We’re delighted to welcome Wee Luen Chia to Red Hat as senior director and general manager for ASEAN. In this role, he will be responsible for the overall business management of Red Hat’s Southeast Asia business.

Wee Luen joins us from Qlik, where he was the managing director for ASEAN. Prior to Qlik, Wee Luen was responsible for the Fusion Middleware portfolio in Singapore and Brunei at Oracle. He also has experience working in Singapore’s public sector, having spent the first years of his career on whole-of-government project conceptualization and implementations.

We caught up with Wee Luen to find out more about his passion for technology, as well as his thoughts on the importance of open source in today’s changing business landscape.

What are you looking forward to in your new role at Red Hat?

In a nutshell, it’s the company, the culture and the people that attracted me to take on this role in Red Hat.My career motto is to deliver business value to delight customers, and there’s no better place to do so than here at Red Hat. I had to go through multiple rounds of interviews as part of the selection process, and the more I learned about the company the more my desire to join Red Hat grew. I met team leaders from different business functions and was surprised by their passion for work and for the company. I could feel the open source way in action and that it is deeply rooted in Red Hatters DNA. The passion is contagious!

Not only do I believe that the open source way is a better way to develop products, but I also believe it is also a better way to run companies and lead teams. Everyone can bring something unique to the table, and we can only achieve the multiplier effect when we encourage participation and open exchange of ideas. I love the fact that best ideas can emerge through Red Hat’s meritocracy.

How do you think open source will play a role in ASEAN’s transformation this year?

As the (overused) saying goes, the only thing constant is change. Things happen at a faster speed today, and the decision windows are becoming shorter and shorter. I believe the ability to be agile and adapt to change is vital to survival and prosperity.

Digital powers many things nowadays – from government services to banking to healthcare and so on – and Red Hat has an innovative portfolio to be a top-tier partner to customers in their digital transformation journeys.  It is my opinion that we are still early days of this technology revolution, and there is still so much more potential to leverage technology to improve lives. This is going to be one fun ride!

You’ve been in the IT sector throughout your 14-year career. What has kept you in this industry?  

When I started work, it was actually one of the most difficult times to be in the IT sector. It was right after the dot-com bust and there was huge skepticism all over. I won’t be very far off when I would guess that few of my university cohorts held IT jobs after graduation; a lot of talent went into banking and accounting.  

That said, I had the good fortune of being in projects that helped improve lives. I was involved in e-government master planning and project implementations, and many of those have made lives better for citizen. Interestingly, I was also the author of a cloud computing strategy paper for the government more than a decade ago. This was when the term was newly coined – there was a lot of hype around it, but nobody really knew how to take advantage of it. Back then, there was a joke which defined cloud computing as “switching on your laptop on a plane.”  I find it extremely meaningful that more than a decade after I authored the cloud strategy paper, I am now working for one of the companies enabling cloud solutions for customers.

Since the advancements in technology are happening at an accelerated pace, it is important to adopt a lifelong learning attitude to keep up with the latest developments.  It is this continuous and rapid innovation in the IT sector that has kept me hooked.

Given the rapid pace of disruption, what would you advise individuals to do to “future proof” their jobs and become leaders in their respective fields?

Be uncommon, be proactive and always ask to take on additional assignments to stretch yourself.  If you’re just doing work that is assigned to you, that’s being common. Being common will probably mean “you are just one of many”  

To stand out and become a leader, you need to ask for opportunities to hone your skills. The great thing about becoming a leader is that the impact you can make is multiplied through the people you coach and influence.

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