A look back at Reinventing Careers and Skills for a COVID-19 World – September 2020

LSF Global was proud to present our first edition of Reinventing Careers and Skills for a COVID-19 World on September 3, 2020, kindly sponsored by Spaces Sun House. The events were part of our efforts to bring members of the struggling business community to hear from a group of distinguished professionals in the Asia Pacific give their take on what people need to do to deal with theirs careers in such a time like 2020. We were very lucky to be able to accommodate our event in person and our speakers were able to come down in person to our office in Central, Hong Kong to broadcast with viewers tuning in from across the globe.

The event looked at the broad picture and some of the biggest talked about topics in the time of COVID-19.

Kicking off the event was Stefanie Ellender, former HR Director Asia Pacific, Hyatt Hotels give her take on her experience of Redundancy. Being made redundant earlier in the year Stefanie was left with a huge journey to tackle not only dealing with the emotions and the anxiety of the future. Having only moved to Hong Kong with Hyatt with this new opportunity and advancement of her career, it was an embarrassing process to open up to friends and family, but with the world going through this crisis, Stefanie explained that it should be of no embarrassment at all. After overcoming the embarrassment it was like getting over the limbo stage and from there she was able to reflect on where she wanted to go with her career in the future. Through the support of her family and articulating her thoughts in a journal, Stefanie was able to make the realization that she no longer wanted to go back into a corporate role and wanted the freedom to make her own choices. In the last several months, Stefanie has set up her own HR consultancy working with SMEs to set up their HR departments.

Next up we invited to the stage Joel Durbridge, Head of Strategy, Standard Chartered, for many people like Stefanie whose industries have been greatly affected a change of industry may be on the cards. The beginning of his career saw him serve in the British Military with counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East. Joel found his initial venture into the corporate world a challenging with many managers questioning his ability without holding the academic qualifications. However, his take on it was that it was critical to let employers see him as a People Leader and focus on Skill Set rather than the background. With that Joel was able to excel in his Corporate Career working in HSBC, a start-up, and now Standard Chartered Bank.

Now, it’s important to understand the situation from all perspectives, and next, we invited Sommer Nisbet from Robert Walters who has had over 20 year’s experience in recruitment experience. Sommer discussed some of the key issues that people are facing with redundancies, salary reductions, and reduced team sizes, and one of the answers to tackling these is ones “desirability” Sommer brought up the topic of the “T” and how we need to look at ourselves in the same way. We should be able to have that core expertise to the top but then we should also be able to contribute more at the top and branch out with additional skills. Finally, Sommer talked about applying for roles in Hong Kong and your noticeability on public networks such as Linkedin such as coming up in searches. It’s all about being active on Linkedin, doing things such as sharing posts that are relevant to your industry which is going to get you noticed by potential employers and recruiters.

Before we moved on to the final panel discussion we heard from Atul Babu, SVP, and Head, PCCW Solutions speak about Future Skillsets in Technology. Atul joined us from Singapore speaking about where technology is going to take us and the importance of embracing and finding a way to do things more efficiently with technology so we can automate the existing roles of today. To future proof careers people are going to either need to upskill, reskill, or cross-skill in almost every industry.  For example, even though hospitality isn’t set to going back to the state of before, industries need to be technologically ready to accommodate new ways of consumption such as delivery and e-commerce. Questions were asked by the audience for those who have no current experience in tech; Atul’s thoughts were grounded on certification as a valid form, although his opinions lie on learning something adjacent to one’s skill base.

Finally, before we closed we had one last panel discussion inviting, Narayanan NS, Deloitte, Sid Sibal, Hudson Global Resources, and Alex Royall, ADR Search who were lead by our own Aalok Gupta to discuss Personal Branding and implications of future employment. Starting with Alex, who specializes in Insurance recruitment drilled down into what people’s core skills are even if they’re not working insurance. Sid Sibal from Hudson looked at how recruiters look to insensitive people who give a referral rather than promoting via a job board which comes at a much greater cost.  Narayanan, built upon the importance of the technology and how it is gaining momentum in Hong Kong has been a financial and insurance hub for so long. The discussion went on to praise the use of Linkedin in Personal Branding as a  tool that can be used in so many ways; to analyze what companies are talking about or to look at key contacts that may be able to assist you. Finally, to close Alex made a statement that off time during the pandemic should be used wisely to reskill and reinvent yourself and be proactive with your network.

Thank you to all those who tuned in on the day, our wonderful MC Shalina Mulchandani, and Spaces for sponsoring. We’ll be back with another event soon and a follow up to Reinventing Careers and Skills for a COVID-19 World.

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Life Skills foundation (LSF) was founded by a group of Passionate Professionals in 2013. Our founders have a solid track record of holding Senior Management Positions with Global firms and also establishing successful Entrepreneurship ventures. Functionally, their experience & expertise revolves around Business, Technology & Human Resources.

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