Stories of Stahl: Lim Yoo Keng
Over the coming months, we’ll be profiling Stahl colleagues around the world as part of our Stories of our poeple series. We’ll be asking them about what led them to our organization, their proudest achievements, and what they enjoy most about their role. In the first story in the series, we catch up with Lim Yoo Keng, Business Director for Performance Coatings for the Australasia region. Despite having recently reached 15 years of service with Stahl in Singapore, she tells us that she’s just getting started...
What first brought you to Stahl?
There was a mixture of personal and professional motivations. The company I was working for at the time had recently relocated me to China. My extended family were in Singapore, so there was a strong personal drive pulling me back if the right opportunity came along.
Stahl was able to offer me just that: my mission was to reach a point of sustainable growth for the Performance Coating business in Australasia. We were quite a small player back then, and arriving at my new office on day one, it all felt like quite a challenge – but I was excited by that!
How far have you come in achieving this mission?
One of our biggest accomplishments as a team has been expanding our geographical reach to new markets. Most of all, I’m proud of the in-roads we’ve made in Japan, which has been a key growth driver for our business in the region.
Building strong connections with our Japanese customers wasn’t easy. Japan has a unique business culture that’s very focused on working to tight deadlines. To gain their trust, we needed to learn to listen to our customers. This helped us better understand their needs and acclimate to their way of working.
What other changes have you observed these past few years?
We’ve definitely seen a shift in culture. As a team, we’re more structured and efficient in how we work. It also feels like we’re more ambitious and confident in what we can achieve.
Our leadership team has played an important role in instilling this mindset across the business. As a leader, it’s your job to help people believe in themselves. With a strong positive attitude, there’s no limit to how much you can grow or what you can achieve!
What do you like most about working at Stahl?
Definitely the people – that’s always the most important part of any organization. We’re a fairly small team in Australasia, but we're a very diverse group, with people from all backgrounds, nationalities, and cultures.
I’ve learned the importance of embracing those differences. There’s nothing more enriching than having open communication between colleagues from around the world and sharing contrasting experiences and opinions. Having these different perspectives challenges you to think differently and open your mind to new ideas.
How have you coped with the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 18 months?
Asia was the first region to experience the pandemic, of course, and we’re still feeling the effects in many of our markets. Working from home is okay, but I miss the little things such as being able to quickly catch up with a colleague when you pass each other in the corridor.
The biggest impact from a business development perspective is not being able to hop on a plane and meet customers and new prospects face-to-face. We’ve had to rely more on our people on the ground, and a lot of these introductions now take place by video call. It forces us to be more organized and to think further ahead, for example with regard to preparing materials – which is no bad thing.
What are your ambitions for the next 15 years?
I want to continue what we started: building our Performance Coating presence in our region. We still have a lot of room to grow, particularly in the non-automotive sectors. And there are always new markets to explore; such as Vietnam – that could be the new Japan for us.
We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing: listening to our customers. You can’t always predict how the market will evolve, but it’s clear where the big growth opportunities will come from. I’m hugely excited about the new, green technologies Stahl is introducing – that is definitely the future!
Are you looking for more information?
Please get in touch with your relevant contact within Stahl: