Leading Ladies: Tan May Lin

by Portfolio Magazine
08 Mar 2023

Tan May Lin is the Regional Director of Printer and Visual Products, and Regional Director of Brand and Communications, Epson

This month, we celebrate some of Singapore’s fearless female leaders who have taken strides to implement change in their respective fields. From sharing their greatest challenges to learning about their leadership style, we find out how they’re making waves and shaking things up in traditionally male-led industries.

My leadership style… involves bringing up hard truths to motivate my team members for personal growth. I am also a big supporter of empowering my female team leaders to make decisions and allowing them room to make mistakes to support their growth while cultivating their confidence and leadership skills.

My most memorable career challenges and triumphs include… working towards incorporating Sustainable Development Goal 8; to create an inclusive workplace. In the Singapore office, we have cultivated a culture where the company and leadership support female representation, especially in the Singapore management team which has a high ratio of female representation.

In the past, I’ve faced situations where I realized that once you stop believing in yourself and have other people define what you can and cannot do, it becomes a challenge to truly achieve your goals. It has been important to remember to try and fail rather than not try at all.

The most notable changes I’ve noticed in my industry since joining… is seeing flexible work cultures flourish since the pandemic happened. The ability to work from home and to start work in staggered hours helps to enable better work-life management.

I have championed for even more flexibility for our female colleagues who need to balance work and family using a trust-based system – they are free to take time off to sort out their personal affairs as long as their professional life and work are not affected.

(Related: The Change Catalyst)

The most fulfilling aspect of my role as a woman is… being able to help younger female team members excel and grow in their roles by providing them guidance. At the same time, I am thankful that I get to spend quality time with my three sons and am very involved in their lives. I remember that I am lucky to be in the position to make an impact however small. It fulfils me to know that every action counts and that I can be a leader who gives my team members the opportunity and space to excel both at home and at work.

For young women who are about to join the workforce, my advice is… to learn everything you can and not worry about the glass ceiling or your salary, because once you prove your worth, the opportunities and money should follow. In addition, there is more to life than work so learn to live your life with meaning and purpose as you only have one shot. Most importantly, have fun while you are at it.