Thriving on challenges

  • Business
  • Monday, 20 Oct 2003


JADE Lee is a woman of substance. 

The consumer banking division credit card services general manager thrives on challenges.  

“I am always willing to move out of my comfort zone and take challenges even if I have to start from the bottom,” she told Starbiz

Jade Lee

Always on the go, Lee is most satisfied when she is making things happen and seeing her employees grow.  

However, getting 250 people at the card centre to be enthusiastic and passionate about what they do is no easy task. 

Being the person that she is, she wouldn't have wanted it any other way.  

“I wouldn't really like a job that is status-quo,” she quipped. 

Describing herself as a person who is willing to try and not afraid to fail, she keeps on going until the job is done.  

She is often moved, promoted or hired to start new projects, cleaning up, revamping or to step up growth. 

“I am not afraid to make mistakes and I believe in people and am always willing to try out suggestions,” she said, adding that it was important to learn from mistakes and not have any finger pointing when they were made. 

A graduate from Universiti Malaya with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in 1980, Lee worked as a tutor in the university for four years before trying her hand at sales in a local company. 

She joined American Express (Amex) in 1985 as a sales manager and over the years was promoted to director of consumer cards group.  

In 1996, she was headhunted by Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd and joined as credit card services head.  

She moved on to RHB Bank Bhd as its credit card services general manager in 2002. 

Having had 16 immediate bosses over her 23-year career, Lee was constantly challenged and had plenty of exposure to new concepts. 

“I would say my inspiration was Andrew Davison, former general manager of Amex. I learnt business financials, which I am still using today, from him. He also taught me the importance of staff,” she said. 

A woman of much experience in the business world, everything is taken as a learning experience for Lee.  

On the greatest achievement in her career, Lee said: “My latest would be the RHB EVO MasterCard. Although we had a very young team working on the project, with me being the oldest there, they managed to develop and launch the EVO in a record 10 months. 

“I felt like a proud mother then. The EVO was a success. We picked up almost 3,000 cards on the day of the launch itself. Even our chairman Datuk Ali Hassan and my boss Peter England (head of consumer banking division) wanted an EVO card each,” she said. 

Working 10 to 12 hours a day, Lee's weekends and free time are pretty precious. However, she still manages to find time to spend with the less fortunate kids in a home near her house. 

“My husband and I like to take the kids for movies or weekend holidays. We have seen most of the children's movies like Star Wars, Spiderman and X-Men. Kids keep us young,” she said. 

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