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shifting the conversation

Women’s history month: Shifting the conversation with Yaa Khim Chin

Yaa Khim shares her personal story about adversity and resilience

At Sabre, we are committed to embracing and celebrating our diversity. In this inclusion & engagement series, Shifting the Conversation, our people share their stories to engage in open dialog and shed light on their broad, rich and unique perspectives. In celebration of Women’s History Month, this blog highlights a personal story of adversity and resilience, penned by Sabre’s Yaa Khim Chin, an active member of Women’s Career Network (WCN) inclusion group. WCN gives empowers women to further their career by providing networking and support through championing fair and equal access to leadership opportunities and resources.

In the corporate world, women often face unseen hurdles, especially mothers raising young children. Among these challenges, none looms larger than the pervasive social stigma surrounding single parenthood in the workplace.

When I first arrived in Singapore a decade ago, my son was barely a young toddler. It was just the two of us against the world, without the safety net of family, helpers, relatives or friends. The murmurs of “I don’t know how she could do it” floated through the corridors, hinting at the skepticism and judgment faced by single mothers like myself. I refused to hide behind a facade. Instead, I chose to confront these challenges head-on, armed with honesty and determination.

During my interview at Sabre, I laid bare the realities of my life as a single parent, not seeking pity but fairness. My potential employer needed to understand my situation, not as a plea for special treatment, but as an acknowledgment of my reality. I knew that it was only fair that they knew what and who they were getting – someone with certain constraints, but someone willing to make it up in other forms. I made it clear that being a single mother wasn’t a setback but a testament to my resilience.

The response filled me with hope. It proved to me that honesty and transparency are valued traits, even in the corporate world. Their understanding and empathy filled me with renewed confidence and determination. My current manager continued this support, challenging me to step out of my comfort zone and pushing me toward excellence. Motivated by a deep desire to honor the kindness I’ve received and to create a brighter future for my son and me, I poured my heart and soul into my work and strived to deliver above and beyond in every aspect possible.

The path of a single mother is not without its challenges. There were countless instances where I had to leave work promptly to pick up my young child from childcare, prepare meals after work, attend to my child’s needs, such as school-related events, respond to teachers’ calls on urgent matters, or handle household emergencies during renovations. Despite it all, I made sacrifices to ensure that my professional commitments were consistently met. Opting for quick packed lunches in the office, working after hours once my son was asleep, and even pulling all-nighters when projects demanded it became routine. These sacrifices were my way of balancing the scales, ensuring that my performance never left room for criticism.

Fast forward to today, as my son moves into his teenage years, I find myself investing even more of my time and loyalty into my career at Sabre – going the extra mile to repay the kindness and understanding displayed by my exceptional mentors and colleagues. Their unwavering support fueled my desire to pursue growth and development, from venturing into unfamiliar roles at work to enrolling in an Executive MBA program and delving into self-learning endeavors like mastering the Japanese language. I continue to evolve into a better version of myself and become a more well-rounded contributor to the company.

During Women’s History Month, I find myself reflecting on the winding roads of my journey. Yet, in the quiet moments of reflection, my thoughts are with the countless women who continue to navigate their paths through trials and tribulations. Each bearing burdens unseen by many, I understand all too well the weight of their struggles. Their resilience, often hidden beneath a veil of quiet strength, speaks volumes of their courage and determination. May they find solace in knowing that they are not alone. May my journey also serve as a poignant reminder to all future leaders that recognizing and empathizing with an employee’s personal challenges can inspire unparalleled loyalty and dedication.

Sabre is shifting the conversation with stories from passionate and bold inclusion group members. At the heart of our inclusion & engagement efforts, our eight inclusion groups, and counting, aim to amplify the voices of our team members and create a sense of belonging for all. Together, we celebrate diversity, applaud individuality and embrace unique perspectives to empower our global team members to bring their true selves to work every day. Learn more about our inclusion & engagement mission.

about the author

Yaa Khim Chin is a proud member of the Women’s Career Network (WCN) inclusion group at Sabre. Yaa Khim continues to solve complex challenges in travel as Managing Counsel on the Legal team.

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