Leadership / 02.15.23
AudienceView’s Chiam Gives Her Views on Career, Ticketing Technology and More
This story is brought to you by the INTIX Women in Entertainment Technology Program.
“I actually enjoy work. It’s a privilege to say that. I like making an impact. Twenty years in, I’ve come to appreciate personal connections more over time. Whether I am a coach-mentor to a team member or interacting with a client, it’s about being a partner to them so that we can find ways to achieve value together and ways to get us to our goals. I love driving results!”
So says Jo-Ann Chiam, Vice President of Client Engagement at Toronto-based AudienceView. Chiam is people and client first. But her background is in technology, which has served her well at a software company that has become one of the leading providers of ticketing and e-commerce solutions to the live events industry.
She credits her mother for putting her on the course to success early on. “I was born in Malaysia, and I had a really good role model in my mom when I was younger,” she says. “Why was she was a good role model to me? She started as a teacher, but she became a financial broker. She totally broke the stereotype of what an Asian lady at that time should be doing. This was back in the day when she would be sitting there and having tough conversations about money and stocks and everyone in the room was male. Her advice was ‘Be independent, go do what you want to do, and don’t let anything stop you.’ That really inspired me. That’s why I went to engineering school where I was, like, two out of 200 [the ratio of female to male].”
Chiam found work after graduating with a computer engineering degree from the University of New South Wales in 1992. Among her various posts was Senior Project Manager and Director of Product Development for EDge Interactive in Toronto. AudienceView, though, soon beckoned.
So what does a job like VP of Client Engagement entail? “It can mean so many things. But primarily I am responsible for delivering on the client-facing activities post-sale. That includes partner activations; onboarding clients to the software that we have; any support, training or webinars that we would have for our clients; and so forth.” She also chairs the company’s DEI Council and co-chairs its Women’s Group.
Her challenges are many, though. And she acknowledges the areas of professional life she feels she needs to improve upon. Chiam says, “Sometimes I feel like I am the Michelle Yeoh character in the movie ‘Everything, Everywhere All at Once.’ [Yeoh plays a Chinese-American immigrant who has to connect with parallel universe versions of herself in order to prevent a disaster]. When I watched that movie, I said, ‘Oh my God! That’s my life!’ [laughing] Everything that I try to do and want to do, it can all be overwhelming sometimes. I really strive for honest accountability to myself. Sometimes I say, ‘Well, Jo-Ann, if you’re being frank and honest with yourself, are you really doing the things that you need to do or aren’t you?’ It’s important to have honest conversations with yourself to make sure you’re doing the right things.”
This is sound advice that goes back to the old adage “No one will talk to you more in life than yourself … so tell yourself good things!” Chiam has some very good things to tell young women just starting out in the ticketing and live events field.
“First of all, this is such a wonderful industry to be in,” she says. “My advice to those new to it is to engage in the community and find your support people. This is such a supportive community. You can find your coaches, your mentors, your advocates who will make a real difference in your career. Your advocates are especially important. They are not only going to coach you and mentor you, they’re going to speak about you and promote you when you are not in the room. They’re the ones who are going to shine a light on you.”
Chiam adds, “Beyond the community in ticketing and live events, I would encourage young women to keep a pulse on how rapid technology is changing all around us. I see it because I follow it. It’s very important to find ways to bring ‘new tech’ to our industry.”
New tech is certainly the future of our business and so many other businesses. And looking to that future, the question was posed to Chiam: “Interviewing you here so early in 2023, are you generally optimistic or pessimistic or mixed about 2023 with regards to the business and why?” Chiam declared herself an eternal optimist. But even she admitted that if she were to sit down and really think about 2023, “mixed” is where she is at. “I think the macro-economic cloud is very real,” she says. “The pragmatic part of me realizes that, and our industry needs to be aware of it. Like I said earlier, we want to be a partner to all clients. Part of that is figuring all of this out with them.”
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Tags: Leadership , Ticketing Technology