Name: Sharon Loh
Company Name: Independent Purchasing Company Australasia
Designation: Senior Category Manager, Asia
Sharon is currently working for Independent Purchasing Company Australasia (IPCA) and her role includes strategic buying and delivering business solutions to help SUBWAY® Franchisees to be more profitable and competitive in the Asia region. Sharon has been with the company for 1.5 years and had previously worked in various industries such as luxury brand, beauty and F&B.
Tell us about what you do today and how you got to this position
I am responsible for the management of all non-food, and some key food categories such as dairy and seafood, across 9 markets in Asia.
It is never a boring day at in the office as my work gives me a great sense of achievement. There is no defined boundary in how I get my work done and I strongly believe that a curious mind, striving for improvement and a positive attitude, has been the best concoction in achieving what I have so far.
What was your biggest business challenge and how did you overcome it?
One of my biggest challenges would be the “inheritance” of a team of females who are older and more experienced than I was! I think I had to prove myself by working doubly hard and by delivering results. As people tend to make assumptions about people they are unfamiliar with, I think being genuine, open-minded and approachable helps to break the barrier down, and guess what? We have become great friends outside of work now!
Have you faced challenges as a woman in your industry?
In fact, being a woman brings far greater advantage to my work… I hope I am not stereotyping but typically, women tend to be patient and meticulous and I think these are important traits in the industry and work I am doing. My role requires a lot of influencing skills and patience, with both internal and external parties.
Tell us about balancing life and work?
I am a strong believer in having good work-life balance which to me works out to be a positive upward cycle. Having good quality time with family will improve my personal happiness index, which will therefore increase my productivity and efficiency. This driving force has always been at the back of my mind so that I am constantly reminded to be productive and efficient during my working hours so that I can spend more time with family after that.
What’s your best advice for women starting out on their career path?
Be hungry and curious! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and most importantly, pick yourself up if you fall and make sure you come back stronger than before. Learn from other’s mistake and pick the strengths of the people who inspire you most!