Grace Lee Hwee Ling’s career has grown in tandem with the Malaysian consumer entertainment company she now helps to run.
As senior vice-president, finance and chief risk officer, I make sure that the Astro Group’s portfolio of media-related companies achieves optimal value-creation capability while also balancing the risk management. My responsibilities include planning, budgeting, forecasting, management and financial reporting processes, revenue assurance and insurance management – plus enterprise risk management. I’m supported by a team of more than 60 specialists.
Climbing the ladder
I’ve been lucky to get the opportunity to immerse myself end-to-end in the consumer media industry ecosystem. I began as an internal auditor specialising in IT, technology, security and special projects. Subsequently, I headed functions such as process transformation, revenue assurance and enterprise risk management before taking on the finance leadership role in 2013.
It would have to be over-delivering on stakeholder or consumer expectation, both internally and externally. This creates an expectation that you will continuously create and add value.
Highlight so far
My current role took me farthest from my comfort zone – I had been away from the more traditional finance role for a large part of my career. The past three years have been exciting, to say the least, as business buy-in and finance transformation resulted in finance being recognised as value-adding and a true business partner.
Take the next step and start thinking like a CFO
I spent my formative professional years at PwC in the assurance and advisory division. When the time came for a career transition in 2001, the media and entertainment industry had the most appeal. Astro was a young start-up and a great place to apply all the best practice I learned at PwC. It was great fun ... we were all learning and growing the business together.
It’s still early days, but the group is expanding across the region. My current focus is to transform the group, its people and processes to be nimbler and more agile to support our growth initiatives. On a personal level, I would like to complete my research thesis on corporate risk governance en route to my DBA [Doctor of Business Administration].
As with all things in life, you need to take charge of your own career. You can have mentors or coaches, but you are ultimately the one personally responsible. So, set clear goals, develop a plan (always with alternatives) and stay focused.
Astro Malaysia Holdings is one of CPA Australia’s recognised employer partners. The Recognised Employer Program acknowledges organisations that have met world-class professional development standards for finance and accounting employees.