After a great pivot in 2021, landing in a great newly created role, in the best account team on Grab at Microsoft SG… 2022 brought the surprise of Canada immigration waking up in June and granting us our Permanent Residency! The usual 6-month process took 3 years and it was a total surprise as there was no sign that they were reviewing our application. With our lease in Singapore up for renewal in August 2023, we casually broke the news at work that it’d be nice to relocate with Singapore, for the right opportunity. No rush, kinda 14-month notice.
Next thing you know, our regional leader sends a really nice referral to his counterpart in Canada, the end of fiscal year at Microsoft means budget and new roles unlock. And guess what, here we are, my husband and I, securing the same roles we had in Singapore at Microsoft Toronto. We thought it’d be Vancouver but eh gotta to follow the business needs. The catch? Move fast. Heard the news in August while on holiday in Italy, and I had to leave him and the dog to pack the flat in Singapore solo and say goodbyes with a final departure from Singapore 1st September (there were no direct flights for our pup to come back to Singapore as planned and head out via Europe in September!).
9th Sep 2022, we landed as a family in the great country of Canada. See our first 90-days documented.
This international move has been a logistics nightmare and one of the most stressful time of my life. As excited as I was to move to the next chapter of my life, one that we’ve planned since 2019, everything was so rushed. Had to find a mover in emergency, sell at a loss or donate the majority of our furniture, pack essentials and have the most horrific handover of the flat while working, breaking the news to my team and customers in Singapore… I couldn’t have done it without my helper and close friends. Managing people on Carousell was probably the worst. I barely slept for 2 weeks but managed to say goodbye to my Sapient peeps who came on-mass last minute, team, mentees and close friends. I am so grateful for the ties and network I’ve built in Singapore for 9 years. It is something that I will cherish forever. Singapore could just not offer us the stability of settling in and we’re looking forward to finding our roots and creating new traditions in Canada, thanks to their open immigration policy!
And just like that, with 5 suitcases and a one-way ticket, it was time to say goodbye to Singapore after 9 years, 3 jobs, countless travel in Asia-Pacific (pre-Covid) and a puppy. And this little guy has followed us to watch on the Xmas gifts in Canada.
What else happened?
2022 started slowly in Italy as we closed on our house 29 Dec 2021. The boiler stopped on 31st December and we were so grateful that the plumber came at 6pm for an emergency reboot, allowing us to start 2022 warm. We decluttered the house, chose our furniture, mailbox as proud owners and our Italian expresso maker, enjoyed the peacefulness of waking up in the middle of nowhere with deers crossing just before our windows
Coming back after Chinese New Year via Zurich enabled us to catch our friend from Singapore relocated there over bubbles for our wedding anniversary and Zookie’s 3rd birthday… except Swiss Air didn’t notify us that the rebooked flight due to cancellation was not a VTL and we got stranded in Changi airport. Thank god, Microsoft HR is the best and they got our authorisation super fast (even if we had to serve a one-week stay-home notice) and our helper took care of fetching Zookie at Changi cargo.
With some restrictions in group gathering (and 1month late) we’re grateful we were still able to celebrate our traditional “galette des rois” with close friends & kids in February; meet in person with my Cloud Seeders & SheSays peeps and organise the 1st in-person SheSays Singapore event in 2.5 years “Unlocking your potential”.
Inspired by the APAC CSU custom puzzle, and with restrictions in Singapore, we got serious with our puzzle game and upped to 2,000 pieces. The custom LEGOs continued with Star Wars tie fighters and we got addicted like everyone else to Wordle!
Easter was back in the house in Italy to buy an extension to the land… with Covid for my husband who came via France, bringing our newly purchased car back. This still meant some lovely outdoor lunches with the newly discovered Arneis or Riesling from Giovanni Almondo and the glorious primavera in the garden! Summer was back at the house to start the outdoor work, and host my sister and friends not seen for years. It was boiling so working on the terrace with the fan was a must, with Zookie sleeping under my chair as always. I managed to keep my habit of no-screen during the weekend mornings until then (but that has proved to be too hard to keep up with this great unplugging routine with all the research online for the installation in Canada, maybe in 2023?).
Tons to be proud of at work:
- I shared my journey as a newbie 6-month at Microsoft and helped hire more Customer Success folks in Singapore
- The fireside chat between our CEO Satya Nadella and my customer Grab cofounder and CEO Anthony Tan, got published and I shared about it in Coffee with Imane podcast
- It was nice to meet the APAC leadership at the Singapore CSU offsite in person; and the mentoring circle after a year of online catchups that were so helpful for newbies like me
- Super happy that the open message from our leaders on creating a Career development plan sooner rather than later got through, pushing me to publish a first draft in April. That proved super handy for informals in June-July with Microsoft Canada
- We shared our customer success story as a team so that our peers can learn from it and I was asked to share my experience, bringing our methodology to life, in a training for 4,000 Customer Success Account Managers and their people managers
- Proudly passed my 2nd Azure certification with AI Fundamentals (I ❤️ 🤖!)
