Empowering women through openness and inclusion

Carolyn Chin, Digital Innovation Leader, PwC Singapore

Last year, a female polytechnic student in Singapore reached out to Carolyn Chin on LinkedIn, asking to learn more about working in technology at PwC Singapore. This set Carolyn thinking – and acting. The result a few months later was a new external event called “High Tea for High Tech” that Carolyn and her team organised in the PwC Singapore office. An open forum for students of all genders and learning backgrounds, the session enabled the attendees to get a sneak peek of what working in PwC was like – and to pick the brains of a mostly female “human library” (our very own female talent in tech) stationed around the room, sharing their experience and insights about careers in many areas of technology.

For Carolyn, initiatives like High Tea for High Tech capture the essence of PwC’s inclusive and diverse culture, where leaders’ doors are always open – and women are encouraged and enabled to reach their full potential in helping to drive technology innovation forward. Having joined in 2019 as PwC Singapore’s Digital Innovation Leader, she felt at home straight away and hit the ground running in her role. Carolyn focuses on helping clients across all industries achieve their innovation goals, in addition to previously overseeing PwC Asia Pacific’s Digital Upskilling initiative. This included the digital upskilling strategy for 84,000 PwC solvers across the Asia Pac region in areas like data visualisation, analytics and automation. A further key aspect of her role is leading the firm’s drive to improve diversity in its technology practice. 

“What's special about the experience of working at PwC? The culture. I simply love the culture. Within the first month I felt at home. I’m very passionate about PwC’s strong commitment to inclusion and diversity. And I love the firm's investment in people, especially in digital and ESG. We have great leaders who are role models whom I truly admire – and I feel really proud to work with these leaders.”

The resulting initiatives have included setting up diverse “empowerment circles” through which PwC Singapore's talent at all levels can network, share experiences and ideas, and learn in an honest and open environment. For Carolyn, it’s important that these networks reach beyond women to include men as well, along with people of other dimensions of diversity.

Carolyn applies the same philosophy to attracting the best talent. For her, recruiting the highest quality talent is the overarching priority, and it’s “all the more wonderful” if they are also members of groups that we can be more inclusive and represent more of in the workforce or technology field, be they female, gender diverse, persons with disabilities and more. In her view, everyone has skills that they can contribute to PwC, so being on the lookout for new and diverse talent, with each bringing a unique perspective to problem solving, is really important. And when it comes to retaining that talent, effective coaching and empowerment circles can play a key role.

“For me, the advancement of women is based on talent and skills. It’s not about advancing women just because they belong to a particular gender, but because they really do bring great skills to the table. It is important that their talent, skill sets and immense potential are being noticed, recognised and valued. That's something we at PwC Singapore take very seriously.”

As a female technology leader, a further priority for Carolyn is raising the profile of other women working in tech, increasing and showcasing the pool of fellow female role models for women who might consider a career in technology. She sees various reasons why women have been historically underrepresented in the technology workforce – ranging from parental pressure to concern over working in what has long been a male-dominated sector (e.g. unconscious biases). Visible role models can make all the difference. Carolyn strives to actively promote diversity in this space through organising and participating in events that allow women and underrepresented groups to better understand what it takes to have a career in this domain, access mentors and promote opportunities to gain digital skills and experience. As someone who has been recognised as IT Women of the Year for Asia (2019), Asia Business Role Model of the year (2020), and who addressed the United Nations this year on digital inclusion in Asia Pacific, it’s easy to see what makes Carolyn a trailblazer for women working in tech across the region at PwC Singapore.   

Away from work, Carolyn loves spending time with her young family, and walking their dog on the weekends. She also really enjoys researching technology that can help communities which tend to be underrepresented, for example, persons with disabilities, lower income families or those that are underserved, for example those living in remote locations with limited access to digital services. Her commitment to inclusion doesn’t end with her working day.

LIGHTNING ROUND: quick questions and quick answers

From your experience, how do you sum up Inclusion & Diversity at PwC?

I&D at PwC is something that makes me feel very proud.  It really allows us to bring our whole selves to work. For us, it’s not just about respecting each other's cultures and backgrounds, but really embracing them and making them part of our one PwC culture. 

What should others know about PwC’s commitment to Inclusion & Diversity?

For PwC, I&D is a very serious and heartfelt commitment that we have to our people, our clients, the societies and communities that we serve. 

Carolyn Chin
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