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Active loyalty, active faith

25 June 2013

Ms Ang (right) with Mr Viswa Sadasivan (left), moderator of the forum
Loyalty was the key theme discussed by Ms Janet Ang, Managing Director of IBM Singapore, at the U@live forum on 21 June 2013. The NUS Alumni Advisory Board member shared thought-provoking career insights with the audience by drawing from her long working experience with the American multinational technology and consulting corporation.

"It is not about blind loyalty and blind faith; rather it is about active loyalty and active faith," stressed Ms Ang. She stayed with IBM over the years as she identified with the values of the corporation - finding solutions, as well as being prepared to fall, stand-up and reinvent. Such values were strongly aligned with her own value system.

Upon graduating from the NUS Business School, Ms Ang’s maiden foray into the corporate world was at IBM. During her next 23 years there, she took on multiple roles including Vice President, Personal Systems Group, Greater China Group; Managing Director Singapore; Director, AP Sales Operations; and an international assignee to IBM Asia Pacific assuming the role of Director, Marketing, SMB, based in Tokyo.

In 2004, she moved to Lenovo, the Chinese company which acquired IBM’s PC business. On this change, Ms Ang said: "I thought I wanted to retire with IBM. But there is a season for everything." She saw the move as an opportunity to "play a bigger game", acting as "a bridge between the West and the East". From her Lenovo experience, she learnt to play a bigger game – for herself, for the organisation and beyond Singapore.

After a seven-year stint in Beijing, she returned to Singapore in 2011 as IBM Singapore’s Managing Director.

Rounding off the forum, members of the audience posed questions such as Lenovo’s path to becoming a global brand with the acquisition of IBM, survival strategies in a developing country like China, the importance of "guanxi" or connections, and juggling work and family life.