HR Champions: Jennifer Cho on local talent with global perspective


  • Title: Vice-president of Island Southeast Asia, Medtronic
  • Office headquarters: Singapore
  • Company operations: Southeast Asia, South Asia, Saipan, and Guam
  • Industry: Medical equipment manufacturing
  • Employees: 700 (Southeast Asia only)

Employee engagement and team development are pillars of Jennifer Cho’s leadership style. She recognises the role that she and HR play in motivating employees and providing them with opportunities to grow within the organisation, thereby supporting their personal careers.

As such, the company prioritises developing a positive culture, employee benefits, and learning and development. Cho herself has initiated a variety of activities to nurture Medtronic talents in Southeast Asia, including ‘Coffee Connection’ sessions to increase transparency and interaction with employees who do not have regular contact with the leadership. Team-building programmes even extend overseas, bringing staff together in one country to hear directly from top management.

Among her talent development initiatives is ‘Shadow a Medtronic Leader’, which partners employees with senior leaders for one week. It’s an enriching experience for staff to acquire firsthand takeaways on leadership and management style as they observe how leaders handle various situations.

Cho also initiated REAL and LEAP: high-impact leadership development programs to help employees with strong performance in advancing their career aspirations, whether they are individual contributors within the company or are in a position of people management. As of writing, two cohorts have already successfully completed a half-year program.

With plenty being done to sustain upskilling and allow employees to see their potential career paths in Medtronic, the company ensures quality service: “Our employees are our biggest brand ambassadors and their efforts help to ensure that we deliver the best possible patient outcomes with our technology and solutions, while achieving business performance at the same time,” Cho shared.

She describes HR-focused leadership as having employees who are “fully aware of the organisation’s people strategy and efforts by the leader to have employees in mind in everything they do”. Moreover, she believes in building a strong pipeline of local talent who can lead with a global perspective without losing their local expertise. Hers is an effortlessly multicultural brand of leadership integral to Medtronic’s success in the region.

Bold and compassionate; proven resilient and intensely mindful of their own humanness, these HR Champions are being revealed one-by-one. The full report, featuring all 15 Champions, is now available for subscriber download.

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Chief of Staff Asia