StanChart’s Maisie Chong on Embracing Opportunities and Giving Back

Chong Reflects on Finding Greater Satisfaction and Fulfillment in Her Work Journey

Chong’s journey underscores the value of seizing opportunities and embracing continuous learning. She adopts a life philosophy of never rejecting opportunities without trying them at least once, a principle that has guided her through various stages of her career.

Reflecting on her career path, Chong emphasizes the importance of being open to new experiences and perspectives.

As she advances in her career, she looks forward to gaining insights from younger colleagues who bring fresh perspectives and motivations to the table.

In her current roles at Standard Chartered, Chong oversees Transaction Banking in Singapore and leads Trade and Working Capital for ASEAN & South Asia.

Her diverse experience spans across different areas of banking, including sales, product management, and structured finance.

Chong’s journey began with a pivot from project and change management in the United States to exploring opportunities in the banking sector.

A conversation with a friend sparked her curiosity about the industry, ultimately leading her to embark on a rewarding career path within banking.

“At the beginning of my career, I was drawn to the excitement of the trading desk,” Chong recalls. “But a friend of mine described Transaction Banking as the plumbing and hardware of the bank, essential for keeping the lights on.

That perspective resonated with me, and I decided to explore this avenue.”

Chong also emphasizes the importance of cultivating the right mindset and giving back to others, both personally and professionally.

This ethos guides her efforts to ensure her children, who were adopted from Malaysia and Indonesia, are connected to their cultural roots while growing up in Singapore.

Additionally, she is committed to supporting women in the banking industry, recognizing the importance of empowerment and mentorship.

Empowering Change: A Shift in Mindset

Early in her career, Maisie Chong had a pivotal encounter that shed light on the reality of being a woman in the finance sector.

“In my first week at Standard Chartered, our global head of transaction banking, a female leader, emphasized the importance of supporting each other in a male-dominated industry,” Chong shared with Asian Banking & Finance.

That moment left a lasting impression. Today, about one-third of senior leadership roles at Standard Chartered Singapore are held by women—a significant step forward, yet both Chong and the bank recognize there’s more work to be done.

Standard Chartered aims to increase female representation to 35% by 2025.

Chong stresses the necessity of a dual mindset shift, both personally and professionally. Bridging the gender gap and ensuring diverse representation in management are crucial for fostering varied perspectives.

“Professionally, conscious efforts are needed. Actively recruiting female leaders demonstrates corporate commitment to supporting women,” she noted.

Standard Chartered has implemented measures to promote fairness and diversity, including a fair pay report outlining equitable principles for performance and reward decisions.

Last August, the bank introduced enhanced parental benefits, offering 20 weeks of paid parental leave for all new parents, recognizing the roles of new fathers and foster parents.

In October 2023, the bank extended global medical coverage to include treatment for menopause-related symptoms for employees and their partners.

Chong observed the positive impact this had on female colleagues, affirming the bank’s responsiveness to their life experiences.

The collective effort towards inclusivity and support reflects a fundamental shift in mindset—a commitment to empowering change and creating a more equitable workplace.

Embracing Meaningful Careers: Insights from Maisie Chong

Maisie Chong reflects on a valuable lesson gleaned from the younger generation of bankers: the pursuit of deeper satisfaction and fulfillment in their professional endeavors.

“I’ve gained invaluable insights from our younger colleagues,” she remarked. “They aspire to find purpose and meaning in their work, seeking fulfillment beyond mere financial stability.

In contrast, when I was starting out, the focus was primarily on securing a job to meet basic needs. Today, it’s about crafting a career that leaves a positive impact on the world.”

Chong embraces new forms of collaboration, particularly with younger colleagues who bring fresh perspectives and a willingness to challenge conventional thinking.

“I find inspiration in collaborating with interns and younger team members,” she shared. “Their eagerness to express opinions and challenge norms is invigorating.”

Grateful for the opportunities afforded by living in Singapore, Chong emphasizes the importance of giving back and extending privileges to others.

As a mother to children from diverse cultural backgrounds, she instills in them the value of generosity and community support. “I encourage my children to embrace a mindset of generosity and service,” she explained. “We should not only be content with our blessings but also strive to uplift others and contribute to society.”

Similarly, as a female leader at Standard Chartered, Chong actively mentors and supports other women, viewing it as a way to pay it forward.

“Ascending to leadership positions can be challenging, especially for women,” she acknowledged. “But by supporting and uplifting each other, we can overcome obstacles and achieve success together.

I’m fortunate to be surrounded by supportive colleagues at Standard Chartered who share this vision.”

Chong’s journey underscores the importance of finding purpose and meaning in one’s career while also giving back to others and fostering a culture of support and empowerment.

Greg Swanson
Greg Swanson
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