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Spotlight on Women Leaders at SAP: Marion Ryan

July 26, 2016 by Susan Galer 307

Marion Ryan, Vice President of General Business in Asia-Pacific Japan (APJ) at SAP, unexpectedly discovered that a career in high technology perfectly aligned with her natural curiosity, love of travel and enjoyment of dynamic work environments.

Currently based in Singapore, Ryan has been with SAP for almost a decade, and manages the General Business group which has a team of over 200 sales representatives and 400 partners serving small and midsize companies in the APJ region.

In this exclusive SAP News interview, Ryan talks about what she’s learned from managing teams since her very first job as a teenager, why her combined understanding of both coding and business benefits customers, and how family expectations gave her the confidence to go after anything.

What triggered my interest in how IT business systems make companies thrive was…

When I worked for a travel company that was installing an automated ticketing and booking system. I suddenly realized I had far more interest in implementing the system than I did in booking people’s travel plans.

I was attracted to a career in high technology because…

Being involved with IT projects allows me to work collaboratively with others to either solve problems or make something better.

My mother was a wonderful role model who…

Worked full-time with five children growing up and also found time to volunteer. She and my father set the bar high – we were all expected to participate in sports and do well in school, leading to university and a responsible career.

My parents gave me the confidence in my ability to…

Try anything even managing teams early on as a 16-year old working part-time at a supermarket.

When Ryan isn’t working, she enjoys many activities including indoor sky diving.

I thought I’d end up…

Transferring to law school until technology found me. I attended night school to earn my master’s degree in IT while working full-time at the Australian House of Representatives as the Assistant Director of Information Systems.

Learning coding gave me the ability to…

Appreciate the value of simple user experience masking a complex business process.

The most important thing that brought me to this point in my career have been… 

Mentors and champions who have encouraged me to take on new responsibilities.

Being in a leadership role at SAP gives me the freedom to… 

Exchange ideas and learn across cultures while challenging the status quo and helping generate revenue for the company.

If you have a roomful of men, you’re missing half the population and their insights. The more different voices at the table, the more complete the resolution to the problem will be.

What motivates me is…

Collaborating with a team to identify and achieve goals. It’s important not to confuse activity with outcomes.

SAP’s Marion Ryan: It’s important not to confuse activity with outcomes.

We can attract more women to high tech industry by… 

Starting at an early age. I have an eight-year old niece who I actively encourage to build simple apps. Some countries in APJ lag behind in their representation of women in IT. Adaire Fox-Martin, President of SAP APJ, recognized this challenge and created the Back2Work Program, offering project-based employment to professional women who have taken a career break and are looking to re-enter the workforce.

My dream assignment is… 

New York City. I first visited in the early 1990s, and it immediately felt like home.

I’m helping women achieve their dreams by…

Mentoring to develop our future leaders, including participating in the local Business Womens’ Network at SAP. I’m always looking for women interested in moving into sales.

Trekking-to-Tiger's-Nest-Monestary-in-Bhutan-with-friendssmall

Ryan (right) takes a break from work by hiking with friends to Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, the most sacred site in Bhutan.

The one app I can’t live without is…

What’s App. It’s the easiest way to stay in contact with friends and family worldwide.

There’s never been a better time for women to…

Pursue a career in high tech because the digital revolution will provide career paths with longevity and flexibility.

The technology I’m obsessed with right now is…

Cloud ERP because we have a massive small and midsize market in Asia that needs these innovations to simplify consumption and accelerate the delivery of new customer engagement models.

When I’m not working I relax by…

Hiking in Singapore’s nature reserves, snorkeling off the beautiful beaches of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, ziplining and indoor sky diving. I also never under-estimate the power of a good glass of red wine while enjoying a tranquil moment in the heart of the city.

Follow me @smgaler

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