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Delia Deng

Solutions Consultant, SAP Ariba

I am passionate about companies' driving their investments towards diverse businesses (Indigenous, LGBT, sustainability, etc) and I am proud that the software I sell facilitates this.

Delia Deng

At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.

"I was born in New Zealand, grew up in Australia, and my cultural background is Chinese. It was difficult growing up as a closeted Asian Kiwi-Aussie; you can imagine the identity crisis I went through as an adolescent. Even though I was surrounded by culturally alike peers, I felt disconnected, because I couldn’t truly be myself. To escape from reality, I spent the majority of my youth within the multiplayer cyber universe of a fantasy gamer world.

In my final year of high school, I found my strength in Mathematics. There is a pattern to numbers; every math problem has a logical solution. I began applying this approach to English by memorising the patterns within exam questions. While my peers reviewed high school exam papers from the previous three years, I studied papers from the past 20 years. The hard work paid off when I was placed in the top 1% of the country. It was a pleasant surprise to everyone, including myself.

I eventually graduated from Macquarie University with a double degree in Economics and Mathematics. It was during this time that I found a connection to the wider world through running non-profit projects, leading passionate teams and connecting with corporate leaders willing to give back to the community. This kickstarted my corporate journey, and I landed a full-time internship at a large global tech company. However, despite my wins at university, I still faced many personal battles in the closet. I threw all my energy into working, studying, and working even more. I was building up my trophies, so that one day, should someone discover this particular ‘flaw’ of mine, I was armed with a showcase of accolades to justify my existence.

Despite being in a dark place, other doors began opening for me. Because of my hard work, I got stints in various operations, compliance and risk teams in large financial companies. I even felt comfortable enough to be on the steering committee to establish a Pride Network for the Australian chapter of a global bank.

However, like a typical millennial, I wanted more from my job. I longed to work overseas, put my face in front of customers, solve problems with innovative solutions and have the skills and confidence to empower other people. I was referred to the SAP Presales Academy Program by a friend at the social enterprise I was part of. The clincher was learning that SAP Academy candidates undergo six months of training in Silicon Valley. I made it my goal.

I started my SAP journey in April 2017 and it has been a fantastic experience from the start. In SAP Academy, world-class trainers challenged us daily to push our boundaries, yet at the same time, it was a safe space for us to experiment and flourish. The people I met were not simply a network of global associates learning about business processes and software, they became supportive friends. My Academy bestie is now my French ‘tour guide’ when I'm in Paris, and I'll be a 'groomsman' to my work mate when he gets married in Hawaii. I was even invited back to the U.S. to teach the new wave of Presales Academy associates and share some of my stories.

Professionally, I have come so far. I used to rely on notes and avoided eye contact during presentations. Now, I am confident to conduct meetings with C-suite executives as a Solutions Consultant. Procurement used to be a foreign function to me. Now I can talk about procure-to-pay processes, business-to-business networks and supplier risks. I am also passionate about companies' driving their investments towards diverse businesses (Indigenous, LGBT, sustainability, etc) and I am proud that the software I sell facilitates this.

On a personal level, I used to overthink my responses to ‘how was your weekend?’. Now I can answer that question every Monday confidently, sharing with colleagues that I lifted weights with my girlfriend, and enjoyed smashed avocado toast for brunch. I love how SAP cultivates a culture of telling it like it is. Looking back, while the closet no longer weighs on my shoulders, I still carry my habit of collecting accolades and that drives me to do better.

In my short tenure at SAP so far, I have achieved many goals that people would consider successes. But I define my own success. Success is making my parents and my girlfriend proud of who I am. It is experiencing a career in other countries. It is showing a closeted Asian Kiwi-Aussie out there, that they are not alone, and that we are able to smash all kinds of ceilings."

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