Tran Thi Tuyet Nhung is the Human Resources Director, Vietnam and Asia Area Frontiers Markets at AstraZeneca. Possessing over 18 years of diverse working experiences in multinational companies as an HR professional, she inspires others with her authentic leadership, growth mindset, resilience and positive energy. Nhung is always passionate about developing talents and helping people to contribute to the growth of an organisation.
What one factor has helped you the most throughout your career?
My favourite motto is: “Nothing is Impossible”. It silently guides and inspires me to see challenges as opportunities, to make a difference, to add values, and to propel my career forward no matter where I am. It also helped me understand that I don't need any permission to decide who I am, where I want to go, and how I should work and live life to the fullest. It is truly a lifelong journey to enrich my knowledge and experience, to learn unlearn and relearn, and to grow, not only from successes but also from failures as well as building a support system. At the end of the day, what matters to me is that I'm constantly trying to become a better version of myself by having the courage to take smart risks, think big and believe that all missions are possible.
Do you have a mentor/role model in your career? What’s the value of having one?
One of my most precious assets in life is my diverse group of mentors, who would always stand by me, both professionally and personally. They are my managers, peers, friends, partners, team members, and even students who were my mentees in the last five years. I am grateful to listen to their independent views, experience, and knowledge, even if they are at times the opposite of mine. Reverse mentoring has helped me learn a lot by offering new perspectives and breakthrough thinking. Their advice and consultation are always valuable to improve my decisions and actions. Through such an amazing journey, I found that trust, openness, and active listening are key success factors of mentoring. It really inspires me and drives change in my life.
How do you balance long hours with your personal life successfully?
I was inspired by what Jack Welch, former CEO of GE said: “There's no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.” I prioritise and choose to accept the results of that decision. It’s interesting to see work as life as you’ll always deliver your best when you’re happy. Thus, I enjoy work and life with passion, energy, preparation, and focus. You might wonder why I’m able to travel so often and still manage to enjoy quality time with my family, friends, and colleagues while being known as a “hard worker”. What people don't know is that I plan everything in advance, by setting a fixed schedule to manage work during every trip. By practising these principles, I get to fully enjoy my time. That's how I choose to treat myself well and fully recharge to welcome new challenges after each trip.
Do you believe there's a glass ceiling for women in the workplace, and has it changed?
Our culture, environment, perceptions, mindset, and experiences may limit us. Even when it is hard to change others, we can change what we think, what we do, and become role models. From my perspective, we should choose to work for a company where our values align and/or we may share similarly meaningful purposes. While it is important for women to be strong, adaptive and nurture a growth mindset to achieve success in their careers, it is equally crucial that institutions – society, organization, workplace culture, etc. – uphold gender equity, inclusion, and diversity so that women can reach their highest potential.
In your experience, what are the benefits of diverse teams and diverse organisations?
At AstraZeneca, Inclusion and Diversity is one of the key pillars of our “Great Place To Work” strategic priorities — driving innovation, engagement and a sense of connection and belonging. The more we collaborate and value our differences, the closer we get to working in a truly inclusive community and having a great place to work. Each of us is unique; celebrating our differences together is a competitive advantage and is critical in driving our growth as a company. Within this year, more than 20 initiatives have been implemented under the Inclusion and Diversity program named “My ID”. The majority of those are driven by our employees to meet the diverse needs of their departments, which has motivated each team and highlighted the true meaning of inclusion and diversity. It also emphasises our Country Leadership Team’s commitment to promoting an inclusive culture, inspiring entrepreneurial spirit in every employee and empowering employees to reach their full potential.
What’s your advice to leaders who want to create a more diverse and inclusive culture?
Be role models by building trust, walking the talk, and putting employees at the heart of everything you do. You can also create and foster an inclusive environment where people feel comfortable to speak their minds and express their opinions. Building and sustaining a diverse talent pipeline is equally important, so is empowering inclusive leadership. Finally, be aware of unconscious bias or discrimination, and address any inappropriate behaviours effectively and efficiently.
Is there anything you are doing to help emerging female leaders in AstraZeneca and in general?
Female talent makes up more than 50% of the AstraZeneca Vietnam team. We empower our women to unlock their potential, assist their lifelong learning journeys and growth through many development programmes. For instance, “Women As Leaders” aims to push boundaries for female leaders; “Plan 100” offers emerging female talent the opportunities to work outside Vietnam such as Japan, China or to attend MBA programmes at prestigious universities.
As an HR female leader, I participated in the “Global Girls Takeover” programme under AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP), an initiative focused on empowering girls’ leadership and female talent by enabling them to take over my role.
As a member of Vietnam Alumni Mentoring, under the auspices of the University of Economics HCM Alumni Community (UEH Alumni) and the support of Your Study Support since 2016, I have helped students to adopt the right outlook on their future careers and provide consultation on how to best prepare to achieve their dreams.
What advice do you have for young women looking to make a career in your industry now?
Curiosity and Commitment:
Constantly put yourself in a learning mode and learn fast. Learn from experience to have the right knowledge and attitude, learn to explore what slows you down, and learn to deal with ambiguities so you can be more accountable and responsible.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take time to ask yourself and others, reflect on what you're doing well and what can be improved, then ask others for support and help so you can continue to grow.
Creativity and Values Creation:
Early in your career, try to map the experience and learning opportunities that can support you to achieve “big dreams”. Whatever you do, do it with your best and you will receive rewards in return.
Do what you love and love what you do:
Always nurture your passion, self-awareness and learn from diverse mentors!
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