What Asian Heritage Month Means to Me – Coffee Chat with Serena Chan

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(5 min read) We grab a coffee with IBMers from around the world, and share our chat in the IBM Careers Blog. Today, you will meet Serena Chan, Partner Financial Services Sector, TD Bank Account IBM Global Business Services.

In the morning, I like my coffee…

I quit coffee ; )  Every now and then I love having my smooth and creamy organic matcha latte lightly sweetened and served with steamed coconut milk.

Growing up…

I was always one of the handful of female students in my science class where I have always been top of the class in Physics, Math and Biology. My Asian parents told me to study to become an accountant, just like many other stereotype Chinese girls; whereas boys would become engineers. I have a curious mind and a strong growth mindset. Think about it, how often does Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) change? Whereas technological innovation never stops. After graduated from Honours Bachelor degree of Business specializing in Finance and Accounting from the University of Toronto, I pursued my Graduated degree in Information Systems.

Pursuing a career in tech has been…

a blast.

I started my tech career developing trading systems for the trading floor at the banks. I then became a Management consultant with the consulting firms including PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting and BearingPoint (KPMG Consulting) where I focused in Financial Services and emerging technologies. I love solving my clients’ problems especially when it comes to solving my client’s most complex problems through the lens of business, technology and design.

I am inspired by…

Nature.  ‘m drawn to green plants and bright flowers. I do some of my best thinking when I’m away from my computer; in those quiet moments, I sometimes practically solutioned the problem in my head before I actually sit down to type it out.



What Asian Heritage Month means to me…

Every unique challenge brings an opportunity to do something about it. Being an Asian woman in tech is a badge of honour. I wear it proud, loud and continue to do the hard work to help lead the way for others. Asian Heritage month is an opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate and to reflect on the history and the accomplishments of our Asian communities. As our communities evolve and become more diverse it is important to learn, honour, and preserve our histories while looking forward to the future with our younger generations. We celebrate our Asian heritage and we are proud Canadians.

How I champion diversity and inclusion…

I feel privileged to be the first oriental Chinese woman who had made Partner in Financial Services in Canada.  I have a number of mentees coming from a diverse ethnic background. I believe it is important for people to be aspired to be something, and it helps that if they can see other people around them that are in that role.

Attracting great people has to do with our values, and we live them every day as an IBM Executive. It is not what we say, It is what we do. Having a community, even just someone else to talk to who’s in a similar experience helps to support one another and inspire others.

As the Guild Leader for Technical Women Guild at IBM Canada, I enjoy supporting diverse technical talent at IBM. I have had opportunities to give back to the communities at IBM, including taking part in 3 months in-country experience for IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) in Mexico city in May 2018. My team worked with the Forge Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping low-income youth in Latin America to find decent employment.

To that end, we architected an e-learning platform to allow Forge to more effectively scale their outreach. The e-learning platform, hosting and deployment strategy that we delivered will allow Forge to distribute their educational model to businesses and non-profit organization partners as well as enable the ability to scale quickly while maintaining a high-quality user experience. The CSC experience has been highly enriching on both professional and personal levels for me.

On a personal level, I could really feel the outstanding passion and dedication from all of us. On top of our fully packed daily routines, we could still find the time and efforts to manage some extras. In extreme conditions, some of us still worked hard while being sick in order to meet the deadlines. All these nice, little gestures show that we are very passionate about something and we all try to be limitless when it comes to that.



This article first appeared on IBM Canada: https://main-ibmcanada-ibmcanada.content.pugpig.com/2019/05/08/coffee-chat-with-serena-chan/pugpig_index.html


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