Newly onboard chief marketing officer at Hong Kong CSL, Christina Teo is drawing on her wealth of experience to help colleagues in her department succeed in the competitive world of marketing.
Ms Teo has been in sales and marketing for more than 20 years, with more than half of this time spent in the fast-evolving IT field. She has worked at senior management levels in world-renowned companies in several countries, including stints with Acer in Europe, and IBM and Yahoo in Singapore.
Equipped with impressive commercial skills, a passion and dedication, Ms Teo discloses her secret to success has always been hard work. She says, "A job in marketing is tough and the pace is always fast, though it has been phenomenal in recent times."
This is particularly true in the IT industry where new technologies such as the internet and mobile phones are developed by the minute. "Customers today have so much choice and therefore the challenges marketers face are fierce," Ms Teo emphasises. "To gain a foothold in the field, self-motivation is key."
For people who have this drive, Ms Teo says the opportunities are plentiful. "Two decades ago the IT industry was booming, creating opportunities everywhere. Now the market has matured and young people in Hong Kong today must work harder to stand out. Marketing is largely result-oriented so for those who can produce, anything is possible."
Facilitating people to generate results is part of Ms Teo's responsibility. "Throughout my career, I have been privileged enough to work with people who were willing to furnish me with opportunities and help me polish my skills. Sometimes this was in the form of classroom training but more often it came from working closely with experienced supervisors. This allowed me to develop my career quickly and I'm looking to passing on my knowledge and skills to the younger generations while learning more for myself," she says.
"Getting everyone on the same page is one of the biggest challenges"
Hong Kong CSL is currently in the midst of a cultural change and it starts from the very top. Ms Teo says, "Our CEO joined the company eight months ago and I came onboard not long after that. Under the CEO's guidance we are aiming to take CSL to a new level. Part of my role is to ensure members of my department share the same vision, and that they are committed to achieving the same goals."
With 90 people under Ms Teo's direct supervision, this is no simple task. "Getting everyone on the same page is one of the biggest challenges any manager faces. The first and most important step is to make sure that everybody thoroughly understand the company's vision, missions and values," Ms Teo explains.
The changes at Hong Kong CSL include expansion plans with the company looking to hire more staff across the board, including in the marketing department. "We are looking for high quality people who can offer something to the company. This is not limited to people with previous marketing experience or a telecommunications background. We recognise that talents in other industries have expertise to offer and we can benefit from this," Ms Teo says.
Newcomers must possess a keen career focus, a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. "Marketing and sales professionals must appreciate that the first thing they need to know is how to sell their products and services in the most effective manner," she adds.
For those who believe they have what it takes to work in marketing, Ms Teo offers some final words of advice: "It's a highly satisfying industry and the rewards can be outstanding. If you have vision, a dream and the drive to make this happen, you are on the road to success."