Siew Ting Foo’s journey spans over 25 years, encompassing leadership roles in multinational companies such as Unilever, Mars Incorporated, Diageo, Fonterra, and HP Inc. In a conversation with Collective for Equality, the Global Chief Brand Officer and Head of Insights for HP Inc., delves into her extensive experience and insights regarding gender equality and diversity in the corporate world.

She emphasizes the significance of purpose-driven businesses that impact lives, maintain integrity, and adapt to change. Siew Ting’s expertise lies in brand building, business transformation, and fostering high-performing teams through a culture of agility and inclusion.

Siew Ting highlights her approach as a “servant leader,” blending art and science to drive innovation throughout the customer journey. She affirms, “I encourage diversity and inclusion, leading as a ‘servant leader’ by creating a community of collaborators.” As a 5-time winner of the Most Influential and Purposeful CMO Asia Pacific, Siew Ting Foo shares her perspectives on leadership, workplace practices, and the importance of gender diversity.

Siew Ting’s insights provide a roadmap for organizations aiming to create a workplace that thrives on diversity, inclusion, and equality. As she aptly puts it, “A real commitment to gender diversity requires action beyond the metrics – a genuine ‘walk the talk’ approach.”

Addressing gender biases, Siew Ting offers valuable advice to young girls aspiring to overcome obstacles: “Don’t be afraid to be the best version of yourselves. Own your voice and radiate your strengths. Last, but not the least, don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Siew Ting emphasizes the power of authenticity and balance, asserting that female leaders contribute a unique blend of emotional and intellectual intelligence.

According to Siew Ting some of the innovative workplace practices include adoption of paternity leave for fathers to promote equality, promotion of female executives during maternity leave and policies encouraging female executives to travel with young children. These practices aim to create a supportive environment for both genders, fostering equity and inclusivity, she said.

Siew Ting suggests that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) should be integral to corporate strategy, with measurable KPIs in investor reports. She believes that DEI not only yields real business results but also enhances corporate and employer brands.

Acknowledging persistent biases, Siew Ting suggests practical steps for change:

  • Make female diversity count in leadership metrics.
  • Institutionalize gender bias training for males.
  • Establish mentorship programs with male mentors.
  • Foster in-house networks for female support.
  • Encourage female leaders to be role models for the next generation.

For Siew Ting, a company’s commitment goes beyond metrics and KPIs. It involves truly ‘walking the talk’ by implementing strategies and practices that promote gender equality throughout the organization.

Siew Ting stresses the importance of men actively participating as mentors, sponsors, and champions of females. She cites initiatives like the Singapore LEAN-IN movement, where corporate males mentor young female executives, as a positive step toward greater equality.

Recognizing the challenges that corporate leaders face in bringing about change, Siew Ting underscores the need for robust HR and corporate systems that support intentional DEI strategies. This ensures that gender equality is not merely a theoretical concept but a tangible reality in talent management, recruitment, and succession planning.