Grey Group Malaysia’s Irene Wong: For me, taking charge feels natural Grey Malaysia’s Irene Wong: taking charge feels natural
March 6, 2019
CEO Irene Wong (pictured) has spent the past 15 years with the agency growing and grooming it. She joined the agency in 2004 as group account director, overseeing the Maybank business and quickly expanded her portfolio to manage clients including Resorts World Genting, KidZania, Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park and Pelaburan Hartanah.
Wong was promoted to her current role in 2013 and has 25 years of experience in the communications industry, having worked on both local and multinational brands including P&G, Perodua, Panasonic, Energizer, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson.
While some people shy away from taking charge, Wong thrives in leadership roles and jumps right into them. In this latest International Women’s Day series, she explains to A+M why she is a fearless female leader and how she engages staff members who do not take kindly to opinionated female bosses.
Wong: I’ve been a female “boss” from day one as far as my career is concerned. What’s a boss? Someone who leads. For me, taking charge feels natural. That’s how it’s been all my life, working my way up. So l would say it’s not been tough for me because l don’t have that chip on my shoulder at all. I deal with the ups and downs as l make decisions that some people might not agree with.
I am not afraid of being seen as ‘trying to exert my power’ as a boss, certainly not because l am female.
I believe if you are confident in what you do, what people think will slowly change to just judging you as a leader, regardless of sex or gender.
A+M: Staff members aren’t always the kindest to opinionated female leaders, how do you deal with this?
Wong: Leaders set the tone of any workplace. I encourage my team members to be opinionated, outspoken and honest. Once it becomes part of the culture, it becomes valued as something positive.