Our IHRP-MPs are premier HR leaders who are recognised and well-regarded by the HR community for their active contributions to the HR industry. They come from diverse backgrounds, each with their own unique stories in their personal and professional lives which could serve as learning and inspiration for the certified community. In our continued engagement with the IHRP-MPs, IHRP organised the IHRP-MP Coffee Chat with Carmen Wee on 30 March 2022.
Attended by over 100 professionals, our first Coffee Chat this year was an opportunity to catch up with Ms. Carmen Wee, Author of “From the Kampung To the Boardroom: My Leadership Journey” and Board Member at Home Team Science & Technology Agency (HTX). Ms. Karina Kuok, (Head of IHRP Professional Practices & Community) started the conversation by asking Ms. Wee how her career path in HR even begin despite graduating from NUS with a Degree in Social Work.
Calling herself an ‘accidental HR’, Ms. Wee shared about her first job at URA and other career anecdotes. Among them, she shared her experiences on the followings:
- Job Redundancy – Going through five recessions in her lifetime, job severance & retrenchment affected Ms. Wee as they did for many others. It was a rude awakening but also taught her that one had to be ready at all times.
- Toxic Bosses – Ms. Wee had to endure a micromanaging boss for 3.5 years but things changed when she received the valuable advice to ‘Focus on her customers’. This allowed her to switch her mindset, adapt and make the best out of her situation.
- Business role – At one point in time, Ms. Wee was given an opportunity to take on a business role on top of her HR duties as a Key Account Director. To fulfil the quota assigned to her, she had to quickly adapt and shift her mindset. When the project ended 1.5 years later, she started viewing the business from a new perspective and had no regrets accepting that role out of HR.
In the latter half of the session, Ms. Wee also weighed in on topics pertinent to the HR profession such as Managing Wellness and Learning and Development, Self-Mastery, and Attributes of a great HR Leader.
When asked by an audience member on how to manage the worry and fear of taking up a business role outside of HR, Ms. Wee encouraged everyone to hit the pause button on worrying and instead proceed to take on the challenge. According to her, “Because sometimes it opens up a whole world of possibilities we never quite thought about!”.
Towards the end of the session, Ms. Wee was asked to give her advice to budding HR professionals. She mentioned that HR professionals should expand beyond HR and also delve into other functions. “Step out of HR, do business projects, etc., anything but HR. It will enhance your HR career exponentially.” Her last advice was for the audience to think big, have bigger aspirations and not to be afraid. An apt advice to end the session.
If you had missed the session and would like to view the recording, please click here: https://youtu.be/Rf9b4VvNO10
If you would like to get a copy of Ms. Wee’s book, From the Kampung To the Boardroom: My Leadership Journey, please click here: https://carmen-wee.myshopify.com/. Proceeds from the book will be donated to causes helping those with special needs.
We like to express our gratitude to Ms. Carmen Wee for her insightful sharing and an inspiring session. Watch this space for more learning events and knowledge sharing towards your continuous professional development!