The love for machines
During her university days, Lan Geok majored in computer studies, having initially chosen to specialise in application development. After 2 years, she decided to apply for her true passion in enterprise infrastructure at National Computer Board which was set up in early 1980s as a public body to computerise the civil service in Singapore.
"I do not want to deal with applications; I want to deal with machines."
Contrary to the belief that men would usually work with machines, while women worked with applications, Lan Geok is against such a stereotype and is for the idea that: "Whatever work guys can do, girls can do it too." Along her journey with NCS, she took on roles involving service delivery and management of operations teams and has developed a keen understanding of both the hard and soft skills needed to manage her team and projects for success. Today, Lan Geok leads a team of more than 2000 employees as the Vice President of Infrastructure Services.
If you think you can, you can
2010 was a significant milestone for both NCS and Lan Geok. The company won a mega project to set up the technical infrastructure for 360 schools in Singapore and provided technical support for teachers and students. Having played a key role in the tender process, Lan Geok prides herself for being part of a team that won the tender. Despite the many hurdles met during the tender process, Lan Geok’s never-say-die spirit and positive learning attitude helped pull her through the challenges and multiple late nights. She has since emerged stronger with bigger and bolder plans to grow the infrastructure services beyond the region.
Being a hands-on leader who is resourceful and skilled in identifying and isolating issues, Lan Geok sometimes finds herself on the ground with her teams in the wee hours to solve customer challenges. She says: "If the bulk of what you do is what you like, it's ok, because it energises you and makes you come to work every day."
Passing on experience and knowledge
Lan Geok attributes her astute leadership skills to her ex-mentors whose advice are still clearly etched in her mind. She is also eager to pass on these valuable lessons by sharing her experience with her colleagues, employees and friends. Lan Geok credits the people-oriented culture at NCS for allowing her to pursue her ambition and to develop her strengths and interests. She resonates in connecting the right jobs with the right people and creating the right fit to increase motivation, deliver results and increase employee retention. When met with uncertainty, she finds herself consulting her ex-mentors and she is appreciative of the precious bond she kept with them. In any case, Lan Geok finds it best to make decisions based on facts and data as "analysing them gives me insight."
An inspiring supermum
As with many other working mothers, Lan Geok recognises the challenges in balancing work and family commitments and credits her success to her supportive family members. She regularly meets up with her siblings and goes on trips with them. She places much importance on her family’s wellbeing, constantly checking up on her siblings and never hesitating to lend them a helping hand when in need. The recent circuit breaker and alternate working schedule due to the pandemic have also allowed her to be able to spend more time with her daughter and husband, enabling her to better balance between work and family commitment.