‘Give the children a place in our hearts’
You can see the big role of digitalization. We’ll continue to introduce new elements at our retail stores.” Anna Yip, chief executive officer of SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Ltd
Being among the elite group of women holding key leadership roles in Hong Kong business life, Anna Yip, chief executive officer of SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Ltd — one of the city’s leading mobile service providers — naturally, is very much concerned about how they fare at the top after having broken through the glass ceiling.
Not the least is the overall welfare of women.
Adding to her list of “firsts” at SmarTone, on top of the robotics strategy to woo customers, Yip plans to have special rooms set up at the company’s offices to help women nurture their children.
Wo m e n ’s s u c c e s s i n their careers, she believes, wouldn’t be possibly complete without them devoting their undivided attention to the family and their children.
“Especially for women, you need to think about your kids,” she advises.
Yip admits she has never been someone who plans well ahead and for the long term. Before landing herself in the telecoms business, she had wanted to be in the academia, having taken out a doctorate in management studies at the University of Oxford.
“To be frank, I merely do things according to what my heart tells me to do.”
Yip joined global management consultancy McKinsey and Company in 2004 and was with the group for eight years. By the time she left, she was a partner with McKinsey and Company in Greater China where she led the Asia Payments practice and co-led the Asia Financial Institutional Group.
She recalls having really gone through the mill, particularly on the heels of the dotcom bubble burst in March 2000 that saw global stocks and enterprises sinking into oblivion and threatening to plunge the world into full-fledged recession.
But, she told herself: “I have to swim or sink.”
He r n e x t s t o p w a s at United Overseas Bank in Singapore in 2012 where she was appointed managing director for corporate planning and international strategy and, prior to joining SmarTone, she was head of Hong Kong and Macao, MasterCard Asia Pacific operations.
For those aspiring for the top, Yip says “climbing the mountain in one day” is a pipe dream. “You can’t rush things. It’s fine to stop and take a rest. Learn as much as you can and think of ways to do it better. It doesn’t matter which level you’re at. Someone will notice you.”
Anna Yip, CEO of SmarTone Telecommunications, hopes that, with her wealth of experience in corporate governance, she can build on great foundations for the company.