Learning how to plan your career is the most important thing no one taught you at school. Luckily, there are many Klookers who paved exciting career paths for themselves and whose stories can inspire you on your own journey.
We sat down with one of those Klookers, Mildred Ang, Global Partnerships and Affiliate Marketing Manager, based in Singapore. We ask Mildred about growing her Marketing career and finding the right building blocks to reach her goals.
What’s your career philosophy?
To me, career growth is like building a house from the ground up. When you build a house, you need different building blocks and you need to find the type of furniture that best suits your style. So if I were to put it into a simple formula, it would look like this:
- Decide what type of house you’re building. Do you want to be a specialist or a generalist? Do you want to be in operations or something more analytical, or creative? For me, it’s about being more of a generalist. I also know that I’m very much interested in the science of things. I do enjoy putting together an analysis using numbers more than thinking of the next creative post on Facebook.. Exploring this while accepting my strengths and weaknesses helped a lot.
- Choose the building blocks that contribute to your growth. In my own journey, titles and fame are secondary. I look at the types of technical expertise and soft skills that are critical in my career roadmap. Performance marketing helped to build my analytical skills which is fundamental for a digital marketer. Being the Marketing Manager for India improved my communication skills and critical thinking.
- Now for the finishing touches — which will be a lifelong process! Decorate your career with the right furniture, one at a time. This will be the right time to review what skills you have acquired thus far and map out the missing ones! For me, I’ll look to challenge myself on stakeholder management and critical thinking next.
How did your career at Klook start?
I interviewed with Klook for a Performance Marketing Manager role which was basically a search engine marketing (SEM) analyst role. At that point, I had no experience in SEM whatsoever. But I thought “okay, let's give this a try”. Worst case scenario they’ll just fire me, right? [laugh]
I was "promoted" as "Head of Renovation" in my second week at Klook. This photo was taken after successfully moving our Singapore office.
Three months into this role, I started doing paid social and display marketing. I soon picked up affiliate marketing as well. There were many days and nights when I didn’t know what I was doing, I was learning everything on the job. But what motivated me was seeing the hustle and drive of the Klook team. The combination of culture and people really convinced me that this is the place where I want to grow my career.
Adding finishing touches with some fairy lights in the loft
How did your career progress from there?
After about two years as a Performance Marketing Manager, I wanted to pick up the next building block for my career. There was an opportunity to lead the marketing team of Klook India.. I thought, “eh, why not?”so I made another big career leap.
The main learning from my role as a Marketing Manager, India & Middle East was adaptation. Everything was new. Juggling constant business travel to India with remote management from Singapore. Leading a team who share a different culture. Cracking my head to understand local users and drive user acquisition with offline and online marketing. Organizing my wedding on top of all that!
One of the offline events in Mumbai
I think it challenged me personally more than professionally: I learned that if you put your heart to it, you can adapt anywhere and everywhere. I got married right after I handed my India portfolio to a new hire. It was a crazy time but luckily, I did make it back to Singapore to attend my wedding!
Where were you professionally when the pandemic hit?
Just before the pandemic, I started a new role as Partnerships and Affiliate Marketing Manager, APAC. Marcus Yong, then VP Marketing, APAC, was looking to separate partnerships and affiliates as a standalone business unit. I like building things up, whether it’s projects, teams or new channels, so I knew this was yet another great opportunity for growth.
When they say Klook is a fast-paced environment 😂
That was January 2020 and we all know what happened next… The role pivoted from more of an execution role to an enabling role: building frameworks, workflows and processes for local teams, governing efficiency.
What are some things you’re still learning?
Stakeholder management! I’m still learning how to influence and partner with different stakeholders. Everyone has their own targets to reach and with the pandemic, being an agile company means things can move and change quickly!. But I do enjoy talking to people, especially people from different cultures. I think being a little bit more empathetic and genuinely interested in others' perspectives goes a long way. Before diving into updates, I like to start with a casual “How are you?” and spend some time building the relationship.
This year, my role as Partnerships and Affiliate Marketing Manager, APAC expanded to a global role.. Helping teams achieve their strategy is a different kind of hands-on than I'm used to. Although, I still get my fair share of execution in the EMEA and US region, where I get to experiment and build the channel up! Most importantly, I'm still learning the best ways to create impact for Klook as part of a central team.
Do you have any advice for other professionals looking to grow their careers?
I’ve actually been thinking about this quite a bit during the pandemic. I talked to different people, both at Klook and my connections on LinkedIn. If there are certain areas which I am particularly interested in, I just reach out to people on LinkedIn and they’re always so open to sharing! And there was a common theme in these conversations that you could boil down to a formula.
I recommend the old-school pen and paper for that. You want to grab a piece of paper and really pen down what you like doing and what you don’t enjoy — that could be both soft and hard skills. When I looked at my list, it was clear I get bored doing one thing forever so I’m clearly not a specialist.
A pre-pandemic memory from Performance Marketing Summit in Hong Kong
Then ask yourself where you want to be in the future (the soft and hard skills you enjoy should help visualise that). Once you have that, it’s straightforward from there. What skills do you already have to achieve that goal? What skills do you still need to grow? Those will be the blocks that I try to build with the correct roles. Map the road to getting the skills that you're missing.
And finally, I think it’s important to be open about receiving brutally honest feedback. Constructive feedback really helps in getting out of a tunnel vision, especially when you are stuck at home for so long like we all have been. So be open to feedback and use it as an action point for your career growth! The truth helps, more than it hurts!
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Posted by Klook Careers