With over 120 years of successful operations in Singapore, ExxonMobil is one of the leaders in the oil and gas industry and is continually driven to reach greater heights.
Electronics-trained Janer Chua Siew Hong shares how she chose a different career path to join the oil and gas industry and work in maintenance, and how ExxonMobil has since provided her exciting opportunities to take on new and challenging portfolios.
Tell us more about your decision to be a part of ExxonMobil.
After graduating with a Diploma in Electronics, joining the electronics industry was a natural choice for most of my classmates. However, I was also open to exploring a career in other sectors. The oil and gas industry stood out for me as I thought it would offer exciting challenges which suited my active nature. I chose ExxonMobil as it is a reputable company that has a strong financial position.
Explain how your role contributes to the organisation’s objectives.
I am currently a contract administrator under the Site Maintenance Department at the Singapore Refinery. “I wear many hats in my role: I am a process owner who is responsible for the end-to-end process for contract development; a data analyst who studies end users’ needs; a vendor manager who evaluates contracted services and drafts contracts; a trainer who coaches end users on contract knowledge and promotes the use of established contracted services; and an auditor who conducts sample checks to validate contractual compliance.
All these sum up my role in working closely with colleagues from various departments to help develop, leverage and optimise our contracts with various external parties to facilitate our business needs and help contribute to the bottom line of the business.
Janer Chua Siew Hoong
“ The most fulfilling part of being a leader is to be given the responsibility to look after the well-being of others.”
What do you find most rewarding or fulfilling about your role?
Earlier in my career, I was a front line supervisor and planner. My key focus was to ensure the safety of the workforce and the reliability of the equipment at the plant. Leading a team may sound easy, but it involves many soft skills. As a supervisor, I provide a listening ear to my team members, show empathy and at times provide constructive feedback. The most fulfilling part of being a leader is to be given the responsibility to look after the well-being of others. It is extremely satisfying when team members expressed gratitude for my help and advice.
I also met my husband when working for ExxonMobil, which is the most rewarding gift of my career. We now have two sons.
What are some of the challenges you face at work? How do you overcome them?
The plant needs to run safely and reliably to meet our customers’ needs. Timely resolution of equipment breakdown that affects plant operations is therefore very critical. Finding the root cause of instrument failure may be challenging sometimes. However, we will bring together experts from various departments and come together as one team to formulate and implement effective solutions to address the issues and resume operations.
How has ExxonMobil helped in your professional development?
ExxonMobil values employee development and we have an in-house learning organisation that provides structured training ranging from technical skills to soft skills to improve individual effectiveness.
Share with us a couple of memorable episodes you have had during your career.
I was given the opportunity to plan, schedule and execute a planned major maintenance shutdown that was scheduled earlier this year. I managed a team consisting of 38 members. I was honoured to lead this team, as we collaborated with each other and helped one another just like family members to resolve issues whenever a problem arose. We were very proud of our contributions toward achieving an injury-free and flawless maintenance shutdown.
I received a recognition award as well for outstanding field leadership performance during a major turnaround. It gave me tremendous satisfaction to know that my efforts to overcome barriers, improve efficiencies, reduce waiting time and most importantly, support field safety, were recognised by the company.
What skills and qualities does one need to have in order to succeed at ExxonMobil?
Be open to feedback, have courage to take on challenges and have a long-term view of your career. ExxonMobil believes in hiring top talents and promoting their employees from within the organisation. The high level of commitment in employee development through multiple job rotations and stretch assignments help employees realise their full potential.
Any tips for the interview process?
Demonstrate your confidence and willingness to learn. Good appreciation of safety and basic engineering concepts are a plus!
What advice do you have for polytechnic graduates who wish to join ExxonMobil and follow in your footsteps?
Be open to new things and assignments. This is where you get all the opportunities to acquire new skills. Do not be hesitant to ask for advice and help.
For me, I am very lucky to have amazing colleagues and experienced seniors who provided valuable advice whenever I am in doubt.