HRM Asia’s inaugural Watch List reveal begins

HRM Magazine Asia is set to unveil its highly-anticipated list of next-generation HR leadership talent from across Southeast Asia.
By: | September 26, 2018

There is something about the HR profession that naturally attracts the quiet achiever.

Perhaps because the role is inherently collaborative, an HR leader’s biggest career highlights are often shared across several stakeholders, or even the organisation as a whole. There can sometimes be a lack of celebration and appreciation for the individual at the heart of all that teamwork!

It’s not that you’ll hear anyone complaining – shared celebration is par for the course when it comes to getting the most out of a workforce, no matter what size of organisation is involved. But HRM Magazine Asia’s inaugural Watch List for 2018 aims to give just a little bit of rare individual applause to some of the region’s up and coming HR leadership talent.

Our research team has been scouring throughout Southeast Asia to find workforce leaders who are having a tremendous positive impact on both their organisations and the profession as a whole. They will have shown significant career progression over the last decade, and should now be at the peak of their organisation’s HR hierarchy.

Most of those selected are now directing policy and strategy at a national or multi-market (regional or sub-regional) level. And they are all destined for even bigger things in the not-too-distant future.

Further, they are all passionate advocates for the function.

“The Watch List recognises just a handful of the hundreds of HR folks who are helping their organisations thrive – and not just survive – in the complex business environment facing the world at the moment,” HRM Asia’s editorial director Paul Howell said.

“It doesn’t claim to be the definitive list of HR’s next guard. Rather, it seeks to showcase the enormous diversity of HR professionals in this region and the wide breadth of projects and strategies that they are leading.”

The Watch List features talent from eight of the 10 markets within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with a deliberate emphasis on those based outside of the key economic hub of Singapore.

It is split roughly 50-50 between male and female leaders, and features HR leaders from both huge conglomerates and multinationals, as well as burgeoning start-up enterprises.

“The list is as diverse as the business landscape of the Southeast Asia region itself,” lead journalist Yamini Chinnuswamy said. “It’s been a thrill to unearth these HR leaders and I hope their stories can inspire conversation and further great HR leadership over the years to come.”

The Watch List is being presented with the fantastic support of Armstrong Craven, which specialises in talent mapping, pipelining, and workforce insights. CEO Tom Mason says the company has been in Singapore for three years and is helping its clients get ahead of the competition by taking a more strategic and considered approach to their talent acquisition.

Read more from Mason in the Watch List welcome address. will be unveiling the Watch List profiles one-by-one over the next three weeks, with the list-makers also featured in the October-November issue of HRM Magazine Asia (available from October 23, 2018). Catch up on all the daily posts at the dedicated Watch List microsite.


The HRM Asia Watch List aims to showcase the up and coming generation of HR leadership talent in Southeast Asia. The list will be unveiled daily between September 27 and October 19, 2018. Check the dedicated microsite for the latest updates, follow #hrmwatchlist on social media, or see below. 

Introduction | Welcome address by Tom Mason

Profile #1: Jaspreet Kakar | Profile #2: Dianne Goette | Profile #3: Chen Fong Tuan

Profile #4: Felicia Teh | Profile #5: Monica Oudang | Profile #6: Evangeline Chua

Profile #7: Agapol Na Songkhla | Profile #8: Clayton Tan | Profile #9: Tony Tan

Profile #10: Vanessa Mercado-Maningas | Profile #11: Jahja Soenarta | Profile #12: Minn Yan

Profile #13: Rudy Afandi | Profile #14: Norazlina Idris

Profile #15: Naveen Chhabra | Profile #16: Monir Azzouzi