Career Paths, Advice

The Journey to Singtel - An 8-Year Journey in the Making - Lena Tan

Published 10 Nov 2020 by Sandra Au



Lena is anything but short on razor sharp vision and focus.

“Ever since I majored in telecommunications in my university days, I’ve set my sights on joining the biggest telco in Singapore. After 8 years of working in the telecommunications industry, I finally joined Singapore in 2008 as a Product Manager.”

Lena’s unshakable resolve is almost unbelievable. When asked what kept Singtel at the top of her list all these years, she details her experience working across the communications and payments industry, in GLCs, MNCs and SMEs.

“Singtel has a good organisation structure and flow of operations and processes. But most importantly, it grooms its talents and encourages its staff to grow in their abilities. Over my last 12 years, the diversity of my work has given me opportunities to try out areas from telco services to digital payments. It has enriched my portfolio and always given me something new and exciting to look forward to in Singtel,” Lena explains.

Now managing Rewards & Loyalty in the International Group, she recounts how the launch of Dash Rewards earlier this year was a particularly challenging one with remote working constraints. Comprising of an all-in-one mobile wallet, the project had a tight timeline of 6 months from development to launch. Lena and her team were on fire from the start to the finish line, eventually launching in August 2020 with a reward catalogue featuring Dash customers’ most popular and frequently patronised merchants. This means anything from Singtel services to the likes of supermarkets and convenience stores like Cold Storage and 7-Eleven, to retailers like Sephora and even lifestyle and entertainment partners like Steam and Razer.

Integral to any sort of success is the well-oiled team behind it, and Lena is especially appreciative of that. She speaks candidly about how she learnt the importance of communication and how that also entailed holding her thoughts back and listening more.

“Everyone needs space to speak up, even the quietest person in the team. By doing so, better ideas come along, and we achieve more as a team,” she shares.

In fact, creating the dream team means is all about alignment. During her stint with the Digital Payments team, she and her colleagues decided to keep fit and stay healthy together. Eschewing the usual lunch gathering, they set out to train for Singtel’s annual charity run with the Singapore Cancer Society, even coming together to train over the weekends.

“It was a fun time,” recalls Lena fondly, “we worked hard, played hard and became family.”

At the end of the day, Lena is immensely grateful for the friendships and connections made through Singtel, one of them being Chan Yim Leng, then-Vice President of Consumer Product, between 2010 to 2015. Despite being slightly more junior manager back then, Lena received immense support, encouragement and guidance from Yim Leng.

“We managed to push through many new and almost-impossible launches, which also eventually led to me embarking on Singtel’s new mobile financial services journey. Although Yim Leng has since retired, I am still grateful for the opportunities she has given which empowered me to innovate and strive to be better.”

Outside of work, Lena cites her dad as her source of inspiration. Despite having gotten married at a young age with only a Primary Six education, she spoke admiringly of how he never stopped keeping pace with technological developments in order to progress along with society.

“In such a tech-driven industry like telecommunications, it drives home the point of the importance of being agile and nimble to look forward to being at the forefront of change.”

“While his passing was premature and sudden, I continue to hold his teachings close to my heart: to be humble so people open up more to you, to be hungry so that you never become complacent, lastly to be content so as to lead a meaningful life.”

Explore a multitude of career opportunities and stories at Singtel Careers. Find out why Singtel is the Employer of Choice* and explore our opportunities here.

*Awarded by HR Fest Awards 2020, which recognises and celebrates outstanding achievements of the region’s top leaders, teams and organisations.

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