Our Market Head for Greater China and North Asia Teresa Lee (left) says that her colleague and mentee Catherine Chow (right) has been instrumental in encouraging her to open up to innovative ideas.
Catherine Chow, who previously worked at the Bank of Singapore’s Hong Kong Branch for three years, belongs to the pioneer batch of Associates in the Lead Programme, a talent incubation programme that aims to build a talent pool of private bankers to capture the growing wealth in the Greater China Region.
In her rotation to the front office, she became part of the China 1 Team in Greater China & North Asia (GCNA).
In this role, she works closely with experienced private bankers and provides assistance and administrative support; this includes quoting, executing trades as well as following up on account and credit reviews.
Catherine reports to her Team Leader, who is under our Market Head Teresa Lee’s China 1 Team.
Teresa and Catherine had a heartfelt conversation after Teresa found out that Catherine was considering furthering her career elsewhere.
Teresa helped Catherine to identify her strengths and interests, and immediately thought that the GCNA Lead programme would be suitable for her.
With the encouragement from Teresa, Catherine decided to participate in the GCNA Lead Programme instead of leaving Bank of Singapore.
What has Catherine learnt during her journey?
“I have been assisting a workgroup in establishing the brand name with my batchmates for a new business segmentwhich targets Millennials and emerging young entrepreneurs. I’m in my 20s and am eager to contribute my ideas.
I am really excited that I’m completing my job rotations with Front Office, Compliance, Products Management Group and Risk. The experience of rotating to different teams equipped me with soft, hard and technical skills, all of which helped me to build a solid foundation.
I am looking forward to starting my attachment as a Relationship Manager and my mentor, Teresa, has really helped me to put things into perspective.
My previous perception of a leader has always been one who is authoritative, gives limited autonomy and is less receptive to new ideas. However, Teresa, Market Head of GCNA and my mentor, changed my mindset 180°.
Teresa is keen on listening to me – not just hear what I say, but truly listen. As a result, I have learnt that there is great value in the intersection between new ideas and perennial truths.
Teresa made me more confident by affirming my ideas and recognising that my thinking can add value. This made me more willing to open up."
What does Teresa, her mentor and Market Head, think?
“It’s been a real joy and pleasure working with Catherine. Not only has it been a delight, but also a learning experience for me.
Our mentor-mentee relationship is indeed mutually beneficial. Younger team members can always pass new ideas and skills to more experienced team members and management, while the more senior generation act as role models and career coaches.
Interestingly, Catherine is instrumental in encouraging me to open up to innovative ideas. There were two things I learnt during this mentorship: One, learning new ways to communicate with a younger target audience and two, understanding what makes them tick.
This has made me a better leader – hopefully.
Catherine reminds me of the days when I was young and ambitious. My needs back then and youths’ needs nowadays have not really changed, at its core. We all need affirmation. We all need to be listened to and not just heard.
Yes, years of experience do count but learning is a life-long process. As a leader, I learnt both by listening to Catherine and being listened to by her, which allow us to generate a deeper understanding and a sense of connection.
I also remind myself that it’s not all about work.
It’s nice when we can speak about non-work matters, such as sharing our personal goals and hobbies, how to embrace change by adopting a growth mindset, and how to adapt to the new normal during COVID-19.
My perspective on how the young people think has expanded because of my relationship with youths like Catherine."
"I’d encourage leaders to adopt an open-minded attitude when working with younger colleagues. So yes, listening to the young people, understanding them and being able to apply the ideas they share are key. They have some great ideas, and they are going to be the future leaders.
It’s important to understand that everyone is a person with inherent value. As a leader, I must bring out the best of everyone under my wing. Catherine is a good example as I’ve seen how she has grown. Now, I adopt the same attitude when I lead my other team members.
Let’s throw away our biases. Young people should not write off senior folks and the seniors should not write off the young ones.
Together, we are better. Some common misperceptions I have heard are that the young people are self-centred and that seniors are rather subjective and are resistant to change. Let’s discard these stereotypes.
At the end of the day, my suggestion to the juniors in intergenerational interactions is to be confident! Share your views – even if they are different – and persuade the seniors to accept them with courage. It’ll be a win-win situation. What’s more, it’s fun – learning, no matter from whom, always is.”
About our mentoring programmes
Since 2017, more than 130 mentors across the OCBC Group, including Bank of Singapore which is its private banking subsidiary, have volunteered in mentoring programmes championed by Group Human Resources.
Through these organic experiences, our seniors are reaping an unexpected benefit by being reverse mentored by those they are mentoring.
MentorMe was launched in 2018 aiming at cultivating skills in both the mentee and the mentor.
Mentees will develop skills in speaking up and networking while mentors will cultivate skills in mentoring, building trust and active listening. As part of our efforts to groom and retain women talent, all mentees are women.
The mentors, however, can be either men or women. Since 2018, 80 mentors and 83 mentees have participated in the programme.Disclaimer applicable to recommendation
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