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International women of risk - I-Ching Lam



Introduce yourself. Tell us your name, your practice and your country. What are you currently focused on?

My name is I-Ching Lim and I’m from the IARCS practice in Japan. My field of expertise is in internal audit and SOX compliance services, supporting many global clients who come to Japan to perform work on their overseas operations.

Tell us why you’re excited to be part of the International Women of Risk (IWOR) community. Why are you an ambassador?

I believe IWOR is aspiring to be a platform where women can come together and share their stories with a network of women in the same profession. Women from all over the world can be an inspiration to each other to help individuals grow, strengthen and realize their own ambition.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

 I started my career as an external auditor in Singapore. After three years, I decided statutory auditing wasn’t really for me, and began looking for opportunities outside the public accounting practice. I tried a couple of different roles in the next few years, which included internal auditing at a large real estate developer and compliance in a major international private bank. Then, almost by chance, a rare opportunity arose for me to move to Tokyo with KPMG in Japan, and that’s where I’ve been ever since.

After almost 12 years with the IARCS practice in Japan, I’ve come to call this place home and built my career here. Looking back, the moves I’ve made during my early career days helped to deepen my exposure to operational and management functions, and enhanced my insights from a corporate perspective to ultimately equip me to excel in my role as a consultant. I finally chose to return to consulting because the job offered fulfilment I never quite found in other corporate roles. The opportunity to work with various clients and industries, constantly being challenged to learn new skills, and keeping myself updated on knowledge and working with teams of both international and Japanese colleagues have kept the job alive and interesting for me.

What excites you about the future of the risk industry – your specific area of focus or the industry overall?

Things are constantly changing and disruption is the new norm. The risk industry is always evolving and as consultants, this means we're also in a constant state of learning, increasing knowledge and upgrading skills to meet new demands. In an era where everyone must embrace technology, it's an exciting time for change, and being in the risk industry offers a front-row seat perspective of the latest innovations and things to come, and an opportunity to be part of it.

Is work-life balance a challenge for you? What is one tactic you use to make it all come together?

As a single living away from home, work-life balance is easier to navigate compared to many who have to juggle between work and family. The absence of need to commit to family means I have greater flexibility in managing my time between work and my private life. Work demands, however, can still get in the way, so I feel it’s important to take breaks to recharge and avoid a burnout or loss of motivation for the job.

I normally adopt a general rule against working excessive long hours – sure, the occasional need to burn the midnight oil may be necessary, but with appropriate prioritization and focused efficiency, high productivity can be achieved within regular hours without the need to compromise on rest and personal health. For personal time-out, going away on vacations is a great way to unwind and see the world. It has been my personal goal to visit a new country or gain a new experience at least once a year. Of course, meeting and cultivating healthy relationships with people who matter in our lives is critical towards maintaining personal connectivity and support.

What advice would you give other women of risk coming up in the industry?

Don’t underestimate your own capabilities to contribute in the workplace and among the community where you are. Even when the odds seem to be against you, know your strengths, commit to produce your best work and let the results speak for themselves. The gender gap has historically deep-seated roots in many cultures, and it’s not uncommon for women to feel shriveled in a male-dominated environment. But the time for change is here, and it’s up to you, and all women of the future to embrace the possibilities and rise to your full potential.