IWD2024 Online Feature Series - Bridging Worlds: Puah Jing Wen's Impact in Tech and Women's Football

Mar 8, 2024
Asia Market Entry
IWD2024 Online Feature Series - Bridging Worlds: Puah Jing Wen's Impact in Tech and Women's Football

This International Women's Day 2024, the team at Asia Market Entry reached out to the women in our network who are leaders in their various fields, ranging from AI to wine education. Puah Jing Wen is our Senior Business Development Advisor at Asia Market Entry, and leads various initiatives in Women's Football and Sports. Read on for her journey and her unique interpretation of the #IWD2024 Theme of Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.

As a woman in tech, Puah Jing Wen’s journey has instilled in her the importance of adaptability, empathy, and strategic thinking, allowing her to navigate the tech industry's challenges and opportunities with a unique lens that values inclusivity and innovation. Jing Wen’s career began early as a co-founder of an education startup, Reactor, while still waiting to begin university. She then went on to helm various teams and initiatives while wearing multiple hats as co-founder. This experience, particularly in fundraising, sales, and partnerships, laid the groundwork for her current role at Asia Market Entry, helping tech companies expand into the region. Outside of work, Jing Wen is an avid footballer. Her personal experience as a woman in the local football scene led to her to cofound Soccer Girl Goals, a passion project that aims to elevate visibility for women’s football in Asia. Jing Wen’s inspiration stems from a desire to merge innovation with meaningful impact, leveraging technology to create opportunities and solve challenges unique to Asia.

Scoring Goals for Women Empowerment

Most evenings, Jing Wen can be found on the football field playing both recreationally as well as competitively in the top leagues in Singapore. A rare but treasured opportunity in her footballing journey, Jing Wen was paid a salary, albeit not a big sum, to compete for Geylang International Football Club in the Singapore Women’s Premier League in the 2023 season. As a woman in sport as well as a women in tech, Jing Wen sees herself as an advocate for creating inclusive environments where women's contributions are valued and growth is supported. This involves creating or participating in mentorship programs, championing policies that support gender equity, and where possible, contributing to the fostering of culture that celebrates diversity. Jing Wen also serves on the Singapore National Olympic Council’s Women in Sport Committee (SNOC WSC), leading community engagement initiatives and gender equality projects in sports. Her participation in various impact-driven projects further equips her with cross-sector knowledge, connection and the confidence to execute projects with varied needs across sectors.

Building Bridges in Asia: Navigating New Frontiers

Expanding a business into Asia requires an intimate understanding of each market's unique cultural, economic, and regulatory landscape. From leading expansion of her own company into Southeast Asian markets such as Jakarta and Bangkok, to helping tech companies sign partner deals across Asian markets, Jing Wen’s approach emphasises relationship building, local partnerships and community engagement. For women leaders, this endeavour opens up unparalleled opportunities where we can tap on our strengths and also key differentiator, to lead with empathy, innovate in problem-solving, and ensuring the execution of impactful programs.

From Sports to Tech: A Ripple Effect of Positive Change

The theme "Invest in Women" resonates deeply with Jing Wen, embodying the belief that empowering women is foundational to creating more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous societies. For her, it signifies a commitment to breaking down barriers and opening up opportunities for women in all areas of life.

The biggest issue women in tech/business face today is overcoming systemic biases and achieving true representation and equity at all levels of leadership and innovation. Drawing references to the world of sports, Jing Wen believes “sports teaches us the importance of teamwork and resilience — lessons that are universally applicable for leaders across sectors”. From Caitlyn Clark’s shattering of record after record, to the Matildas fever selling out stadiums in every home game in Australia, women in the sporting world are continuing to break through the glass ceiling, and take over the front pages in news and social media coverage. As breakthroughs in sports are often more visible, Jing Wen is positive this impact has started and will continue expanding the ripple to other sectors. This is why Jing Wen feels strongly for women leaders across different sectors to push for progress and change in a visible way. At Asia Market Entry, our International Women’s Day events, and online features are some starting points of putting that into action.

From Challenges to Opportunities: A Leadership Journey

Jing Wen’s advice to young women aspiring to leadership roles in emerging markets is to embrace the unique challenges and opportunities these environments present. Cultivate a mindset of lifelong learning, seek out mentors and allies, and never underestimate the value of your unique perspective. Leadership is as much about listening and learning as it is about guiding and decision-making.

A turning point in my career was leading Reactor's expansion into new markets while managing fundraising. This experience taught me the importance of resilience, the power of a strong team, and the impact of leading by doing. It shaped my approach to leadership as one that values courage, inclusivity, and the pursuit of shared goals.

Embracing the challenge of blending career aspirations in technology with sporting passions is an empowering path of leadership and personal growth. My message to other women is to find strength in a supportive network, whether it is your team, your employers, your peers, mentors and more.

“What has propelled me in my career is a combination of hard work, continuous learning, and the support and sponsorship of mentors and allies. Embracing every opportunity to grow and contribute meaningfully has been key.”