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“Planting seeds of change in the corporate sector”

Some of us figure out over time what it is that we want in our careers; others find out early on. Environmental activist Renard Siew belongs to the second group. In his formative years, a series of floods hit his hometown of Kuantan – a catastrophe that took lives. It was a devastating event that would push Renard to make a stand: he would make advancing sustainability his life’s work.

Today, Renard is one of Malaysia’s most prominent sustainability and climate change leaders, receiving awards and accolades for his work in the public and private sector. But, like everyone else, he started from zero. When Renard started his career, frameworks like environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) were still fresh concepts in the corporate discourse. Even today, sustainability remains fairly new to most companies in Malaysia.

Developing a career in a landscape like this requires finesse, and a little help – help that Renard got from Shanggar Marimutu, Manager at Robert Walters Malaysia.

“I’m not looking for just a job. I want a fulfilling career where I can keep growing,” Renard notes. “I always look at where the sustainability function sits within a company because that’s an indicator of how the business views sustainability as part of the corporate strategy. Plus, a fantastic work culture is also important. Trying to find the right fit isn’t always easy.”

These are conditions that Shanggar have come to understand well. As Renard explains,

The job search can be a very personal endeavour. I could open up to Shanggar because he truly listens. I can be honest about what I’m looking for and the pitfalls I’m trying to avoid.

Those honest conversations have become a springboard for Renard’s career. Over the years, Renard leveled up at work through opportunities that Shanggar had found for him. “Shanggar made recommendations that matched my career aspirations and preferences. He and his team were extremely professional throughout – from our initial engagement to setting up the interviews and communicating the outcome.”

In total, Renard made two moves in his career together with the Robert Walters Malaysia team, including his current position as the Head of Corporate Sustainability at a leading energy infrastructure and technology company.

Fighting climate change is an undertaking that takes years. Though it’s a long road ahead, Renard has found a trusted ally. “Robert Walters takes time to build trust and real relationships,” he says. “It’s something I really appreciate as I try to find the places where I can make the most impact.”

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