Compass Ambassador, Michelle Clyde

Who are you?
I am a driven, high energy, highly organised female leader in business and am making change happen where I go by inspiring others. I currently hold the position of Managing Principal , HR Line of Business Value Engineering for APJ & Greater China at SAP, but really am a Strategic Business Partner for HR & IT Transformation. I lead large scale organisational transformation, draft strategy and business case linkage and drive realisation of business benefits from an investment in Integrated Technology Solutions.

Which region are you representing?
My current role covers APJ & Greater China, so would like to be able to cover all of this area as an ambassador if possible. If not, then I am located in Sydney NSW, so this will then be my preference.

Tell us a little about yourself. What is an 'interesting' fact or talent that you have?
I have not been able to add all my experiences in this contribution, but let’s just say in my eyes as a woman in leadership today, I have personally experienced some extreme and opposing experiences in life, which gives me a unique ability to identify with people that are discriminated against for some reason. I have an eye for the outsider, the one that all step on and the introvert. I seek them out and provide support to grow outside of that framework.
Some of these talents (as I like to call it) or experiences include:
  • Achieved the rank of Lieutenant in the South African Defence Force (I volunteered for a year)
    • Achieved the overall best student award
    • Sharp Shooter with an R4 machine gun and 9mm pistol
  • Elected on the Student Representative Council at the University of the Free State
  • Crowned First Princess in the Regional finals of the Miss South Africa Competition
  • Completed a B Sc Microbiology Degree and a Diploma in Management from the University of the Free State

What inspired you to become a Compass Ambassador?
My personal journey on Compass was profound and inspiring, but I know the challenge that we face globally with gender equality is huge. I am particularly passionate about diversity and embracing difference, so therefore want to offer my time, inspiration and support for a great cause to educate and support more women in leadership.

What do you do to support other women in your region?
I do many things, but largely informal. I help identify external talent for my employer, but also provide leadership and development opportunities for women inside the organisation that I believe may have been overlooked. I have improved representation in my own team and continue to drive the female voice. Being an Ambassador can enable me to have more frank conversations and drive the agenda harder.

In your opinion, what do the women in your region need right now?
I think women are in desperate need of the message to be authentic, to be women is a good thing and you need not become someone else. Women need to believe in themselves more and stop doubting that what they bring to the table does not add value. Women need to learn how to build a personal brand that promotes success and sets you up for a bright future as a true contributor to the world out there.

What groups are you involved with?
I am involved in lots of professional technology organisations and have interaction with multiple females in leadership in the technology and Human Resources Industry. To name a few, Events presented by the SAUG (SAP Australia User Group), AHRI, Events presented by Eventful Management, All Technology Partner Events and Initiatives etc. I also follow initiatives like Business Chicks and a few others on Facebook.

What would be your advice to someone who is thinking of registering for the Compass program? What were your top three moments during the program, and what did you learn?
I don’t believe in giving advice, but I will ask the following question - do you believe you have more to offer as a woman in leadership but you just don’t know how or are not exactly sure how to uncover this? If yes, then Compass is for you.
My top three moments:
  • Firstly the fact that I was nominated. Personally and professionally I was in a very dark place, so the program literally lifted me out of that
  • Secondly, I had the realisation that my past experiences and childhood was holding me back in business. Having made this very direct and personal connection, provided a break through in my personal leadership journey as a female leader
  • Lastly, it was my ability to rise above, tie all learning's together and present who I am, my journey and my future plans
This was easily the best experience in my professional career and I am very confident that it will fast track my future possibilities.

What is a quality you admire in other women?
Our internal strengths and endurance and constant focus to collaborate and pull people together for the greater good of the world!

Describe your most powerful leadership moment as a woman...
I have been leading a deep engagement with a complex mining organisation in an all-male environment over the last year. It started off slow, but ultimately the CHRO was so pleased with my Business Case deliverable, that he said; “What Michelle delivered over three days was better than what a top tier consulting firm was trying to deliver over 3 months!” It was a huge victory and a defining moment as a female leader in business!

What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months?
Following Compass, I have uncovered hidden interests and possibilities and aim to be in a HR Director role in the next 12 months.
If not with my current employer, then perhaps with another.

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