Women in Data & Technology: Shi Kit Ong, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Shi Kit Ong shares her career-defining moments, advice she would give to other females and what she attributes her success to.
What do you attribute your success to?
Having the opportunity to join an APAC regional team in my second job exposed me early on in my career, to the commercial environment and working alongside senior management and functional leaders. I was fortunate, in that role, I supported these leads with commercial reporting and analysis and saw first hand the influence of data in turning ideas into tangible decisions that drove business objectives. This role was my platform in cementing a career in insights and analytics. Working with supportive leadership, gave me the confidence to be able to form effective relationships with them and demonstrate my capabilities across the key deliverables of my role and establish trust, which is vital for maintaining relationships.
I would also rate as a contributor to my success. Recognising the importance of listening to others and incorporating alternate points of view in my approach to business issues and taking learnings from mistakes to facilitate better outcomes the next time.
Career defining moments?
Taking on a role in a marketing transformation pilot team in retail banking, to test the effectiveness of a cross-functional operating model, enabled me to step in as an analytical specialist working alongside marketing campaign, product specialists and media agency to transform the way customer campaigns could be delivered to the market. This team had a high profile across the Group Marketing function and enabled me to demonstrate my strengths in customer insights and customer journeys, and making recommendations to develop the team's strategic campaign roadmap. The synergies in this team drew on the personal attributes of each member which came across cohesively. This environment was conducive to allowing me to demonstrate my capabilities and influence the execution to market of the team's work. It validated for me personally, how I had drawn on my experience and competencies that were distinct from my team members to contribute to overarching business goals.
Advice to other females?
- Have the courage to ask for opportunities that will steer one on a path that aligns with their career aspirations. Talk about these aspirations with someone in your place of work, whose guidance you have confidence in, and may have the ability to endorse and assist in creating opportunities for you.
- Consider the boundaries that you are comfortable operating within, define what those boundaries are and the signals that inform you when those boundaries are crossed, use this framework to recognise whether your current role/team/organisational environment are meeting your values and what you seek in being part of an organisation.
- Positively consider any openings to participate in work or initiatives outside of your role that are presented to you. Every opportunity is an asset to one’s learnings, knowledge and experience. This experience can always be drawn upon at a later point in one’s career if not immediately.
What attracted you to your current organisation?
In considering a move to Commonwealth Bank, the enticement was related to the known presence of the CBA brand and their service offerings across the community. In terms of the role (marketing campaigns and data analytics), it was the opportunity to expand my experience in data analytics and learn new methodologies in developing marketing campaigns/customer communications end to end. Other facets, like operating cross-functionally in Agile, experience in using real-time customer decisions technology and exposure to multi cross-functional business areas were other offerings that I considered.
If you started your career again now, what would you do differently?
- Understand the importance of personal development and being more reflective of personal attributes that I could have focused on developing earlier on. Retrospectively, this may have enabled me to conduct myself differently in the commercial environment. For example, exhibiting the confidence to be more vocal in expressing my ideas, viewpoints and capabilities to more experienced business colleagues.
- Learn to proactively ask for feedback and the art of constructive challenge.
What is the one big decision in your career that you would change if you could do it again?
In the past when I had been approached by a recruiter for other employment opportunities, to have possibly taken time to have a conversation with them to understand the role and what attributes of mine were deemed relevant. Even, if I had not been considering a role change, it may have provided me with more visibility of similar roles and sparked ideas for further self- development, as well as extended my career network.