Ivana Lee is Managing Director Asia, located in Singapore – sounds like a great title, but what does she actually do all day? We learned: Most times she’s in meetings and in contact with people all over the world and hunting the knowledge "gold nuggets".
Hi Ivana, thanks for your time! So first of all, please tell me what your title “Managing Director Asia” means?
It is a very broad role. Essentially, I am responsible for the performance of the business and colleagues in the Asia business unit. I’m involved across many functions like Marketing, Sales, Consulting and Customer Support. At the same time, I’m dealing with our headquarter in Germany and our partners, so this requires a constant shift of focus.
I enjoy this varied work and collaboration with people. It’s a lot of pressure and I have to understand what is happening across different Asian markets, how the team can react, and which areas need to be improved. There is never too little to do in a day, but I always remind myself that there is another day!
Please complete: On a typical working day I do...
...only need 15 seconds to move from my living to working space, since the pandemic. I wake up at around 7 am and then I really need a good breakfast and morning tea! Then, I check my messages and emails and start making a list of to-dos for the day.
I always ask myself: By the end of the day, which are the three most important things I’d like to get done? I also learned, that I cannot have to many things on my task list, because it gets overwhelming, especially on days where I have a lot of meetings. So, I choose only the three most important things and make sure I can cross them out.
Normally I often have 1:1 meetings in the morning with my team or customer/partner meetings. I’m a morning person, so I like to have all the important meetings till lunchtime.
After lunch, I go back to my computer and probably have more meetings, check my e-mails again, do some problem-solving. That’s more or less my Asia-work day and when Germany wakes up, we will get the right response. We always try to make sure we can respond very fast when customers have a question or issue. This is what makes working as part of a global team fun but also efficiently organising my time.
So on average, it’s not surprising if I have about seven up to eleven meetings a day.
What is the most important thing you learned since you joined imc?
There are so many things, it’s hard to have just one. Being honest has always been close to my heart, but even so at imc as we are working with customers, partners and colleagues.
We build long-term relationships because the work we do are not just transactional projects, but the relationship can last beyond the initial set-up and implementation. Therefore, an honest conversation is essential. And it’s also very important to set and communicate clear expectations.
Your personal highlight so far?
There are so many, hard to pick one! I think the highlight for me is learning about imc’s key value proposition and being able to articulate it well to customers, partners and my local team.
I always compare imc to a treasure trove or a gold mine. Sometimes, the information is not so easy to find. But then you start digging and dig and dig and you find even more and understand things even better. And then you have to bring the “gold nuggets” or the treasure of the Learning Management System to the surface level and present them in the right way. If you do so, you can really be part of the growth story.
This is something I also appreciate a lot here: From the very beginning, I was really involved in some of our biggest projects in the region and it’s great that we can dive deep.
What did you do before you joined imc?
I began my career in professional services and learning in Vancouver, Canada where I grew up. The business offered vendor-neutral technology certifications specialising in cloud computing, big data, service-oriented architecture etc.
I moved to Singapore in 2014 and here I worked for a global company that specialised in the area of leadership development, service excellence and sales effectiveness.
Coming to imc felt like I was going full circle to support organisations and individuals from a technology and digital perspective. My passion has always been on learning new things, so that fits well.
What is the strangest thing you have ever experienced or learned in your job?
Germans drink a lot of beer (laughing). No, what is really different at imc is that the hierarchy is very flat, you can reach to everyone without feeling strange.
In other companies you would never get an answer from an CEO or something like that. I think that is very cool, but I had to get used to it at the beginning.
Do you have a professional or personal role model?
I think you can learn something from everyone, and it depends on what you take out of this situation. Also, I believe that depending on the stage of your life or career, one can resonate with different people.
I also think that while one can take advice from many people, it’s important to be clear about your own values, purpose, and internal compass to guide you through the good and bad times.
What’s the best way for you to relax after a stressful working day?
I like to take a walk and do some exercises, that helps me to clear my mind. But sometimes I also enjoy doing nothing, just sit on the couch and watch Netflix.
And, I like to organise things, a bit geeky, but like re-organising apps on my phone, that is quite relaxing for me!
What was the last book you read?
I love reading, but I rarely finish one of them… I’m the kind of person who starts a book, then skips some part, read in between and then go to the very end.
In terms of genre, I like non-fictional – performance improvement and how-to books.
The last book I read and am close to finish is one in the field of performance improvement books, it was called Sales EQ, it’s about the relation between sales-specific emotional intelligence and how to close complex deals. I also currently reading a negotiation book called Never Split the Difference by Christopher Voss.
Thank you very much for your time Ivana, and keep on digging for knowledge-treasures!
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I have been working in the imc Marketing & Communication team since March 2019.
I am passionate about communication, creative content and social media. I live by the motto: “KISS – Keep it short and simple!”
Explaining complex content in simple terms and making e-learning accessible to everyone are challenges that make every day exciting.
In my time off, I like to read, play poker and travel a lot.
I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions: [email protected].