Witad Awards 2023: Support professional of the year (end-user)—Sheryl Leong, Standard Chartered Bank

Sheryl Leong, cloud site reliability testing service delivery manager at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore, wins the support professional of the year (end-user) category in this year’s Woman in Technology and Data Awards. According to Leong, change management is a critical aspect of her role at the bank, ensuring that cloud services are seamlessly delivered to her colleagues and the bank’s clients. Changes in the cloud are constantly happening, she says, as the firm delivers new features and enhancements to its cloud platform.

“It’s extremely important that we stay ahead by embracing and executing the changes quickly, while maintaining sufficient oversight and controls to manage the risks introduced by those changes,” she says. “Establishing the Cloud Change Management protocol was the first step in providing oversight on all changes to the bank’s cloud platform, which includes setting up the Cloud Change Advisory Board (CAB) and introducing a set of governance protocols and authority around the change controls and decisions.

The introduction of the CAB meetings has increased visibility and awareness on all the proposed changes to the bank’s cloud environment, according to Leong. Consequently, team members are well prepared with respect to introducing changes to the environment and she has seen increased collaboration across the various cloud teams when planning and executing those changes.

The ability to collaborate with colleagues and “sell” ideas to them that invariably require change is an important skill that technologists and leaders in general need to master in order to get buy-in from team members and ensure that every project has the best chance of success. It’s an aspect of her role that Leone is all too aware of and one that she focuses on whenever changes are in the offing. “To succeed, I have learned that you must collaborate effectively and embed a culture of innovation in everything you do,” she says. “An agile mindset helps teams work well together, adapt effectively to change, achieve project milestones, and eliminate obstacles that might otherwise prevent them from working efficiently together.”

Before Leong starts on any new activity, she typically asks herself a series of questions to understand the rationale and benefits it is intended to bring to the bank, its clients, and her colleagues. “Communication is the key that promotes active collaboration,” she says. “Involving teams and stakeholders in decision-making further helps the team progress toward a clear and common goal. Buy-in then comes naturally.”       

Leong has benefited from mentors during the course of her career, who she says have helped her to become a better version of herself. “One common trait is that they never stopped learning and exploring,” she says. “I’ve seen my mentor move countries and roles to step into new unknown territories, and exhibit so much excitement and passion for the opportunity to learn. The sharing from my mentors has encouraged me to be brave, keep an open mind, and feed the desire to explore, learn and grow.”

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