Breaking the bamboo ceiling

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After migrating to Australia from Hong Kong in 2016, Gloria Yuen was used to being “the only one” in her workplace – the only Asian, the only female, the only millennial.

While she was thrilled to be sponsored by NAB to work at the bank’s Melbourne headquarters, Gloria initially found it a challenge to progress her career without an extensive network.

“I knew that I was still good and still very smart, but I started to doubt my competence and felt I had to prove it to everyone,” she said. “I soon realised I had to start focusing my energy on building a network and connections.”

“As a migrant country, lots of us here in Australia don’t get that natural advantage. I am very determined to help bridge that gap.”

 

Giving back

Motivated by her struggles to build a strong network and connections as a migrant, Gloria recently helped deliver NAB’s first ever series of virtual connection sessions.

“I was really determined to create a more deliberate opportunity for people to connect and grow,” she said. “Especially in the COVID environment, where everything is so disconnected.”

“During the first session, I met two colleagues who had migrated to Australia at the start of COVID. They had never left their apartments to explore what this amazing country has to offer.”

“Can you imagine making that move alone? Not knowing anyone or your surroundings – it would have been a really challenging 18 months.”

 

Getting recognised

As a testament to Gloria’s outstanding leadership to further cultural inclusion at NAB and across Corporate Australia, she has recently been recognised as one of the 40 under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians for 2021.

“When I saw my name alongside Olympians, environmental engineers and inspiring leaders I was speechless!” said Gloria.

Topping off an inspiring year, Gloria has also been awarded the Women in Banking and Finance (WiBF) Rising Star Award for making an exceptional impact in the industry as NAB’s Head of Regulatory Enablement and Delivery.

“This recognition inspires me to continue my advocacy for diversity of thought and inclusion supporting innovation, and amplifying the voices of women from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

“I still definitely want to do more,” Gloria said.

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