We’re delighted to welcome Tammy Tan to Red Hat as the country manager for Malaysia, where she will be responsible for Red Hat’s business operations in one of Red Hat’s key Southeast Asia emerging markets. Tan brings over 21 years of experience in the IT industry and comes from a STEM background. Prior to her current role at Red Hat, Tan served as director of enterprise and commercial at Cisco Malaysia. She began her career as an engineer at Siemens and NTT Communications.
Earlier this week, we caught up with Tan to hear her perspectives on open source and Red Hat, and learn about her journey as a woman in STEM.
Why did you choose to join Red Hat?
I have always been curious about the software and application world and how it can impact our customers' businesses. Today, software development is becoming more open and business more frictionless, so how do we support customers on that journey?
Coming from a strong networking infrastructure background, I see organizations developing and deploying more stateful applications and microservices at an accelerating pace. As organizations rely on cloud-native computing to develop, deliver and manage enterprise applications, data services such as data security, governance, discovery and resiliency also become crucial. And when I think of all these aspects, Red Hat stands out as a company that customers can rely on as they move ahead in their transformation journey.
I am also drawn to Red Hat’s values of freedom, courage, commitment and accountability as they are a great foundation for innovation, and I am personally excited about the possibilities ahead.
What do you look most forward to in your new role?
My first impression is that Red Hat has some amazing customers on the roster, which highlights the depth of our customer relationships. Red Hat has a strong presence in industry verticals such as financial services and banking, government and telecommunications. In fact, Red Hat has worked with financial institutions like Alliance Bank, AmBank and Bursa, who are key players in the Malaysian economy. Malaysia’s innovation policy, MyDigital, presents even more opportunities for enterprise open source to support growth.
I hope we can collaborate more closely with government and telecommunications organizations to further support our customers through open source as they embark on business transformation. PERKESO is just one example of what’s possible and how open source can make government services more accessible.
What advice would you give to people from less conventional backgrounds who are looking to get into engineering?
When I started my career, I was the only female engineer working at the data center. Of course it could be lonely at times, but my advice would be to not give up. I’m also grateful for the allies who helped me along the way and encouraged me to pursue my passion. Today, there are a lot more avenues to connect with fellow developers online or through open source communities, so you are not alone.
The world today is changing rapidly. According to a report from the World Economic Forum, sixty-five percent of the jobs that our children will have do not even exist today. At the same time, there is a skill set gap in software engineering and IT in Malaysia. Competition is fierce but the opportunity to upskill is there and engineers need to capitalize on it.
There will likely always be a need for engineers who bring the right skill set, approach and attitude to the job. Red Hat at its heart is an open company, so as part of our commitment, we’ve opened up a number of training courses at no cost to help individuals kickstart their learning. STEM is exciting and should be open to everyone who is curious and has the passion to innovate and contribute.
How would you define leadership, and what kind of leader would you like to be?
I come from a technical background and I’ve been in the trenches helping customers build their projects from scratch, so I aim to bring a perspective of someone who knows the challenges and success of working with enterprise technology. At the same time, we need to bring together technology and commercial objectives so that we can maximize success, and work in an efficient and cost-effective way, while making sure our transformation programs are sustainable.
I believe that leadership is putting your people first. Trust and empower your team, and most importantly, listen and communicate. As a company, we are on a hyper growth path and there is tremendous opportunity for all of us to play a part in this journey. I look forward to working with my team and seeing how we can collaborate together to support open transformation.