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Spotlight on Women Leaders at SAP: Yean Fee Ho

October 28, 2015 by Susan Galer

Yean Fee Ho, Vice President of Engineering at SAP, is at heart an inventive artist who has found the ideal environment at SAP, managing software development teams in Singapore and China designing the company’s latest mobile innovations.

When Yean Fee Ho, Vice President of Engineering at SAP, is managing her developer teams in Singapore and China, she relaxes by horseback riding.

When Yean Fee Ho, Vice President of Engineering at SAP, isn’t managing her developer teams in Singapore and China, she relaxes by horseback riding.

Ho recently spoke with SAP News to share her thoughts on chasing her dream despite humble beginnings and why art and engineering are a natural fit.

Growing up in Singapore, Ho realized early on that she needed an international education to achieve her career goals, and traveled to Ohio State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. She joined SAP five years ago with its acquisition of Sybase, where she had been director of the Sybase Asia Development Center in Singapore.

Having begun her career by founding an international startup focused on multi-lingual software including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tamil and Arabic, Ho brings a unique entrepreneurial spirit to her current role in Singapore managing SAP’s Mobile Tooling team of developers. A champion badminton player in her youth, Ho has channeled her energy into smashing stereotypes about engineers. Behind the scenes, she’s worked with local governments to promote STEM education programs. Yet she’s equally at ease in front of the camera as SAP’s APJ spokesperson for high-profile events like the World Cup.

The most important quality that has brought me to this point in my career is…

My passion. Traveling to the other side of the world to chase a career wasn’t as common when I began my education, and my family was of modest means. But I’ve always pursued what I’m passionate about, surrounding myself with supportive people so we can build the dream together.

My first experience with technology was…

In my third year at junior college in Singapore. I was studying to become an architect when I took a variety of courses to broaden my exposure to various topics, including computers. Along with art and drawing, I realized I had an aptitude for science, math and engineering. This was the punch card era, and my first job was supporting word processor software running on mini-computers.

I was attracted to a career in high technology because…

There is so much room for creativity. I’m an inventor and love art and the creation process.

Working as a software engineer at SAP allows me to…

Be a valuable part of the large family of SAP solutions. My teams develop hybrid mobile tooling kits that allow our customers to build solutions using all the valuable data they have, regardless of where the applications are – on-premise and in the cloud – for our innovations like our mobile interface, SAP Fiori UX, and the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

My advice for young women considering a career in high tech is to…

Understand that this is not just a man’s job. Computer software is like a language that permeates every business today. With engineering skills, anyone can contribute their creative voice, regardless of the industry.

The business trend I’m thinking most about is…

How the software industry has changed in the last decade, demanding more creativity from designers to deliver value-added services that not only delight customers, but also contribute to the bottom line.

I’m obsessed with…

Mobile technology because it’s the perfect platform to transform the experience people have, providing new services in new ways, going far beyond the capabilities of traditional applications.

Businesses can attract more women to the technology industry by…

Offering a community of mentoring that also showcases successful women.

When I’m deep in creative mode I always…

Start by conducting research to identify the problem we want to solve and what’s needed to do a better job.

My biggest career achievement so far has been…

Integrating my original team from Sybase into SAP, allowing us to bring the strongest user experience to our customers.

Being an engineer at SAP has given me the freedom to…

Use all of my skills, including communications. I understand mobile technology and can also speak multiple languages. In addition to being an executive spokesperson in our APJ region working with local media, I was recently made the APJ Greater China Mobile Executive, supporting customers in this region.

I’m helping women at SAP by…

Mentoring young women in our new SAP Lab in Singapore, and also requesting reverse mentorship so I can learn from others too.

When I’m not working, I relax by…

Horseback riding, playing badminton and deep sea diving off Sipadanm in Malaysia, and the Raja Ampat islands in New Guinea.

A woman I significantly admire and respect is…

Hillary Clinton because I read her book and was impressed that although she was First Lady as the President’s wife, she has also always been her own person.

Follow me @smgaler

Read more from the series: Spotlight on Women Leaders at SAP.

Top image via Shutterstock

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