- Very proud to see my customer Grab recognised by our President and Vice Chair Brad Smith for our joint digital literacy work in Southeast Asia at our fiscal year start in July
- … And I got promoted in August 2022 🏆 What an awesome recognition 12-month new to Microsoft, in a newly created role that came with a lot of uncertainty and significant challenges on the account 😊
- Ran 2 IamRemarkable workshops at Microsoft for International Women’s Day and to kickstart our fiscal year in a bang, and with my Cloud Seeders community, leading to impacting 64 total participants in their self-promotion skills in 2 years. Looking forward to bringing this in Canada with workshops already scheduled across Jan-March 2023
> I continued training with my personal pilates trainer and she recommended a studio in Davisville in mid-town Toronto that was where our 2nd Airbnb in October-November was. We love it so much that we still go there now that we live downtown as the classes are limited to 3 pax and their technic is really good. Also, it’s nice to support small businesses rather than big studios.
> And my mentee who helped me practice and secure my Asia Institute of Mentoring’s Certified Professional Mentor got her promotion in February 2022. We worked (I mean she did all the work), we prepared for this and visualised it since April 2021. Amazing outcome miss Z.
I also mentored at Microsoft too in small groups for DigiGirlz and Mums@Work.
My 2 Generation SG mentees secured their 6-month apprenticeship in April after a 12-week bootcamp and full time jobs afterwards. So proud of these 2 ladies knowing nothing about technology and transforming their lives in a such a short time. In just 2.5month they passed their Azure Fundamentals AZ-900 certification with no prior tech experience. They helped me be a better listener and better leader along the way. Bringing this back to Microsoft teams.
> I grew SheSaysSG Who’s your Momma community to 143 mentees and 61 mentors organically despite organising only 1 event in June; and handed over to the amazing Lorysa who’s been such a strong supporter for our community.
> I’ve probably only read 5 issues of The New Yorker as they’re split between the old flat in Singapore, the holiday house in Mondovi and the new flat in Toronto. Alas, I had to let go of my collection since Feb 2009, keeping only the historical issues or the ones with iconic covers. I hope 2023 will be the year I resume this good habit as I always learn so much from their timeless, deep analysis #longreads. I have to find a magazine store that carries it closer to home though. It took me 3 months to find a book store to buy my first issue locally.
- Snooze by Megan Tan from my 1st every favorite podcast Millenials (many moons ago)
- web3 with a16z cyrpto
- Articles of interest with Avery Trufleman after The Cut. She took her mini-series from 99% invisible and made it her own podcast (with Roman Mars giving her the rights, I love that crew and their voices)
- Leaders of change by the amazing Imane Jamal Eddine
- Light reading, focusing on telco as I now work on Rogers in Canada
- me, myself and AI from MIT Sloan and BCG
- Patented: History of inventions
- State of Mind with my friend Vera Siertsema
- The Startup of YOU by Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha
- Tools and Weapons with Brad Smith
> Tried few restaurants in Toronto already:
- Our first dinner came from M (Mattachioni) as we staying at Coxwell and Gerrard St. We love their smoked salmon and they have Arneis white wine from Piedmont
- We liked brunch at Lazy Daisy’s Cafe next door
- Mid-town (as our 2nd Airbnb was in Davisville):
- We love Stock for their bread, smoked salmon and ready to heat eggplant parmigiani
- Celebrated the husband birthday at Piano piano
- Zee Grill Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar
- Grillies and Burritos Boyz were our savior when we were camping in the new flat
- And we created new traditions with Canadian oysters from St Lawrence market, Galette des rois from Butter baker for Xmas and some overall goodness from Douce France and French Foods Market.
> 2021 continued to be the year of webinars as in-person events were still restricted with Omnicron waves. It was still an opportunity to continue to learn from our leaders and competitors.
– 1st March our CFO Amy Hood kicked us off for International Women Month with Women at Microsoft. So grateful to have a great female leader like her in the boardroom
– 8th March, I was thrilled to be part of Break the bias panel organised by my fellow Cloud Seeders’ Payal Bhadola that aired on International Women’s Day
– And I was glad to facilitate my own #IamRemarkable workshops 8 and 29 March 2022 International Women’s Day
– 14 April was the Microsoft DevOps Summit with my customer Grab’s Kevin LittleJohn and Patrizia Szasz
– 12 May Salesforce live Asia hosted Simon Sinek and Grab’s Head of People Chin Yin Ong. Great authentic sharing and discovered that Simon, even as an author, is not great at keeping his attention focused and does not read books; instead he talks to a lot of people who read a book, ask them a lot of questions and learns that way.
– And 18 May was the AWS ASEAN Summit
– 19 May Microsoft Asia Accessibility Summit was introduced by JP Courtois – President and it was wonderful to see my customer Grab Accessibility study with Microsoft showcased. I loved working on this project and it was wonderful to see it recognised publicly 😍
– 24-26 May our Microsoft Build conference was opened by our CEO Satya Nadella Keynote with the 10 technologies defining any organisation. I also really enjoyed Democratize your data at scale with Power BI with Arun Ulagaratchagan with interesting cases from Bayer and T Mobile
And 12 October was Microsoft Ignite with our CCO Judson Althoff sharing how to do more with less with 5 digital imperatives