Yinn Ewe

Head of HR Partners, APAC


Breaking Stereotypes Through Connection

Part one of a two-part profile, read part two here.

Meet Yinn Ewe, Head of HR Partners, APAC

  • An Asian woman HR leader
  • A Hitachi group champion
  • A believer of leading one’s destiny

Shaping Destiny: My Journey into HR

Sometimes, the most rewarding paths are the unexpected ones. Human Resources (HR) wasn’t a premeditated career goal, but it was a path I stumbled upon and grew to love. As I reflect on my journey, I've come to realize that our choices and actions play a significant role in shaping our destinies.

I started as a junior administrative assistant in the Research & Development department at Hitachi Asia, and from there took on roles in management consulting and service management. The pivotal moment occurred when I was presented with the opportunity to head HR at Hitachi Plant Technologies. This marked the beginning of what I now consider my true calling.

What drives me is my unwavering belief in the power of personal agency. I firmly believe that we chart our own course in life. With this conviction, I eagerly embraced opportunities to broaden my horizons — I consistently volunteered for additional tasks, offering my assistance wherever it was needed. Being proactive not only expanded my experiences but also honed my abilities.

From Conflict to Connection

Women leaders in Asia were a rarity then. My initial visits to Japan were eye-opening experiences, often met with surprised looks at meetings. In fact, my name sometimes appeared as "Mr." on meeting agendas, and there were occasions when I was mistaken for a secretary. In Japan, having a woman at the table was far from commonplace. It wasn't about disrespect, but rather an unfamiliar occurrence.

We’ve come a long way since then. Cultural norms have evolved, yet it's crucial to maintain an open-minded perspective as we navigate our diverse backgrounds. Every instance of tension or conflict presents an opportunity for connection — a chance for us to have mutual cultural education and understanding. This fosters a more inclusive and harmonious environment, where diverse cultures and perspectives enrich our experiences.

Responding With Understanding

I've encountered scenarios that could easily have provoked offense, but I chose to view them through a lens of cultural understanding. In Asian culture, the sight of a pregnant woman at the table was uncommon, and the questions I received were driven by genuine curiosity and even concern. It's important to approach such situations with an open mind and the intention to glean insights from them.

We may not have the power to reshape societal perceptions or the opinions of others, but we have full control over our own responses and reactions. This control is where our true agency lies. Empathy and curiosity are keys to navigating delicate situations with calm and grace.  

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