A true pioneer in the world of innovation, Jo Ann Lim has crafted an extraordinary career at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. She embarked on her journey at Maxis Berhad, starting as a management graduate and ascending to the position of department head. Along the way, she led diverse projects, from overseeing the 2G-3G transition in India to collaborating on the launch of new smartphones with Samsung in Korea and London.
Now, at Meta, Jo Ann has been instrumental in forging and nurturing partnerships that have transformed the WhatsApp Business Platform in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) market. She has also taken on a new role where she stands at the vanguard of assisting corporations in envisioning the future of virtual reality for work and bringing the Metaverse vision to life.
“I’ve always been involved with the latest technologies, adapting to the rapid changes in the field,” Jo Ann shares, underscoring her lifelong passion for product management and technological advancement in the industry.
Discovering Home from Afar
The fertile lands of Malaysia served as Jo Ann’s initial stepping stone, but her career propelled her to diverse corners of the world, providing her with a comprehensive perspective on the realities of life abroad. “Some people move to escape various issues and then realise that living abroad comes with challenges,” she observes.
Her international stints, especially in India, Korea, and the UK, deepened her appreciation for Malaysia. “What surprised me most is realising how good we have it in Malaysia,” she recalls, citing Malaysia’s efficient services. Yet, her time abroad made her reflect on her quality of life, especially when considering her child’s future.
Dispelling Overseas Myths
“Moving overseas doesn’t automatically offer a better life,” Jo Ann emphasises, breaking the myth that greener pastures await abroad. Living abroad comes with unique hurdles, from steep heating bills in winter to high taxation. Despite a fruitful career, Jo Ann acknowledges that she makes less money after taxes than her peers in Malaysia, providing a down-to-earth viewpoint for those who may be tempted by the idea of living abroad.
Jo Ann is quick to clarify, “Living abroad is undoubtedly enriching, but it’s not without its challenges. Every country has its unique set of hurdles.” She praises Malaysia’s healthcare system, drawing comparisons with her experiences in the UK.
Despite her global adventures, Jo Ann reserves a special place in her heart for Malaysia. “I have a deep love for Malaysia, and I’ve always envisioned retiring there,” she confesses.
The Joys and Challenges of Raising a Family Abroad
Her experiences have shaped her perspective on nurturing a family, gravitating towards Malaysia’s balanced lifestyle, a place where quality of life isn’t compromised by intense competition.
“When thinking about raising children, the lifestyle in Malaysia seems more balanced,” she explains, cherishing the more moderate demands placed on children in her homeland.
Nurturing Roots in Foreign Soil
Despite her extensive international career, Jo Ann finds solace in the familiar. She and her husband have cultivated a cherished pastime of cooking spicy meals and experimenting with new recipes.
“Here in the UK, even if you have the means, many places close early,” she notes, underscoring the delight she finds in infusing her UK kitchen with a touch of Malaysia.
Cooking has evolved from a routine household chore into a journey of exploration and a means of nurturing her connection with her Malaysian heritage. Preparing spicy dishes at least once a week has become a treasured ritual. “My husband and I have taken to exploring new recipes,” she enthuses. “Conversations about Malaysia and its cuisine are commonplace.”
This shared passion for Malaysian cuisine with a community of Malaysians in London serves as a comforting reminder of home, a shared joy that transcends geographical boundaries. While London offers a plethora of culinary options, Jo Ann openly admits to missing certain Malaysian delicacies, underscoring how food remains an enduring link to her Malaysian roots.
The Heartbeat of Connection
Despite the distance between Malaysia and the UK, Jo Ann diligently nurtures bonds with her family through regular visits and technology, especially through WhatsApp.
“I visit Malaysia at least once yearly, typically during festive seasons like Chinese New Year. I maintain close contact with my family through apps like WhatsApp,” she reveals. Through tradition and technology, Jo Ann ensures that distance doesn’t dilute her connections.
As Jo Ann reflects on her journey, she emphasises the importance of adaptability. “It means accepting things differently from what you know. It might push you to learn a new language or customs.” Jo Ann’s story offers insight into her world and a lesson on embracing change, resilience, and cherishing home’s familiar comforts.
Jo Ann’s perspective on MyHeart carried out by TalentCorp adds another layer of insight to her story, “I support the MyHeart platform and believe in the importance of building a network of relationships among Malaysians, both domestically and abroad.”
“This is a valuable initiative that connects Malaysians worldwide. It offers numerous benefits, particularly for Malaysians seeking to connect with others, fostering a sense of unity and collaboration,” she adds.
If you’re a Malaysian residing abroad like Jo Ann, join MyHeart to be part of a global community with Malaysians at its heart.