As part of our Leading Women series, we want to highlight the professional challenges and career aspirations of the women we work with here in Asia.

In this story, Sharmini Wainwright, Senior Managing Director — NSW at PageGroup, shares her biggest personal sacrifices, how vulnerability builds confidence and how one disruptive boss changed her views on talent development for the better.  

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Q: What is the best decision that you have made with regard to your career? 

I spent 10 years working in our Australian business, and I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more brilliant decade. I was in my 20s, I didn’t know a lot of things, so I could just enjoy the career for what it was. The business and I grew up together, and there was such a great group of colleagues. At 33, however, I figured that I needed to leave and board the Asia growth bandwagon that I kept hearing about. I was nervous but I thought, what have I got to lose? So I landed here as a director, I was given a portfolio of people to look after and grow the business — but I didn’t know anybody in Hong Kong. I had no track record there, the team looked at me and was like, “Who’s this Aussie Indian chick? What’s she going to do?” That was a huge year of just being uncomfortable, meeting as many people as possible and trying to connect with and understand Hong Kong. What an experience, you know, to be thrown into the deep and after 10 years on the job just to prove yourself.  

This is an abridged version of the full interview with Sharmini Wainwright. For the full version of the interview, click here.  

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