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Blog It Forward – Annie Chan

I was invited by Graham Robinson , a respectable SAP Mentor, to participate in Blog it Forward Challenge (Thanks Graham!) . Although I only got engaged with Graham this year but we have shared an interesting phone conversation over my first blog. I am looking forward to meet him in person soon.

If you are new to the Blog it Forward Challenge? Just head to Moshe Naveh’s blog to find out the details of this positive initiaitve.

Check out this chain of blogs as well, you might know some names and able to know them better via their blogs.


My SAP Career started back in 2001 when I was working as a System Administrator for an Aviation company. The small SAP Basis team needed an additional pair of hands to help look after day-to-day SAP administration tasks and SAP Security and I was offered by my ex-SAP Basis lead to join the team. On-the-job training and a few BC courses started my Basis journey and till today.

Before doing SAP ……

My first job after school is a Multimedia programmer, the days when Computer-Based Training is a ‘hot’ thing. I learnt Photoshop during those days and I looked at pretty graphics and pictures daily but found it unchallenging. I moved on to join a small IT firm and did pre-sales, support and post-sales of a Point-Of-Sales system. I was 19 and was almost scared to death when I was doing a product demo with a customer that I knew a button doesn’t work. (In my mind, I kept telling myself: “Don’t press THAT button!”). At the end of the demo, I survived. By the way, the company no longer exists. 

I moved on again and this time, I was selling Robotic modems and doing web development in a small retail shop. Internet came into the scene and the terms BBS, HTML, Netscape were as hot as equivalent to iPhone5 now. I enjoyed the customer service part very much but not so much of work satisfaction. My next position is a technical support role in an Aviation company where I got to roam around aircraft hangers, walked under a bare aircraft and pay $0 to gym to get a slim figure, regardless how much I ate. I were there supporting Novell, Lotus Notes, Cisco, LAN, in-house programs and other IT operation activities. During the seven years in this company, I had attained advance diploma in Networking,  degree in Computing and met many good and humble IT people and Aviation engineers whom I am in contact till today. The days when I was cycling in a bike, going around the aircraft hangers to provide IT support to my end-users were memorable. The priviledge for a lady to enter non-commercial airbases that were not accessible by the public was an unique experience. Looking back, I have to thank this company for providing me so much learning opportunity and experience to grow as a young adult.


In 2005, I moved to beautiful Melbourne, Australia and stayed. This was a decision that again, opened up so much opportunity, learnings and friendships that I could not have possibly imagined. A decision that had changed my life totally.

In 2006, my family came to Australia to visit me. This is the first time that my parents had travelled to a Western country and everything was new to them. We visited Shire of Remembrance that is an important site for the Aussies to remember their war heros and Healesville Sanctuary to see the well-known Australian animals i.e. koala and kangaroos.


How lucky I am ……

In late 2007, I was fortunate to be given the chance to work in our Europe office in Lausanne, Switzerland for a short period of time. Over the weekend, I  drove around the town and visit places of interests. One of the beautiful places that I went was Rochers De Naye, a mountain of the Swiss Alps, located at Montreux. The magnificent feeling I had when I was standing at the top is unforgetable, one of the most beautiful experience I have in my life.

Another place of interest I headed to is Olympique Parc Lausanne. In the Olympic Museum, there were many beautiful display that showed the significance of the Olympic event.


Anwsering to Graham’s questions:

Who are your role models – and why?

From work aspect, I see my ex-upline managers as my role models. Apart from great work knowledge, they are also great leaders, solid, decisive yet caring, supportive, open and humble. Great leadership qualities that I could and would learn from.

In life, Buddha is my role model. Be compassionate, humble and be kind. Do and act right (Integrity) as a human being when it is a gift to be in a human form.

What can we do to attract students to the IT industry?“.

My first encounter of computer was in high school. I was amazed by Lotus 1-2-3 when I saw the black and green words screen did the auto-calculation if I changed the number in cell  1 and cell 2.   I was keen to learn how to do it and that perhaps marked the beginning of my IT route.

Times are different now. Many young ones are already using or exploring technologies online before they even sign themselves up to an IT course. Hence, what I would ‘sell’ to them is the importance of IT role and responsibility in the society and how one could make a difference if they were part of a team that came up with a piece of technology, an idea that could improve one’s life. Afterall, everyone wants to be great and doing something meaningful in life. So, perhaps, we could contact IT professions from Medical, Police Force, Education fields and seek their participation to share their IT stories with the young ones in high school. Make it easy for them to enjoy an IT person’s journey and hopefully find it inspiring enough to join the IT force in future.

Secondly, share with them the potential opportunity and exposure in life of an IT professional. Although not eveyone could be a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, but being an unknown IT professional could also be rewarding. It is not uncommon that many SAP or IT professionals work mobile, travel to overseas, gain respect and recognition from their peers. Potentially, they could also be an Independent Consultant and be their own boss like Graham Robinson.

Lastly, to continue the chain, I have selected Jansi Rani Murugesan and Flavie Dode . The questions I would like to ask them are:

  1. What do you enjoy most being a SAP professional?
  2. What will you do if you get a day off from work?
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  • Annie –

    Great Blog It Forward

    I enjoyed your pictures and your career history too. 

    I especially liked this:

    Be compassionate, humble and be kind. Do and act right (Integrity) as a human being when it is a gift to be in a human form.

    Something to remember for us all.


