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Delia's Story

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

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

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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