In many countries, people still think of women as objects of beauty. Some people still have the mentality that women should stay at home, take care of the kids and their spouse as primary caretakers. What some people don’t know is how powerful a woman can be. Being a woman, we can change the world.
In today’s modern-day society, there are plenty of successful women who are already bringing incremental changes to the world. Ms. Chua Sock Koong is one of the strong and bold women who is contributing to a better world. Her list of achievements and positions in various aspects are remarkable and inspiring. Chua Sock completed her education from Singapore’s reputed Schools at Raffles Girls School and Raffles Institution. Then graduated from the NUS with a first-class honor in Bachelor of Accountancy. In 2019, she was the first Singapore woman appointed as a member of CPA and later in Jan 2020 became the Deputy Chairman of PSC (Public Service Commission). Also, she is technically the second deputy chairman in the commission serving along with Mr. Kwa Chong Seng, the Singapore Technologies Engineering Chairman. She is also a member of Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council and the Indonesian Singapore Business Council and an alternate member of the Council of Presidential Advisers. So, not only in the corporate world but also in politics, Ms. Chua Sock Koong has painted her success.
Ms. Chua has a very holistic approach to business and believes in encouraging new and innovative ideas and has been largely contributing to talent development. It is evident from her great success stories. After joining Singtel in 1989 as a treasurer, she climbed the corporate ladder rapidly holding various positions and, in a short timeframe of 10yrs became Singtel CFO. She went on to become Group CFO and then CEO International in 2006. In less than a year, she got appointed as Singtel Group CEO.
Singtel was restructured and readied for competition by Ms. Chua in the lead until the full liberalization of the Singapore telecom’s market in the year 2000. She was part of the key leadership team that developed Singtel’s internationalization strategy. The phenomenal strategy accounted for the group’s acquisition of Optus in Australia, along with plenty of other regional telecom investments.
Ms. Chua stepped up the diversification of Singtel and led and oversaw investments in India’s Bharti Airtel, Indonesia’s Telkomsel, Philippines Globe and Thailand’s AIS. In recent times, digitalization has been taking place very rapidly. It required a very intellectual mind to think of various strategies to adapt to the dynamic business environment, and Ms. Chua has exceptional business acumen and intellect to run Asia’s leading communication group. She has been driving Singtel’s ongoing transformation from the traditional telco style into a communications technology company.
At the annual Chief Executive Women (CEW) dinner, Ms. Chua once said –
Leaders create more leaders. Not just followers.
Under the leadership of Ms. Chua, Singtel has shown mesmerizing growth in the new enterprise services of cloud and cybersecurity. Additionally, there has been a creation of new digitalized business in areas where Singtel’s telecom assets provide an edge over the competitors. Singtel has also been awarded the best-managed company in Singapore, best corporate governance, and most committed to strong dividend policy in Asia’s best-managed companies 2013 poll by FinanceAsia.
Chua Sock Koong firmly believes that women need to be supported and empowered and that behind every successful woman, there is a tribe of women rooting for them and encouraging them. She claims that she had to be ‘encouraged’ to run for the CEO position; she was quite reserved at first. According to her, the larger a company, the less likely is the possibility of it being headed by a woman. She also claims that women are still underrepresented in the corporate world. Women head less than 5% of chief executive officers of the world’s biggest organizations. Thus, women must support each other. Thus, the most fruitful way to get over gender stereotypes is to deliver and support from other fellow women.
Her achievements are endless. Fortune magazine has listed Chua Sock Koong in its global ranking of most powerful woman leaders in business since 2005. In the power woman rankings, she has been listed by Forbes and the Financial Times. So, after hearing all of these achievements, do you still think women cannot be successful? The corporate world in Singapore is full of bold women who are not just objects of beauty but are beauty with brains.