Narita Hang Chuon first heard about Common Purpose from a friend who joined the ASEAN Young Leaders Programme back in 2003. Thirteen years on, her friend’s Common Purpose experience is still as relevant as ever and gave Narita more than enough reason to join the ASEAN Leaders Programme in 2016.

As the Head of Local Corporates for ANZ Royal Bank, Narita constantly works with numerous corporate clients and internal stakeholders that come from diverse backgrounds and different cultures.

“Before joining the program, I faced some challenges in dealing with people from different backgrounds and often faced a clash of priority with some stakeholders. With all these challenges I faced, I almost quit my work place.”

For Narita, her biggest takeaway from the ASEAN Leaders Programme was how Cultural Intelligence can help to drive success in a leadership position such as hers where every day she faces diversity and differences in culture – whether that’s with work, priorities, language or background.

“After I attended the ASEAN Leaders Programme, I learned a new concept - Cultural Intelligence (CQ). I used CQ by first trying to understand the culture of stakeholders that I deal with. Only by understanding and listening would I then be able to apply the right strategy at the right time. I realized that by putting myself in other people shoes, helping them to understand about me, my culture and my expectation while also understanding their culture and expectation was the key in crossing boundaries.”

Leading beyond the Work Place

The programme also helped to inspire Narita to use her knowledge and networks to help others within her community. Narita doesn't just challenge herself professionally, in her spare time she is a passionate advocate for women and is the instigator of a series of local projects providing education and opportunity for those girls who may not otherwise have reached their full potential. 

Narita was recently elected as one of the board members of CWEA – Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association. CWEA supports women-owned businesses in Cambodia and empowers them to make a meaningful impact on the economic development of Cambodia. In this role, Narita will continue to lead and inspire the next set of leaders and help Phnom Penh become an inclusive city.