April Srivikorn Google Thailand Head of Strategic Partnerships

by Jocelyn Pollak
Google Thailand

If you had to choose just three phrases that embody you, what would they be? Collaborative client partner, strategic problem solver, positivity and resilience as a leader are the three phrases that April Srivikorn, Google Thailand Head of Strategic Partnerships, has chosen for herself. After taking some time to sit down and talk with me about her career, her life and her job advice, it’s no wonder why April chose these words for herself. April was born in the US to Thai parents who operated hotels in Southern California. The hotel industry is constantly changing which is why April believes she learned to swerve and problem solves at a very young age. When she was 6, she moved to Thailand and skipped through 4 years of elementary school. Incredibly, she enrolled in college at just 14 years old. She completed her degree in economics from Stanford in the year 2000, where she later returned for her MBA. Fresh out of college and with the dot-com bubble bursting, the job market was extremely competitive.

April

April took her first job in Bangkok as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company focusing on basic materials companies in emerging markets. At the time, this niche was still new so April had a chance to make a name for herself, and she did. She shared an interesting story about her very first consulting job in Bangladesh. It was a ten week assignment for a large cement company. Within the first week, her teammates got crippling food poisoning and there was a major flood. On top of that, upon meeting the (older male) client, he excused himself from the meeting and went out to buy flowers for her because he was so unaccustomed to working with women, that’s all he knew to do to properly welcome her. Talk about needing to have resilience and problem-solving skills in a totally new and challenging environment. After the successful completion of her first assignment, April took on more and more projects in the developing markets because no one else really was actively seeking them. April,on the other hand,saw opportunity.She quickly became the emerging market expert and was on the fast track to a full project manager role.After just four years at McKinsey,she was promoted to be a project manager.


At that point in her career, her three phrases were: emerging market expert, quick problem solver, resilient with a can-do mindset. From this period in her professional life, April learned “…to take the risks, if you can. Be flexible and open with plans you have set out, because you don’t know when the opportunities will come.”Halfway through her nearly eight-year stint at McKinsey, April took a bit of a leap to work for a start-up Malaysian clean tech company for a year. The company is focused on green technology and clean biotechnology. Projects included things like recycling rubber to make various consumer goods. Here, April gained experience in implementation but also in working with small businesses and partners in the start-up sphere. These skills would serve her well later with her diverse responsibilities at Google. She then returned to McKinsey briefly. Soon however, after 10 years in consulting, April decided it was time to move from an advisory role into an implementation role. Before moving into her current position as Google Head of Industry, April spent 5 years with the Central Group as the Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President for Central Pattana.

Google traners

She was tasked with getting the organisation ready to scale. During her tenure, the number of malls in operation expanded from 14 to 30 and revenue had also nearly doubled. Following the growth spurt, her focus shifted towards finding efficiencies in the current operations. Ultimately this job at Central Group led her into her current role at Google because April found that the part that really excited her, much like early in her career, was the growth opportunity. Technology is obviously an area where an opportunity for growth seems almost limitless so the transition to Google was a welcome one. At Google Thailand, April is Head of Industry for three verticals : Banking/Financial Services, Conglomerates and Tech/Telecom. The Thailand business focuses mostly on Sales and Marketing rather than tech development (which happens mostly at the regional hubs) and teams are organised by verticals. There are roughly 70 employees working in Bangkok, almost all of whom are Thai. But don’t mistake the small staff for a small market. Thais currently spend more time on the internet than any other country in the world, a staggering 9 hours and 38 minutes per day according to a 2018 report by digital marketing agency We Are Social. With Google being the number one visited site in the Kingdom, it’s no wonder that April and her teams stay busy.

Smile

Google Thailand continues to focus on four areas in the coming years – affordable access, education, localised content and product, and digitisation of SMEs. Google is working on a lot of really exciting projects in Thailand right now. One of which is to open a huge training facility for new grads to come and learn from Google trainers. They also have a partnership with SCB to better serve the thousands of small businesses and help them build their digital footprint. For anyone who drives a motorcycle, you may have noticed the Google maps motorcycle feature that allows you to switch your navigation to a programme that recognises small Sois and alleyways that are too small for cars, but are fine for two wheelers. These are just a small taste of what Google is working on here. April’s career advice is two fold. First, she believes periodic self-reflection is critical; you must be clear about your purpose and your goal.“ You need to develop a personal narrative. What do you want to stand for? But be concise so that people can remember it. ”Hence her three phrase self-assessment. Second, she believes in being open to taking risks and taking hold of opportunities, especially early on in your career.“ Push yourself to seek out those stretch opportunities that would be good to showcase what you can do.” Over her relatively short career of just 20 years, April Srivikorn has proven herself an extremely valuable asset time and time again. Yet,her impactful advice is so simple.At the end of the interview,I was left feeling inspired and went straight to work thinking of my own personal narrative and phrases.What are your three phrases?

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