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Inspiring Business Women in APAC: Joon Heem Kham

Joon Heem Kham is the Chief Operating Officer, Singapore at Barclays and is responsible for overseeing the company's business operations.

Tell us about your journey with Barclays so far.

I trained as an accountant and worked in operations management in Singapore for many years before joining Barclays in 2012. During my first six years at Barclays, I held various Operations roles and my previous role was Regional Head of Operations for Asia. I was appointed Chief Operating Officer for Barclays in Singapore in September 2018. My journey with Barclays is a great example of internal mobility and our focus on helping colleagues develop their careers.

What one factor has helped you the most throughout your career?

It would have to be never saying “no” to opportunities.  If someone approaches you with a great opportunity to learn and do new things, as well as the ability to make a difference, be courageous and take it with a leap of faith.  You never know what you can achieve until you try.

How do you balance your work and personal life successfully?

By picking and choosing the battles to fight each day.  We take on many responsibilities wearing multiple hats – at home we might be mother, daughter, wife, and at work, employee, manager and leader, but we need our own personal time as well.  It is essential to prioritise and be super organised so that the most important things are taken care of first.  Having a good support system around me helps tremendously – good childcare, a supportive husband, an understanding manager, and a flexible work environment.

What’s your advice to leaders who want to create a more diverse and inclusive culture?

My advice to leaders is to address unconscious bias. At Barclays, we provide unconscious bias training that helps colleagues to become aware of, and mitigate bias. Initiatives like this help us to create a diverse and inclusive culture where colleagues can achieve their career aspirations whilst creating value for the firm. It also helps us in our recruitment process and in attracting and retaining diverse talent.

Tell us about any initiatives Barclays is involved with to support female inclusion.

Barclays has a number of talent management and leadership development initiatives that are designed to build a pipeline of female leaders and to help women across different levels to advance in their careers.

Our Barclays Global Women in Leadership Conference for female Managing Director and Director colleagues, and Women’s MD Forum for female Managing Directors, have been particularly well-received.

In 2019, Barclays’ Group CEO, Jes Staley, reinforced his commitment to gender diversity at Barclays, calling on all senior decision-making committees to introduce rotating ex officio positions that reflect diversity and, in particular, support female representation. There has been an ex officio role on the Group Executive Committee since November 2016.

Barclays’ gender network, Win, is dedicated to increasing representation of women at all levels in the organisation, bringing both men and women together to make a change and promoting Barclays externally as an employer of choice.

Posted almost 5 years ago
About the author:
James Murueta

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