Avanade and external speakers to talk about the hurdles to female advancement like networking, confidence and proving our value. These sessions really make a difference to my female colleagues – and me!
Last year, I was surprised to be selected for the Avanade Leadership Program for Women (ALPW). For six months, I received one-on-one coaching from an external expert on a weekly basis. My coach helped me to think about how I wanted to build up my skills and where I wanted to improve. She encouraged me to experiment with different ways of working and helped me to consider the results.
I never thought I’d work anywhere for so long, but every project brings a new challenge and a new team. There’s no chance for me to feel bored. The variety of work keeps me interested and the opportunities Avanade gives me ensure I’m growing and progressing.
Next, I think I’ll apply to work for Avanade in another country.
Maybe I am just a little ambitious!