Building a career
in the Lion City

UQ graduate Tennille Parry reflects on life in 2020 as an ex-pat in Singapore

Photo of a lion water feature in Singapore with the text 'advice from the Lion City'

Image: Pixabay/Sasin Tipchai

Image: Pixabay/Sasin Tipchai

From the Czech Republic to the Lion City, UQ alumnus Tennille Parry (Bachelor of Arts '00) is no stranger to ex-pat life.

“My parents met in Spain and so I’ve always had this thing about travel. As soon as I finished university, I saved for a few months and headed over to London," Parry said.

"I thought I would do my time in London and then come back home to Australia, but opportunities kept coming up and I found the more places I visited, the more I would hear about, and so the cycle would continue.”

Parry notes while she has travelled and worked in many corners of the globe, there are still similarities among different cultures.

“In all the places I have lived and worked, most people I've met have been intent on making a difference in their work and searching for balance in their life," she said.

This is an image of UQ graduate Tennille Parry.

UQ graduate Tennille Parry.

UQ graduate Tennille Parry.

Parry is now the HR Director for South East Asia with Experian.

“This year has seen a big focus on wellbeing," she said.

"We have trained all people managers on mental health awareness and ensured HR have done in-depth training, and run sessions on mindfulness, including sessions focused on gratitude, resilience, productivity, and the science of sleep, diet and exercise.

"We also launched a platform for short-term roles which allows employees to reach out to a wider network for assistance on a project and the chance to get involved with projects outside of their immediate team for their own development.”

In such a turbulent year, it’s been more important than ever to keep the workforce connected.

When reflecting on Singapore’s response to COVID-19, Parry said the country reacted quickly to the news of the virus, shutting borders and implementing precautionary measures well before other countries.

“We had a period of lockdown called the ‘circuit breaker’ where restrictions were very tight.”

“Overall, I think the community here is appreciative of how the Government have handled the crisis.”

Back at work, Parry explains how the recruitment industry has been impacted by the pandemic.

She said that while they have continued to hire, it’s more important than ever that candidates understand the long-term strategy of the company and the ways that the company is being agile in overcoming current challenges.

For many young graduates, Singapore remains a desirable city to embark on their career.

Parry said that graduate programs are still a great entry point for those wanting to find a job in Singapore.

“Graduate programs help you to gain more of an understanding of different Asian cultures because it’s such a unique environment in Asia.”

For those who have established their careers and are wanting to take that next step on the ladder, Parry said it’s about saying ‘yes’.

"I think people get too bogged down into ‘this is my career path and then I’ll get my managers role’ and they’re waiting for that, when actually there’s a sidewards move that you can make that can get you ready for that next step."

“Even if it’s something kind of monotonous, it can give you a lot of context into the business and what’s going on. You will build connections and they could be the next step up, so I always just think, be really open and go and do it.”

Parry’s career has taken her across the globe, but she often thinks back to her time at UQ fondly.

“I was so lucky to go to a university that’s so beautiful, with a lot of history. Doing a Bachelor of Arts degree was ideal for me at that time as I was exploring what I was interested in.

"UQ offers a great variety of subjects and excellent teaching staff to bring the content to life,” she said.  

Image: Jirath Ninchaikovit/Unsplash

Photo of colourful buildings in Singapore with lanterns hanging

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