June Woman to Watch

Celin Teo

What were your initial thoughts moving into a sales focused role?

I never initially planned on venturing into a solutions consultant role but it came at a time that aligned with my stage of growth and my career goals. So I am still in my early stages of my career, I don’t have an exact path that I am chasing at the moment but deep down I know that I enjoy learning skills that are practical and technical and I enjoy seeing how much I can stretch myself in the role that I am in. 

I know that sales roles just aren’t quite for me, of course solutions consultancy is a mix of pre-sales but there are a lot of other technical skills mixed in as well. I think the skills are like a huge muscle that I want to grow and work on which I was really excited to go and work on. Especially coming into a company like dotdigital where I am working on multiple skills at a time. Excitement was the main emotion though.

Your role as a Solutions Consultant is male dominated in SaaS, what would you say to women who were interested in moving into this position?

I saw a really interesting Forbes article, it’s not new but it really resonated with me, but a study found that men actually apply for jobs when they meet only 60% of the qualifications. However women only apply when they meet 100% of the qualifications. I’m sure this has been shared around a lot but I found that personally when I had applied to jobs there was a bit of hesitance in applying for roles especially the technical ones not due to a lack of confidence so much but I just wanted to make sure that I went in with the right skills.  

There are, of course, many reasons that are personal to individuals and what I would say is to just go for it. Even if you decide once you start it’s not for you, you will still be learning and getting results. There is always a lesson in every area of life. Look to the groups of women around you, your support group and other people in the role for advice, reach out and take a leap of faith. You will never know if you never try.

You may not have all those technical skills but there is so much on the job learning. It matters who your company is, they might be looking for more soft skills to train you in the more technical side. 

What are some of the key strengths women can bring to sales or solutions consultancy?

I don’t think it is any particular personality or trait that makes women stronger than men. I think it is more importantly the representation of women being in these roles. Not only in the sales roles but also in leadership roles. I have personally witnessed a lot of women that I know take on such positions and that gives me confidence. It helps highlight more equality and diversity in the workplace in the future and I think it is more representation than anything. 

Are there any leaders that you find inspiring?

The CMO at Netflix, Bozoma Saint John, has a strong sense of uplifting people around her. She is from a marginalised community as well as being a woman in such a high leadership position. I have listened to some of her podcasts and I find her really inspiring. 

How have you adapted moving from a larger Saas vendor to a start-up?

I think it took time to adjust, specifically dusting off comfortable habits. I had the opportunity to grow my career in a larger SaaS vendor at Hubspot and then move on to a smaller startup environment. Being in the larger company, enablement and learning was important and allowed me to focus on technical and interpersonal skills as I started out. I learnt so much from my managers, colleagues and the company as a whole because there were so many resources and processes in place that you find naturally in a larger SaaS company. Now at a  smaller but growing company in regional APAC it is a change of pace, but in a good way. 

In my last role I was largely independent and me being independent meant I could bring those skills and learnings into a new role where I am wearing so many different hats, doing more things right now. But of course this means that I am learning even more skills and learning to multitask even more. 

I am excited to see the future prospects of where I am and where dotdigital will go in the future. To be a part of the company whilst it grows in APAC, at the moment we are a team of about 30 so I am excited to see the team grow and what the future holds. 

What words of wisdom would you give to women who are slightly apprehensive to move into a startup?

I think it is worth giving everything a shot. I looked and researched a bit about the company and who was already working there. During the hiring process I spoke to the manager and asked them questions to try to foresee their management style to help me understand the company and culture and imagine what the role would be like. I know not all startups are like this, but dip your toes in a little bit in the hiring process to get a sense of the company, because don’t forget you are also choosing the company, it’s not just the company choosing you. 

Since the pandemic eCommerce is booming across the globe, how do you manage being in such a dynamic and fast paced environment?

I actually thrive in a fast paced and dynamic environment and I think in such instances you need to learn to be flexible, adaptable and also smart with your time. Initially I struggled with getting across everything I needed to learn for the ecommerce industry and starting as a remote employee. It made it a bit harder to say ‘hey I need some help’ so I had to learn to be a little bit more independent. There was a lot of learning to do with the industry around the marketplace and the region because SouthEast Asia is very different to other regions like EMEA and even A/NZ. 

What have you been reading or watching lately?

I recently finished watching Midnight Asia, it was a docu series on Netflix about food, drink, art, nightlife and subcultures around different countries in Asia like Thailand, Korea and India. I love learning about different countries and their cultures and I just learnt so much more about them even though I have visited them in the past.