27 Jul 2015 12:00:00 AM

Panida Grinneback

Interview with Panida Grinneback, Senior Executive, Marketing & Communications at PwC Malaysia.

Panida returned to the workforce after being on a career break for two and a half years and joined PwC Malaysia as a Senior Executive, Marketing & Communications. While working in a new corporate environment in a different country was unfamiliar to her, she enjoyed the new experiences and knowledge gained.

How long were you out of the workforce, and were you involved in other activities during this period?

I was on a career break for two and a half years while living in Wuhan, China. I relocated to Wuhan, like many other expat women, due to my husband’s job. During my third month stay, I chanced upon a group of female expats from a volunteer group called ‘Women of Wuhan’ hosting a charity Craft Fair. After a few lunch meetings with them, I decided to develop a website to help foreign ladies who are unfamiliar with the city to make friends, share knowledge and experiences, as well as to promote the charity group that they support. As part of my contribution, I helped to organise events, take photos, develop the website and connect with those who wrote in.

How did you find your current job?

I came across TalentCorp’s Career Comeback Networking Event and signed up while browsing Groupon. At the event, I had the opportunity to network with several employers while handing out my CV to them. One day, I received a call from PwC and they asked me to apply to a couple of their available positions. I was lucky as it was a matter of being at the right place at the right time.

Does the company provide you with flexible work arrangements?

PwC provides its employees the option to work on flexible work arrangements but I chose not to apply because I do not require it. Nevertheless, I’m comforted by the fact that such flexibility at work is available as and when I need it to be able to manage my personal commitments.

Were there any challenges that you faced before returning to work?

There is always a degree of anticipation tinged with apprehension when starting a new job. For me, the challenge was to see how well I could adapt into a new work environment in a new country.
Be open minded when it comes to opportunities in the job market, and be prepared to learn new skills because you might not be doing exactly what you have done previously.
Panida Grinneback
Do you have any advice for other potential returnees?

I believe it is important to put yourself ‘out there’ when looking for a job and to make an active effort to meet people and to network. Do not be afraid to let it be known that you are looking for employment. If you manage to secure an interview – be yourself and turn the experiences that you have had outside of employment into tangible communicable skills. In the meantime, hone your skills in areas which interest you.

Work experience in any new country is valuable, so for foreigners worried about receiving a local salary, think about it as a great chance to meet people, learn new skills, share your knowledge and experiences from your home country, and develop yourself as someone who is adaptable.

One of the most rewarding experiences I have gained from my work at PwC has been the kaleidoscopic insights my colleagues have taught me about the different cultures which make up Malaysia.

What changes would you like to see in Corporate Malaysia?

I have not been working long enough in Corporate Malaysia to make informed statements. However, I believe it would benefit parents if large organisations offer flexible work arrangements and in-house crèche services. I would also love to see the availability of shared paternity leave offered to new parents.