Mapping my career journey

April 24, 2024
 · 
5 min read

Hang on, it's a pretty long ride 🚴‍♀️!

Graphic & Brand & Ad & Marketing & Web Designer @ various
2010 - 2014

I won third place in a web design competition when I was 12, and it has sealed my fate ever since.

Just kidding.

I started off my career with the likes of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, taking on all the grunt work across advertising and design agencies, boutique houses, and freelance clients.

Flash was still a thing that so many clients want, and I would painstakingly change every frame to make sure perfection was delivered.

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UX Designer → Senior Designer → UX Manager @ Singtel
2014 - 2018

I vividly remember saying this to a friend: I want to hold on to why I make things, and I don't want to simply make things beautiful. Deep down, I also knew that there was going to be a ceiling to my UI skills - I can see in systems better than I can visual concepts, and that was a bugbear at this early point in my career where I don't want to stall before I even got started.

I got into user experience design ahead of the bootcamp curve, when it was still called interaction design. My official position name for a few months was information architect, and my main tool I wielded was Axure, though my very first wireframes were done on PowerPoint (gasp).

It was here I honed my craft skills, going deeper into mastering tools and techniques and advancing quickly (4 promotions in 3 years!), and doing and leading some really awesome stuff with the utility apps, innovation lab initiatives, and Singtel's digital transformation. 

An interlude:

Chief Design Officer; Co-Founder  @ GraphPaper
2014 - 2015

Between the promotions at Singtel, I had a really awesome time building out a startup.

It was extremely fun, but also extremely exhausting. I burned my candle from both ends, working a 6pm-2am almost daily as we struggled with product market fit, traction, and usability.

I was brought on to handle brand and product design direction and execution, and the learning curve was as steep as a black diamond run. It was a good run when I decided to focus my energy on my full-time job, and the rest of the team went on to be successful in other start-up and Web3 spaces.

Alright, back at it at Singtel:

The Photoshop to Sketch to early rumblings of a design system was felt here, too.

Besides the work, I was also very involved in championing for a great team culture, taking on +1 activities to foster our connections, and I learned a lot about DesignOps here before it was called that name.

Mostly, I learned about what makes a great team, and how to be a great manager after having both on the ends of the spectrum.

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Consultant @ Deloitte Digital
2018 - 2020

I was yearning to take on more breadth in my work and craft, and I found that (and more) at Deloitte Digital. Jumping from in-house to a consultancy was a 10x learner's course that can't be found in a training video, and I gained valuable skills in agility, client management, sales.

I even picked up project management and PMO skills on a client engagement, which has come in handy in my future work as I span across not just the design capability, but across product and project management too.

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Staff Designer → Experience Lead @ Publicis Sapient
2020 - present

I've been leading teams on both client engagements and pitches, across functions, industries, geographies and timezones. I've done multiple 0→1 products, migrated whole websites and systems onto new platforms, and established DesignOps and ResearchOps to systematize our tools and processes, and better anticipate for the challenge of the unknowns. 

Along the way, I fell into heading our CSR team, and organizing initiatives for ASEAN. One of those times we raised $5k (11% above target) for 2 non-profits benefitting underserved youths and elderly in South East Asia, and we drove research thought pieces about the underserved and unserved banking segments in low-income countries in the region, so that's pretty cool.

We grew the team and I had to learn how to scale my impact and extend my connections, building out our frameworks, systems, and processes to better fit the work we were delivering.

It got shrunk to half its size during a restructuring, and I had to learn how to handle a whole lot of grief and anger from the team (while on a client engagement), and it made me a better and more resilient person and leader because of it.

The Next Generation Leadership Team came beckoning, where a group of 30 handpicked individuals who had demonstrated impact and potential was selected for this leadership development program based on applied learning.

This has given me opportunities to work with the global leadership team as we solve big and complex issues, and I got to peek behind the curtains after so much time in front of clients but not so much internally.

I dove head-first into the other realms of business like management, strategy, operations and finance, and I found out first hand that design really is a superpower.

And now?

I'm hungry. I'm ready. I'm eager to find out my skills can make an even bigger impact in our adjacent capabilities, and see how I can grow beyond our vertical by lifting everyone up to where design-first is a true reflection of the culture, and not a buzzword.

I want to do more writing, and editing my thoughts to be succinct (I'm sure you've noticed I ramble!). I want to do more speaking, which has always been something I'm insecure about, but have always come out of engagements wanting to do more. Most of all, I want to continue working with awesome people doing awesome stuff.

Hit me up if you're in. I'm always excited to chat with like-minded people.