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Adaire's Story

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One of the best decisions I made in my professional life was to join SAP in Asia Pacific Japan.

Adaire Fox-Martin

When anniversaries arrive – it creates a moment in time for reflection. It seems like only yesterday that we were working on the anniversary dinner to celebrate our 25th anniversary as SAP in APJ. I remember this well for a number of reasons. I had just been promoted to Regional President and I wanted this event to go so well - but then there was the issue of the suit. For our 25th anniversary, amongst other activities we planned to host a gala dinner for our first 25 customers in APJ. All of whom I am proud to say remained our customers over that period of time.

The key word here is GALA. The day before the GALA dinner my husband and I were chatting and I happened to ask him which suit he would wear the next evening. It didn’t take too long to figure out that there was no suit. That every suit he owned had either been left behind in storage or donated to charity. He didn’t see the need for a suit in Singapore …. even though the word GALA had been used on more than one occasion. That evening we were able to get to a tailor and the next day for the GALA dinner he had a new suit. This is one of the things that I loved about living in Singapore - the speed at which a problem can be resolved, the “always on” mentality and attitude. There are so many cherished memories (thankfully not all of them involving a 24-hour suit) that were created during my time with SAP in APJ.

One of the best decisions I made in my professional life was to join SAP in Asia Pacific Japan. It was a difficult decision for me as my career was progressing along where I was and joining SAP meant that I needed to take a role smaller in scope than the role I was leaving. However, I immediately observed and was immersed in a culture underpinned by an innate respect for each other, for our customers and our partners. I hope that those of you who have joined in the more recent past have also experienced the same thing.

There was never a time that I planned for or expected that I would be appointed President of the region. When this actually happened, I was humbled, honored and scared senseless all at the same time. Not only had I the honor of representing the business of SAP in such a vibrant region but I had a responsibility towards our employees and their families, our partners and their businesses and our customers and their outcomes. As with all significant changes that happen in our lives it is the people around you that make all the difference. I was so fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible group of supportive, caring, creative, energetic and inspiring SAP people. We were all in the deep end and we learned to swim not only together but in formation.

Over the years, as a team, we achieved a lot. Our business grew as our strategy evolved. We began the transformation to the cloud. We opened new offices in existing countries and moved into new countries. We created our vision for the region: Asia Rising. We set up the APJ Advisory Board. We launched the One Billion Lives initiative. We changed many elements of employee benefits so that we could continue to evolve as our people did and as the market did. We set the goal to become the Employer of Choice in every country we operated in. We launched Back to Work. Our customer satisfaction continued to improve. We extended our reach by growing our ecosystem. We gave back to our communities.

More than these achievements though, it is the moments and the people that make SAP APJ so special. The talent nights at FKOM, from ANZ’s Thriller to South Korea’s Gangnam style, from the Bollywood of India to the beautiful artistry of Japan, to the drummers of SEA. The pride in our SAP team at the food distributions and other volunteer activities. The Dinner and Dance. The 1BL Dragons Den. Kids at Work Days. Team dinners. The lion dances. Wearing a sari, a salwar, a kimono, a barong - not all at the same time! Apollo 13. The laughter. The smiles. The tears. The nights spent in airports and sleeping on planes, knowing that no matter how tired you were, the next day was going to make it all worthwhile.

When we first moved to Asia, our plan was to stay for two years. In reality, we stayed for seventeen. The Super Awesome People of SAP in APJ made seventeen years seem like two. You made it easy to stay and hard to leave. I know that as Asia continues to grow and evolve that the best is yet to come. Wishing you all the best for the next 30 years, APJ! It was my honor and the privilege of a lifetime to serve alongside you.

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