Rafidah Jumal’s career kicked off when she received a Shell Malaysia Scholarship 18 years ago, giving her the opportunity to do a three-month internship at the company. The graduate interview shortly after led to her permanent employment and she hasn’t looked back since.

She has worked as Management Accountant in Malaysia Downstream, Finance Manager at the Gas to Liquids plant (Shell middle distillate synthesis) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Finance Manager for Malaysia and Singapore before taking on a Project Manager System Implementation role.

She also spent a few years in London and The Hague, working in Group Reporting before returning to Malaysia to join Retail as Cluster Finance Manager, covering Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. In her current role, Cluster Finance Manager, South East Asia – Global Commercial, she oversees more than seven countries.

For Rafidah, it’s all about the people and their passion for what they do. “You get such a great mix of diverse talents, cultures, backgrounds and innovative ideas. Passionate people have vision, tenacity and a need to explore new things. Couple this with Shell’s business principles of honesty, integrity and respect for people and the environment, and you’ve got a winning combination. I also love that the company prioritises safety as much as it does – it ensures we all go home to our families at the end of the day,” she explains.

“Family is so important. I’ve learnt my most valuable leadership skills from being a mother and a wife – compassion, humility, authenticity and the ability to truly listen to people, help me to be a better manager,” she shares. “If life at home is out of balance, it will ultimately spill over into your work.”

"I’ve always had the freedom to take charge of my own career. The options are endless - I’ve worked in many different functions in various countries."

Shell’s flexible working policy is another way in which the company helps its employees. “There’s a great understanding in Shell that we are not only businesspeople, but also people with families and interests outside of work. It’s good to know that I can manage my time around the needs of my husband Abdullah and our four children, Faris (16), Izzaty (14), Maisarah (11) and Aishah (5).

I spend about 30% of my time travelling for work, so when I return from a business trip, it’s great to be able to work from home the following day. It helps me to unwind and recover from travel,” she says.

Years ago, she played a part in implementing flexible working when she and a few other women joined the Shell Women’s Aspiration Network (SWAN) and proposed more flexible working practises, which included working from home. They also managed to change the length of maternity leave in Shell Malaysia and with childcare services in the building, parents have much more support than they did 15 years ago.

Ultimately, Rafidah sees Shell as a company of opportunity. “I’ve always had the freedom to take charge of my own career. The options are endless – I’ve worked in many different functions in various countries. Shell’s emphasis on continuous development of their employees through structured learning and training, job rotation and in-role development, allows me to always look forward to new things,” she says. “Each step today, turns me into a better leader tomorrow.”

Quick quotes

  • “I enjoy drinking coffee before bed – somehow caffeine does not keep me awake. I can’t fall asleep if I haven’t had my bedtime coffee.”
  • “My life would not be the same without my iPhone – it’s so easy to talk to my family on FaceTime when I need to travel for work. But we have a strict no-phone policy during family meal times.”
  • “The one value I’d like to instil in my kids is humility. Last year we decided to spend some of our savings on charity. I’d like to teach my kids not to be selfish and to think about others as well.”

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