Ask Vivian Chua to explain her career path and chances are, she’ll joke of “job-hopping” within HP for more than 21 years.
Upon joining the technology giant in 1999 - while still pursuing a university degree - Chua started out in business development before moving to channel marketing and then joining the Consumer Personal Systems team, a team she would later lead across Asia Pacific and Japan.
Today, Chua is vice president and managing director of Singapore, decorated at the HP APJ Presidents’ Club and Print Leadership Summit and recently honoured in the Achievement (Country) category during the inaugural Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) across Southeast Asia.
“My advice to aspiring females seeking a career in technology is to build a personal brand, which applies to both men and women,” advised Chua, when speaking to Channel Asia. “I think it’s important to think about your strengths and what your personal brand might be at an early stage of your career.
“Are you meticulous and detail-oriented? Are you creative? Are you excited about new problems and challenges? Figuring out your strengths and what you stand for as your own brand will help better outline long-term career goals for your professional journey.”
According to Chua - who also holds additional responsibilities for the Malaysia business - career awards highlight that success can come from having a growth mindset and continuous learning mentality.
“It also reminds me of the need to always continue to collaborate in creative thinking and problem-solving to be a leader who can make a difference,” she added. “For aspiring females seeking a career in technology, find the right mentors. I was fortunate to have supportive mentors and colleagues who helped me along the way in my career path.”
One of the most challenging learning experiences for Chua arrived upon assuming a leadership position within the Consumer Personal Systems division across Asia Pacific. New in the role, Chua was offered a short runway to transform the business in one of HP’s key markets.
“My team reinvented HP’s business in China by targeting the growing gaming and e-sports segment in the market and launching HP’s new gaming portfolio,” Chua recalled. “This experience proved that hard work really pays off and you have to be resilient in the face of a challenge. It also sharpened my understanding of leadership and the importance of collaborating with different markets, cultural nuances and teams.”
The ability to collaborate - whether locally, regionally or globally - is crucial in becoming a modern-day technology executive according to Chua, highlighting the importance of balancing technology know-how with communications skills.
“Having technical expertise and competency are important but having soft skills such as empathy, effective communications are equally crucial,” she said. “As a leader, you need to have the ability to listen, encourage and inspire. These attributes will guide you to become a leader that people can rally around.”
In steering the Singapore ship, Chua is focused on transforming how HP works better with the local ecosystem - customers, partners and the community - to accelerate digital transformation within the city-state. Central to such efforts includes prioritising skills and personal development to help the technology giant build on more than 50 years of in-market reputation.
“From a small manufacturing site in Redhill, we have expanded our footprint over the years to include multiple advanced manufacturing and R&D sites,” Chua added. “It’s been quite the journey.”
“Growing up, I always liked technology, so you can say that the plan to work in IT came quite naturally. One day over 20 years ago, HP came to me with the opportunity to join the company. It’s been a dream come true ever since.”