People and Culture

From Switzerland to Singapore: How Noemi carved out her own path

Noemi Rom
5 minutes to read
With insights from...

  • Learn how Noemi carved out her own role – including a relocation from Europe to Asia – and spearheading a new practice as Head of Digital Consulting. 

  • Discover what her role entails, and why it includes wearing multiple hats, both as a trusted client advisor and also a challenger.

  • Find out what moving from Switzerland to Singapore was like for her and her family.

Switzerland has a lot to boast about, in addition to (amongst other things) its beautiful scenery and delicious chocolate, it’s also Zühlke’s birthplace.

And for Noemi Rom, it was home. What Noemi wanted was adventure. So she relocated to Zühlke’s Singapore office to become its Head of Digital Consulting. With her entire family. During the height of the pandemic. 

Was it always part of her plan?

“I always wanted to work abroad,” she says. “I have two kids, aged six and eight, and wanted to show them that the world is so much bigger than this small country in the middle of Europe. Then Covid hit. When Switzerland decided to close down the border, it urged me to take the initiative, and show my daughters about other cultures… something you can’t do remotely.”

Noemi carefully chooses the organisations she works for to fit her values; and Zühlke’s international footprint was an attractive proposition. However, with no obvious trajectory in place, it fell on Noemi to carve out her own path. A chance meeting helped her find the way.

“I was in a meeting with the group executive committee of Zühlke Group. Amongst others, the CEO of Zühlke Asia was there. I seized the opportunity to introduce myself afterwards properly and shared the idea of joining Zühlke Asia to build up Digital Consulting in Asia, our fastest growing market location.”

“One thing led to another and about 12 weeks later, we landed in Singapore to start the adventure we’d been dreaming of.”

“You can always find a reason to not take a chance, and these things never come at the exact right point in time. But Zühlke was so helpful in our move across the world.”

“We rented our apartment out, canceled the kids’ schools, my husband quit his job and we packed our summer outfits and moved to Singapore, despite a lot of uncertainties.”

Noemi arrived at her new office to find it filled with people from all over the world – boasting 30 different nationalities, from Kazakh to Filipino, and Italian to Australian:

“Diversity leads to better results, especially in innovation. To create a culture and to accommodate for all the differences is a leadership task we should all be more aware of, even if diversity is less obvious.”

Zuhlke Team Singapore

Understanding what clients really need

A Principal Business Consultant before her move, Noemi became Head of Digital Consulting, Asia. 

Leading a team of three, her remit focuses on diversifying Zühlke’s Asia portfolio in the shape of early-stage innovation projects. 

“Digital consulting is a new practice here in Asia, so we’re building a toolkit to solve business problems for our clients. That means understanding stakeholders, their needs and pains before developing and testing ideas.”

“This could be around digital strategy, process digitalisations, new business models or innovation management. Our goal is to become a strategic partner for digital transformation for our clients, from strategy to implementation.”   

Building up a new service line is always a journey into the unknown. It takes an entrepreneurial mindset combined with endurance and a pinch of luck. 

“We need to understand if the offerings from other Zühlke market locations are relevant for the Asian market and what needs to be adjusted to the local needs,” Noemi explains.  

“Say a client approaches us with a request to build a chatbot. It’s on us to understand what problem they are trying to solve with a chatbot and validate if the suggested solution is the best fit.”

Sometimes, the response is to push back on the client’s initial proposal.  

“Where necessary, we challenge them to think differently and, in this case, save them a lot of money by not building a chatbot. A lot of our work is de-risking decisions by early testing. We’re all about adding value in different steps of the value chain.”

Noemi continues:

“As another example, we helped one of our clients define the perfect white labeling strategy for their internally developed and used solution. That meant investigating their to-be customers, designing internal processes and creating a business model and a go to market strategy.”

Team Singapore

Be in the driving seat of your career

Having experienced two different locations, Noemi points to the company’s culture as a key factor behind Zühlke’s success.

“In a lot of ways, it’s just the same as it was back in Switzerland: I get to work with a steady stream of really smart people with novel ideas. Everyone has a desire to push the boundaries and come at things from new angles. And yet there are aspects, unique to each location, which we could leverage even more on a global scale as we grow.”

Noemi urges peers at Zühlke to think about how they might drive their own careers. 

“I’d always recommend that my colleagues carve their own path. With passion, you’ll have no trouble seizing the opportunities that Zühlke offers you - or even better, you can create your own opportunities!”

“It’s important to remember that growth happens outside of your comfort zone. So build your network of people who challenge you, and help you grow. Go further than you think you can, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. I still learn so much, every day. It’s been one year into my new role and I’m only starting to connect the dots.”

Fast-growing Asia brings lots of opportunities, and Noemi couldn’t be happier to take Zühlke’s expertise in digital consulting to the next level in this part of the world. 

“I’m delighted to be here, and look forward to developing our Asia portfolio.”