Bachelor of Commerce (2011), Master of Management (2014)
Sian is Vice President for Global Customer Relationship Management at iptiQ by Swiss Re in Hong Kong, a digital first, white-label provider of consumer-insurance products. As global portfolio lead, Sian supports Partnership Engagement by optimising sales processes and tools across Europe, the United States and the Asia-Pacific.
After graduating from CBE, Sian worked across public and private sectors in Australia, including roles with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Disability Insurance Agency and ANU, before moving to Hong Kong in 2017. She later held roles supporting digitisation of distribution channels by building ecosystem solutions for various primary insurers across the Asia-Pacific region, before taking up her current position with iptiQ. You can read more about Sian’s view about the future of digital insurance here.
22 FEBRUARY 2022
What are your top three tips on building a professional connection?
- Be authentic and interested in other people and their stories. For different personality types, this can be quite difficult, or really easy. Know yourself and recognise if you need to work on your basic interaction skills. As a natural introvert, this is something I have had to work on throughout my career. I took a number of specialised courses to understand different personality types and how they interact in a personal and professional space.
- Be open about what you know, and what you don't know, and actively reach out to learn. The reality is, people generally don't like admitting what they don't know, and don’t want to actively engage in topics where they do not have expertise or experience. Some of the most fruitful connections I have made professionally have been based on discussion or interactions where I am genuinely interested in learning from the other person. Learning comes from going beyond the edge of your own experience.
- As my mother taught me – "get-up, dress-up, and show-up". Your connections will grow along with the amount of effort you put into building your network. Sometimes this is easy and happens organically. Other times it really takes work to reach out and engage with people in the community you want to break into. Don't give-up if you don't make immediate connections, keep trying, keep presenting your best self and persevere – it will pay off over time.
To prepare for a career overseas, what should current students do now?
Be open to new opportunities as they present themselves. When I was studying at ANU, I did not foresee a future career in the InsurTech sector. Now I am part of one of the most interesting industries in the world, and at the forefront of digital transformation.
Engage with multinationals early in your career. This may be as simple as following them on social media or attending networking events in your local area. Meeting people and making connections can deliver unforeseen benefits in terms of knowledge and recommendations in the future.
Be prepared to be surprised, and be ready to adapt to change. Engaging with different cultures and immersing yourself in these through travel will prepare you to live and work in different cultural and business environments. Moving internationally and taking on a new role brings not just learnings about a new business, but more importantly, the culture, attitudes, and ways of working of that region or country. Therefore, no matter where you are, be open to different cultures and experiences. Start now, and don't be insular in your thinking.