What do you do at Alphabet?
As a Conference Director, I lead a team of Conference Researchers who are responsible for the development of the company’s public sector, security and defence events in the region. What does that mean in practice? I’ll give you an idea… just yesterday, I had the weekly catch up with my team mates (done over Skype for those based in one of our other four offices), engaged in a company-wide lunch-time discussion on Cloud Computing with our Editor-at-Large Laurence Millar (who is also the former Government Chief Information Officer of New Zealand), spoke to the Australian and Sri Lankan governments who have requested us to run local forums for them, and did some research on a couple of new events we want to launch. On the side, I manage Alphabet’s IT infrastructure and coordinate our monthly social gatherings.
What did you do before Alphabet?
Fresh out of Singapore Management University, I wanted what the majority of my cohort wanted – a management associate position in a big, globally-known corporation. Before graduation, I was accepted into the Management Associate programme at Singapore Airlines, where I spent two years managing a team in the Human Resource department. As an undergraduate, I also interned at Credit Suisse and Maersk Sealand.
Why did you join Alphabet?
After making a few ‘safe’ career choices, I wanted an adventure. Somewhere where I could make things happen without waiting around while my proposal crawled through ten levels of approval. There were many dynamic organisations I could have chosen from, but what tipped the scale was when I read the Alphabet blog – arm wrestling competitions, drinking sessions, dress-up parties. The full works! It was clearly a fun, energetic and tight bunch of people. I just couldn’t wait to join the team!
Why have you stayed at Alphabet?
I still remember my first day. The entire company turned up for my welcome lunch. And we comfortably fitted a round table at an Indonesian restaurant. Today, we would probably need to corner off half the restaurant and set up a Skype video call with the other three offices, and India would be having breakfast! It warms my heart to know that I’ve contributed to the growth and survived the ups and downs (mostly ups!) Besides that, it fulfills my three ‘P’s – People (they’re a genuine and smart lot), Progression (endless opportunities in such a fast-growing organisation), and Pay!
What do you think the most distinctive feature of the company is?
We know government and governments know us. Top level civil servants remember our names, call us when they need to get in touch with their overseas counterparts, update us when they take on new exciting roles or projects, and send us Christmas and New Year cards! I cannot think of another regional media company that receives that much love and attention!
What have you learned during your Alphabet career? How have you grown as a professional?
I spent two years selling advertising space and conference sponsorship, and the next two building up our education IT content and community as a journalist. Today, I am managing a team of conference researchers. I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but I know Alphabet is committed to groom me according to my professional strengths and interests.
What do you like most about the office culture?
Have you been to a boutique or restaurant with unique pieces of furniture – each eccentric and from a different genre – yet working wonderfully together to create an amazing space? There is no need to conform at Alphabet. It’s great because people shine when they can be themselves!
What advice would you give someone considering applying for a position at Alphabet?
Be ready for an adventure. Roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, you will make a difference and there will be rewards.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen/done at Alphabet?
Dressing up as an Arabian princess and representing Alphabet for a inter-media company belly dancing competition. Of course we won! ;)
Describe the company in three words.
Eccentric. Energetic. Ambitious.