International Women’s Day Exclusive Interview with Delta SEA CHRO Sherry Lin
Text by David Nakayama, DET Corp Comms
Photos by DET HR
Bangkok, Thailand, March 8, 2021- As we celebrate another International Women’s Day, companies in Thailand take stock of our progress in gender equality and look for ways to bridge gaps.
According to UN Women, Thailand has more women in senior leadership than both the APAC region and the global average. In Thailand’s mid-market companies, women hold 32% of senior leadership positions, compared to the global and APAC average of 27% and 26% respectively. Meanwhile, the number of businesses in this segment without female senior management decreased by 19%-14% from 2019 to 2020.
At top management, 24% of CEOs/MDs in Thailand are women, compared to 20% and 13% worldwide and APAC respectively. The top leadership position for women in Thailand is CFO at 43%, making Thailand the world’s highest percentage of female CFOs and the third-highest percentage of female CEOs.
As the largest public-listed electronics company in the country, Delta Thailand strives to lead the industry in gender equality, women’s rights and diversity and inclusion. Highly visible female leaders at Delta Thailand include our CFO, CHRO, head of our Legal department and business and production group/unit leaders throughout the company. And with over 80% of our workforce female, our company makes creating a woman-friendly workplace a top priority.
For International Women’s Day 2021, Delta SEA’s female CHRO Sherry Lin gave an exclusive interview where she shared why diversity and inclusion are important for companies, how she is leading the creation of an equal workplace and her personal thoughts on leadership and female empowerment.
What are the top benefits for companies that prioritize a diverse and inclusive workplace where women can succeed in their dreams?
A diverse and inclusive culture in the work environment will help to promote collaboration. Having an empowering environment at the workplace proves to each of our women that they can contribute in their own professional capability and assist the company in creating success.
Here at Delta Thailand, we have many visible and active women in senior positions. I think our women leaders are excellent role models for all our women because they show that what matters is your individual capability.
If you can equip yourself with all the necessary knowledge, skills and have the right attitude, you will definitely get promotions and eventually become a senior leader in the future regardless of your gender or background.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles to gender equality in the manufacturing industry, and what are some strategies and actions HR leaders can use to help their organization bridge the gender gap?
Barriers exist for women working in all industries around the world. That’s why we need to act to create a woman-friendly workplace that makes it as easy for our working women and mothers to do their work as men.
For example, at Delta Thailand, we offer work-from-home arrangements for female workers and those who can during the COVID-19 pandemic situation. At our factories, we set up special break rooms, breast-feeding rooms, parking lots and production line areas specifically for pregnant women.
In the future, we also plan to offer family care leave, female physical checks or even a daycare service. For continuing education and learning, we work with a global organization to provide STEM workplace skill training to improve our female employee’s capability to face changes from digital transformation.
How are you leading Delta Thailand’s HR to challenge the issues that are important for women at every level of your company?
The first step is to raise the issues we face as women and then discuss ways to resolve them with all involved parties. To facilitate these important conversations, we provide over 10 different communication channels for our employees to report any issue affecting them. These include digital channels like LINE, Facebook and LinkedIn as well as face-to-face meetings with management in our Coffee Talks and Executive Lunch Talk events.
We also work closely with our Employee Relations department and have a dedicated sexual harassment committee to handle specific issues. We have a whistle-blowing or grievance reporting channel that receives anonymous reports via email, post and telephone. In the future, we are planning to create a Woman’s Power Forum specifically to advocate for woman’s rights in our organization.
How can HR help their people stop gender bias in the hiring and training/promotion processes, especially for STEM job roles?
I believe there must be laws and legal protections in place to root out gender bias everywhere. Nowadays, according to the labor law, there is no tolerance for any gender discrimination during the hiring, training and promotion process.
What we focus on is the capability of every individual instead of their gender. By strictly enforcing the law, we can give every woman at Delta a fair chance to succeed.
What are the top advantages that women managers and leaders offer, and what are the biggest benefits to teams that have good gender balance?
In the high-tech industry, one advantage for woman leaders is that we have a fresh approach and sometimes can have more influence over the communications among all the high-powered male leaders. Technology-driven companies recognize value from ideas, and this comes from good collaboration from all sides.
This strong innovation focus also helps to facilitate more smooth collaboration between male and female workers and it creates motivation to have good gender balance in our teams.
What was the biggest challenge you made in your career as a woman leader, and how did it change your life?
For me, I think of every challenge as equally big because no situation is the same. Working in the high-tech industry has allowed me to grow personally within a more technology-driven realm. Throughout my career, I’ve discovered that an important key to success is not just relying on your background, but finding out how to understand new trends in technology and create fresh innovation every day.
So advanced logical thinking is crucial for any woman, and you need to be ambitious enough to do continuous learning and execute properly. In other words, you need to learn, innovate and invent constantly as a woman leader, all while coaching your team to achieve the highest standard and create results.
How can women develop themselves into confident and independent-minded leaders and support other professional women in the industry?
Big achievements in life always come from smaller successes that make up each milestone. Remember, life is a journey and you will gain your confidence during the process of growth. And when your confidence grows stronger, you will eventually receive more praise and admiration from others. So as time goes by, experience will make you a more confident person.
In the high-tech industry, you will need to accumulate your own success stories as a career woman. For example, I have worked as CHRO in the semiconductor and the TFT-LDC industry for over 20 years. So when I joined Delta, I had the confidence to face any tough challenge and situation. I can also work well with all our senior management teams because of my knowledge and experience.
I think society should give more chances to women and as a leader. I have always dedicated my work to equally cultivating female and male subordinates to become HR leaders. Until now, I have developed 10 CHROs in different industries.
How can everyone help women to take on more challenges and stand up as leaders for women’s rights both at the workplace and in the community?
Personally, I think as women we need to be confident and fight against any unfair treatment by first providing our own point of view and expressing our independent thoughts. You should stand up for your rights no matter who you are. Remember, nowadays we all have fair opportunities in life with no differences made for our gender.
Whether you are a man or a woman, you have the ability within you to succeed in your own way. Yet I feel many women are not confident enough to fight for themselves so they lose their voice, opportunities and even rights.
Yet in our current society, it is vital to be more open. Everyone should speak out for themselves and always equip themselves with the willpower and capability to seize any opportunity or gain positive exposure of ourselves. If we persist eventually, EVERYONE will see.
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About the Author (Editorial Team)
If content is king, there must be a kingmaker. And the universal theme in my favorite stories is our innate human desire for freedom. I have a master’s degree in Chinese education and experience spanning industries and countries. As the Comms guy at DET, I’m obsessed with the stories behind our products and people. Share your stories with me @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/yushi-david-nakayama/