Vu Thi Bich Ngoc, country leader of SABIC Vietnam shared with VIR’s Nhat Mai her insights into managing the distribution of plastics and chemicals in Vietnam, all the while building SABIC's image as well as motivating and inspiring her team to narrow the gender gap effectively.
Can you share some of the challenges you had to face at work?
|Vu Thi Bich Ngoc, country leader at SABIC Vietnam |
On my professional journey, I was able to grow tremendously and took charge of my career thanks to incredibly nurturing senior leaders and a supportive work environment.
SABIC recognises that its people are the core of its success – with a diversity of experience, knowledge, and ideas in an inclusive atmosphere making us more creative, innovative, and effective. As a result, I have been able to balance family commitments while working with inspiring individuals with multitudes of experiences from diverse backgrounds, who provide me with ongoing learning opportunities.
The pandemic has undeniably led to more stress. Nevertheless, there were opportunities amidst these testing times for women to lead with courage and leverage their attributes of resilience, strength, and empathy to be effective leaders.
This is something I’ve tried to embody in my role at SABIC. Despite the harsh business climate in Vietnam, we have continued to drive strong business results with close customer engagement and collaboration, delivering real value to our community.
To help strike a balance between my personal life and work, I strive to maintain effective time management, adopt a solutions-orientated mindset, and ensure that I carve out time for myself.
Does SABIC have any policy or support for female employees to overcome such challenges?
SABIC provides opportunities for female employees to contribute to the shaping of policies and development for women in the company through SABIC Women’s Network, a global collective that empowers our female employees to be leaders.
Through the network, our female employees collectively discuss gender equality, best practices, and influence policies within the company. In Asia-Pacific, over 30 per cent of female employees hold leadership positions. Throughout my career, SABIC has supported growth and opportunities for our female employees by prioritising the creation of an inclusive environment, while looking after the physical, emotional, and social wellbeing of all staff.
As the leader of SABIC in Vietnam, what have you applied to create a more inclusive culture and nurturing environment for SABIC’s employees, especially the female ones?
It is imperative that gender stereotypes are addressed effectively, with the goal of creating a society where merit and competency can lead to a more meaningful career track for women, as well as an inclusive and diverse workplace. Each one of us has the power to challenge these gender stereotypes and unconscious bias, paving the way for a more progressive future.
As a leader at SABIC, I continuously seek to support each and every team member in all aspects to help them achieve their personal development goals within the organisation. Throughout my 12 years with SABIC, I have met countless extraordinary peers that have guided me, and I would like to extend that same mentorship and guidance to my colleagues. I strive to motivate and inspire my team, in the hopes of better addressing our customer needs, growing our business, and cultivating SABIC's employee brand ambassadors.
As a successful female leader in an international petrochemical company in Vietnam, can you share some tips for youngsters who are also seeking success in their careers?
As a leader, one needs to lead by example. Great leaders are team players as well – they are those that empower others to be the best version of themselves. They cultivate an inclusive and dynamic work environment that can foster personal development and provide opportunities for growth and innovation.
I fervently believe in building genuine connections with the team creates a mutual sense of trust and understanding. This can help facilitate open communication for honest conversations so that ideas and feedback can be constructively exchanged. Correspondingly, there should be a willingness to learn from your colleagues, while drawing inspiration from best practices across various industries.
Always believe in your employees, recognise their strengths and weaknesses, and give them the opportunity to learn and grow. Because only then you will help them to achieve their highest potential and push them towards greater things.
My advice to the younger generation is to learn as much as they can and build confidence in themselves. Do not be afraid to offer up your ideas and speak up for what you believe in – you might be surprised at how much you can accomplish if you believe and trust in yourself.
SABIC and SABIC Vietnam
Founded in 1976, SABIC is a global diversified chemicals company headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with operations in over 50 countries. SABIC manufactures and produces a variety of products which include chemicals, commodities, high-performance plastics, agri-nutrients, and metals.
SABIC first established an office in Vietnam in 2006; however, its long-standing presence in the market through distribution has been ongoing since 1996. Since then, it has grown its presence to include two offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, both of which are focused on business development and marketing for its petrochemicals and specialities products.
The brand also provides value-added and customised solutions to Vietnamese customers through unmatched product quality, a diverse and well-balanced product portfolio, and a comprehensive supply chain network to better serve them on their business growth journey across numerous sectors such as electronics, textiles, automotive, consumer goods, packaging, and agri-nutrients.
By Nhat Mai