3 questions for…Denise Tan about Diversity
Denise Tan has been working with BSH for 19 years – a time characterized by excitement, change and growth, she sums up. Denise is Head of Category Management (Cooking) and Gaggenau Region Asia Pacific. To find out more about her personal story and what “Diversity” means for her, we called and caught her in her Singapore office.
BSH: Denise, you’ve been working with BSH in Singapore for almost 20 years now. What can you tell us about this period?
Denise Tan: When I joined BSH there were less than 10 people in the Singapore office. Now we are getting close to 200! The time has been very exciting for me. I started as a product trainer for South East Asia and now I’m Head of Cooking & Gaggenau in Asia Pacific. Furthermore I was previously in a local sales function when it was highly unusual for a woman at that time. Nowadays women have much more different roles within the company. This is a great example for diversity and I am part of this!
BSH: Did you feel supported by BSH when taking over new roles?
Denise Tan: Sometimes I changed the job due to organizational changes but at other occasions my supervisors also asked me if I can imagine doing something different. They always encouraged me to learn new things when I was unfamiliar with the topic. Dealing with very technical aspects such as safety approbation of products for the first time was very challenging for me, because it was something completely new. So I socialized with the engineers and technicians. I accompanied a senior technician for several weeks for example and learned a lot observing him. When I joined the product marketing team years back, I was in a similar situation: I was less of a cooking enthusiast before but when I joined the department I discovered my passion for cooking and especially for baking & pastry!
Of course new situations may feel uncomfortable at the beginning but when you are open it might turn out to be very interesting. And I would say it pays off.
BSH: It must be very interesting to work in a city with so many different nationalities.
Denise Tan: Yes. We are a very cosmopolitan city and the office reflects this. There are colleagues from Singapore, India, Germany, Spain, Malaysia or the Philippines for example. My team is rather small, just 4 people, but we also have a colleague from Slovenia. I’ve always felt tremendously well-supported by both male and female colleagues of all levels. And I will do this with my team as well. Furthermore, when you have a diverse team you automatically have different opinions, talents and strengths which outbalance potential weaknesses. I believe that BSH sees these differences as an advantage. When you no longer think in terms of gender, age or nationality but what is best for the job, you reach a new level of thinking and understanding. It’s a privilege for me to be part of this!
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