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Malaysian women advance career in Kuala Lumpur venue

The Malaysia-based Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre practices a flat corporate structure to facilitate career advancement and development opportunities regardless of gender. This allows women employees to rise in what is perceived as the male-dominated business tourism industry.

The women of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

“Developing people has always been one of the Centre’s main objectives, and we constantly strive to be the ‘Employer of Choice’ so our team members want to remain with us for the long term. A flat corporate structure means there is no glass ceiling to stop female team members from moving up the ladder,” explained Alan Pryor, general manager designate, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

“At present, we have 113 women, or 36 percent, out of 318 team members, in middle-to-top management positions; many have worked their way to where they are today.  We’re very proud of them, and they make great mentors for our younger team members,” he added.

Security Executive Natalie Ann Xavier is one of these successes. Joining the Centre’s Security Department as a security officer when the venue opened in 2005 and in a field that was relatively new to her, Xavier said she was a bit intimidated by the knowledge of her more experienced male colleagues.

“This (pressure) made me persevere and work harder. I was promoted in 2010 and became the Centre’s first female security supervisor,” she said.

Being in the hospitality industry, Xavier said the Centre’s policy on security is to ‘enforce with a smile’.

“This in turn, has helped me develop a more tactful and psychological approach when dealing with difficult guests and given me skills which are also helpful outside of my workplace.”

Xavier was awarded the Best Employee of the Year Award 2013 (Facilities Division) for her outstanding performance.

“Women can break into any industry, be it male-dominated or not, as long as they are willing to work hard to meet their goals,” said Tiffany Chung, floor manager, Exhibitions, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

With nine years in the exhibitions sector, Chung shared that, when it comes to managing her team, who are mostly males, it is important to earn their trust and respect.

“One way is to let them know I am always behind them in times of need to provide support and back-up. I also like to assure them that their welfare is taken care of, and they can come to me for advice and guidance at any time,” Chung added.

Joining the Centre in November 2008 as assistant manager for Safety, Health and Environment (SHE), Rasima Abdul Rashid was promoted to SHE manager in 2011. Tasked with providing professional advice on all matters pertaining to SHE and ensuring all clients understand and adhere by the Centre’s SHE regulations, Abdul Rashid said her most memorable moment to date was when, “in 2009, our General Manager Datuk Peter Brokenshire assigned me the responsibility of obtaining ISO14000 [environment management systems and standards] certification.”

She added, “This was the ideal opportunity to prove myself, and although it meant long hours and hard work, I committed myself to the undertaking wholeheartedly, and in February 2010, the Centre was ISO14000 certified.”

Abdul Rashid’s efforts were acknowledged by the Centre when she won the ‘Best Employee of the Year 2010 (Facilities Division).’

“The Centre is renowned for its excellent service, and our female employees make a large contribution to this. We take great pride in their achievements and recognize their contribution to the Centre’s success. Finding and then retaining the right talent is key for an organization such as ours, and as such we strive to create an open corporate culture for both male and female team members,” said Alan Pryor.

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is a component of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre and is managed and operated by Convex Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a joint-venture company between KLCC (Holdings) Sdn Bhd and AEG Ogden Pty Ltd, Australia.

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