As an energetic and fearless mother of five, 52-year-old Hamnah Haron wants the best for her children and to be a role model to them.
The best way she knows how to inspire them is to lead by example. Which is why she has embodied the spirit of lifelong learning, even recently completing a diploma in Leadership and People Management, with plans to pursue a degree in the near future.
Here’s what this lively lady has to say about staying relevant in an uncertain and complex workplace, and how other mature workers like herself can adapt to a digital future.
Forget Your Age
When Hamnah started working for Aviva 12 years ago, her role involved a lot of repetitive paperwork. As an Administrative Officer in New Business Issuance, she would receive daily piles of policy documents that needed to be manually processed.
Her role started to change as the company – and industry – gradually went digital.
“With a change in business processes from data entry to data verification, my role underwent transformation, and since 2013 I saw a gradual expansion in my scope of work,” Hamnah explained. “There’s a lot of changes in our internal processes, a lot of automation going on as well.”
As she began taking on more client calls and troubleshooting duties, Hamnah recognised that she needed new skills. Driven to excel at her job, she took the initiative to enrol in a part-time diploma course in 2018.
Hamnah’s decision to take on a diploma course didn’t come easy, either. Pursuing a diploma at her age was no piece of cake. It was tiring, and her weekends were eaten up by classes and assignments.
However, she was undaunted.
“At first I was reluctant to go for the course, because it meant that my weekends will be burnt up,” she admitted. “But then when I went for the first day, the lecturer motivated me and then I really wanted to continue. And with monetary support from my SkillsFuture credit, I completed the course.”
Thanks to her supportive children and classmates who were older than her, Hamnah was able to stay motivated to complete her course.
“It really inspired me. If an older person can still go down and sit in class every weekend, why not me?”
In turn, she hopes to pay it forward and inspire those older than her as well as those younger to take on new challenges and learn new skills. Most of all, she wants to be a role model for her children and the new hires in her department.
Be Not Afraid of Change
After completing her diploma, Hamnah was not ready to rest on her laurels. She jumped on the chance to participate in IBF’s Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) in 2019, using this opportunity to advance her skills in business writing, critical thinking, and customer service.
With the completion of her 3-month PCP programme, Hamnah moved to a new role in Case Management.
Change is often scary, but fear of change can hold you back from something even better.
For Hamnah, her new role in Case Management is more end-to-end compared to her previous role. It requires her to multi-task, follow-up with clients, conduct tele-interviews, and make critical decisions.
This is a marked difference to the more manual and repetitive tasks she had been doing before. The transition took some adapting to – but it paid off in the end.
“At the beginning it was a bit awkward going through all the processes, like calling the client or the advisor,” she recalled. “And then slowly it came to be like, you know, just normal work.”
“And today I just love it.”
Learning Never Stops
And now she actively seeks out learning opportunities. “Whatever courses that the company or manager sends me, I will be grateful, because it’s something to learn,” she shared.
Her relentless drive to continue learning includes plans to pursue a degree. But it’s not about the paper qualification for her – it’s about the mindset.
“I’m not really a paper person, so degree or diploma is not the issue,” she said candidly.
“I actually care more about the experience of learning, and I want to be an example for my children.”
“I want to teach them that everybody makes mistakes, but what’s important is that you learn from it, use it to upgrade yourself,” she shared. Above all, Hamnah wants her children to believe in themselves and don’t let fear hold them back from progressing, personally and professionally.
For Hamnah’s exemplary demonstration of resilience and can-do attitude, she was awarded the IBF Outstanding Financial Services Professional (OFSP) Award in 2019. The award recognises individuals from financial institutions across Singapore for being role models in adaptability and transformation.
When asked about her future career plans, this dauntless lady says enthusiastically, “I hope that I get more new roles, I want new challenges. I was told that there will be a lot of changes, so there’s something for me to look forward to.”
Hamnah plans to apply this learning and growth mindset for the rest of her life, whether it’s to pick up new skills, level up on her bowling technique, or improve on her kueh-making.
“Every day will be a learning journey, so never stop learning,” she says.
Keen to transition your career into the banking and finance industry? Speak to a career adviser at The Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) to learn about the opportunities available to you.
This article is part of a series of stories on PMETs who have gone through an upskilling or reskilling transformation journey within the banking and finance industry.