30 IR stars in 30 days: Jeannie Ong
IR Magazine has a long history of honoring those men, women and companies around the world that excel at investor relations. In celebration of 30 years of IR Magazine, we selected 30 IR stars that have shone particularly brightly over the past three decades and will be posting one profile each day for 30 days, giving you the gift of an IR advent calendar.
For Singapore IR staple Jeannie Ong, who leaves StarHub in December after 17 years, ‘investor relations is both an art and a science’ and something that requires balance. The multi-award-winning Ong helped take the telecoms giant public in 2004, something she describes as one of the highlights of her IR career, the other being her three best IRO awards from IR Magazine in three consecutive years.
So as she moves on from StarHub, what IR advice does Ong offer? Quite a lot, in fact: it’s all about balance, she says. ‘IR is both a science and an art’, and success rests on a combination of hard work and physical and mental preparation. ‘Be body prepared to take all the travelling – jet lag shall not be your middle name! – and be mentally prepared to repeat your stories over and over again,’ advises Ong.
‘You need to be able to read mind and body language,’ she continues. And be humble but bold: ‘Be thick-skinned and ask for a seat in the boardroom – even if it’s only as an observer.’
It’s not all hard work though, as Ong also says IROs should be prepared for lots of fun along the way.
What advice does she feel helped her most over the course of her sparkling IR career? The best piece of advice she received, she says, is that ‘credibility is important. Don’t ever lose it.’
Stay tuned for more IR stars this month and pick up a copy of the winter issue of IR Magazine to see the full list.
A version of this article was published in the winter 2018 issue of IR Magazine – the 30th anniversary issue of the industry’s premier publication.