    • Arrr….still feel pretty daunting to put myself in the public, to be honest. I’ll try. 😉 By the way, how do you like me to address you? I know you are known as Robbo but I am junior than you in any way, feels disrepect to just call you ‘Robbo’.

  • Hi Annie,
    I am so glad that Graham #BIFfed you!  I love the idea of contacting IT professionals in Medical, Police and Education fields to share stories with young people – perhaps even younger than high school?  I have two boys, and when they were young (ages 6-10) they both thought it would be cool to be a doctor or a policeman.  Why not ‘strike while the iron is hot’ and get kids’ attention on IT then? 

    When you do get to meet Graham In-Real-Life, you will not be disappointed!


    • Hi Sue,

      I do wonder when and why kids think being a doctor or a policeman is cool, where and how they get that idea from. TV? I think it’s good speaking to pri and high school teachers to understand when is a ‘good’ time to deliver such ‘career info’ or profession options to them. Some parents might not want their kids to get indulge into technologies at a very young age, they might still want them to climb trees, play with mud and enjoy the beauty of nature. 🙂

      What are your boys’ favourite toys and activities now?

      • Hi Annie,

        Actually, I recall trying to explain programming to  5 year olds  – I think they preferred the trees and mud too.  But maybe something stuck to one or two of them?

        I am pleased that my employer offers great ‘outreach’ programs (‘Science on Saturday’) – which would be very cool and fun if your mother didn’t want to take you.

        These days, 12YO likes video games, but also outdoors.  I believe he wants to be a video game developer.  And 18YO is in college, so I am no longer privy to his toys and activities 🙂 .


        • It’s always good to start something from young, better early than late and yes, it will struck the ones that has a geek gene in them. 😉

          Science on Saturday……perhaps you could share more on this event in one of your blog?

          My 9YO nephew loves his Wii games, the 13YO one is always glued to his school laptop, not sure if they are keen in IT, but the parents whom are both accountants think life of an IT person is tough, especially when they have to do the work when everybody is sleeping or enjoying the weekends and holidays.

          • Ha, tag, you’re it!    I just blogged about only ONE of MIT’s initiatives, which would be perfect for your nephews.  Now if only we could get them to Boston in November (which is pretty close to being winter). 

            I will be sure to include Science on Saturday too. 

            Thanks for inspiring me, Annie!

  • Integrity.  One of the most important words in the English dictionary and one that has equal weight in personal as well as professional life.  Beautiful that you raise it here.

    I love your writing.  Am intrigued by your biographical details.  Is it rude to ask in which country you were born? 

    The fun thing about this bif initiative (*okay one of the fun things) is the ability to create affinity which is a form of empathy.  We listen and put things into the context of those things which we can relate to or have experienced in our own life.  It’s wonderous how that works when we might have different cultures, ages, genders and yet there is something so binding in the common human experience.  What this exercise of blogging forward does is give us access to our shared humanity that transends roles, geographies, accepted social norms.

    And I find it funny that I can relate deeply to the special access to aviation hangers.  I once taught a weeklong ABAP class in the same physical location where Black Hawk helicopters were being produced (or should I say one of those things churned out every so often).  Imagine a whole industry based on the manufacture of a single product and that single product as a “one off”.  Unlike you they would never allow me back to visit I guess but when I was “inside” I got treated to a fabulous once-in-a-lifetime tour.  So yep, being a techie girl has some advantages for “special access”.

    Anne Hardy one of my heroines, started a program to introduce young women (middle school age) to IT.  Look up Dare 2B Digital to read more about it.  It would be great to join forces around that flag.  What a great idea to start earlier and include boys as well!

    • Thanks for the compliment 😳 , am sure there are many Grammar mistakes in that small article, haha. I could write better if it is in Chinese.

      I appluad for this bif initiative and believe it draws people closer which indirectly creates stronger collaboration and, perhaps produce better working relationship when people have a chance to work together.

      >>A techie girl has some advantages for “special access”.

      Not only special access to places and things but also a higher percentage of meeting a potential right guy in a male dominated industry 😏

      Lastly, I am from Singapore.


  • Hi Annie,

    True!! You are Lucky!!! 🙂

    I admired about your broad view on attracting students to IT Industry. ………. even ..while I was doing my high school.. I could say…I get attracted to Science ( Honest that time I don’t know SAP is existed)… it was by my school Vice president who usually takes us to Medical colleges, Engineering colleges and big Motor industries.. visiting all such places and knowing about science I gradually lost my interest in history,, started digging deep into technology, inventions… thanks for reminding those evergreen moments…

    Great sharing!!!



    • Thanks for your kind words, Jansi. I thought I was going to be a writer when I was in high school. Science is just a compulsory subject I needed to pass in school, and the term ‘Computer’ is a complete unknown thing to me back then. I am doing what I am doing mainly due to my hunger of learning and we all know there is no end of learning in SAP, in IT and in life.


  • Hi Annie,

    Thank you so much for sharing about you and your experience. It was very interesting and different to read you BIF. Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing fantabulous blog. Keep rocking and sharing new innovation and ideas. I love to read your blogs and happy to comment it.

    Have a nice day!:)


    Hari Suseelan

    • Thanks for the reply, Suseelan. To be honest, it has been a challenge to achieve a balance to blog with useful content and at the same time not crossing the line. Still trying to figure it out…..Goodluck to me. 😉