4th August 2022

Why I’m Loving the Challenge of Leading Vodafone’s APAC and Middle East Network Deployment Team

Maria Wong
Head of Network Deployment, APAC & Middle Eastern

I’ve been in the Telco industry for many years, working for various global companies here in Hong Kong. Vodafone brought me on board in March 2021 to lead the network deployment team in Asia, managing the core network infrastructure for APAC and the Middle East.  

I lead a team of 16 people who look after 46 Point-of-Presence and six Cable Landing Stations across 17 countries. Our primary focus is to ensure the network is secure, stable and optimised. 

My experience leading teams to build IT systems, expand the global network footprint, develop network products and deliver services to customers equipped me well for this role.

Vodafone’s inclusive environment

By nature, Vodafone is a diverse company because it has staff all over the world. Its culture is truly inclusive and very friendly. I’ve been warmly welcomed by teams across the business. 

Most importantly, unlike in a lot of other tech environments, being female makes no difference to how you’re treated here. At Vodafone, female engineers are given the same opportunities as males in everything whether it’s in network planning, solution design, project management or team management. Many of the senior leaders at Vodafone Technology Group are female. 

As a result, I’ve always felt completely comfortable here. I can share my views and ideas without hesitation. I’ve worked in companies that are known as ‘Big Boys Clubs’ and Vodafone couldn’t be more different! 

My favourite project so far

One of my first projects after joining Vodafone and most challenging is to standardise and automate the network deployment process for connectivity platforms across all regions.

I had close to zero knowledge of the deployment process at that time and was given zero budget, which means we couldn’t engage external vendors to do the work. One of my team members bravely nominated himself to be the Developer, self-learning the Microsoft Power tools, while I played System Designer and Project Manager. 

Together with the support of the rest of the team, we launched the CCE Workflow Management System for the first product in five months. There were frustrations along the journey, but we overcame the hurdles one by one. We were all very proud that we made the impossible possible! I believe it was a great demonstration of the Vodafone spirit: “Experiment, learn fast” and “Create the future”.  

A standout employer 

Vodafone offers a range of flexible working options and benefits that suit the different needs of employees. For example, shorter working weeks, or lengthy paternity leave can be arranged, family/childcare leave is offered, and working overseas or working from home are possible. These are generous when compared to other companies, especially in Asia.

However, career development is definitely a key Vodafone strength as an employer as well. Although I have been managing teams and IT/network projects for many years, it’s a new challenge to be responsible for the core network infrastructure and data centres. I am grateful that Vodafone has the trust in me and has given me a team of experienced engineers to support me to achieve great results.