12 Apr 2021

In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of initiatives that have raised global awareness about the importance of gender diversity, the challenge of the gender pay gap – as well as the issue of a lack of women in senior leadership positions.

But while these initiatives draw more attention to these issues, what I want to understand is has this attention led to progress. 

And our guest, Uma Thana Balasingam, is ideally suited to help me delve deeper into this question. In her day job, she’s the Vice President of the Partner & Commercial Organization for VMWare in Asia Pacific.  She has also been recognised by CRN in their “Most Powerful Women of the Channel” global list, and she also features in Singapore’s Top 100 Women in IT.

But she does so much more across the ICT ecosystem than just that. 

She’s also the Co-Founder of Lean In’s Singapore Chapter, which brings together its 4,000+ members to drive gender diversity in the workplace – and she is the Founder of Lean In Women in Tech Asia and  Women in Tech Singapore. 

Show Notes:

02:00 Intro to Uma – how she got where she is today

07:20 The opportunities the pandemic created for VMWare

10:00 How has the pandemic affected how you communicate with your internal and external teams?

14:00 What do you understand today from a business perspective that you wish you understood 5 or 10 years ago?

17:00 How has an introvert thrived in what many would think are extrovert roles?

20:00 We hear about gender equality and the gender pay gap, but the question is, are we really making progress?

24:00 The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 highlights the massive gender gaps in emerging jobs – what do we need to do to improve this?

31:30 Intro to Lean In Singapore 

33:30 What is unconscious bias? And can you give us examples of where you have experienced it?

42:40 The Provocative Questions. Uma and I agreed that I would be intentionally provocative in this section – asking her questions that some men might want to ask, but won’t because they are concerned they will be branded as sexist. 

64:30 What can men do to help create fair and equal environments for women?


Video Snippet: Uma’s Advice on How Men Can Become Part of the Solution