Unlock your potential by taking the first step!

Small steps can make a big difference!

Celina is a lawyer by training. She did her Bachelor of Laws in Australia and her Master of Laws in Hong Kong.  After working as a lawyer in Australia, she worked for a big international law firm in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where she met BAYER.  Celina joined Bayer’s in-house legal department in Greater China, during a time of unprecedented and fast change and development in China.

After heading the Bayer legal department in Greater China, she became CEO of Bayer for the North ASEAN region (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos) based in Bangkok, Thailand.  Thereafter, she became President of Bayer in Greater China, at that time, the third biggest market for Bayer globally.  She is now retired and living in Australia.


Celina Chew is a successful leader who has accomplished a great deal throughout her career. Born in Malaysia, Chew and her family moved to Perth, Australia when she was just nine years old. Despite enjoying a good life in Australia, she always felt a bit out of place and decided to go back to Asia to study and work in China. Her approach to life is to go with the flow, try out experiences, and be open to ideas that catch her interest rather than following a mapped-out path towards particular goals.

Chew’s leadership style is focused on creating an environment where her colleagues feel empowered, encouraged, and enabled to be innovative. During her time as President of Bayer in Greater China, she directed creativity and enthusiasm towards the company’s mission and objectives. She believes that clear objectives or directions are important when trying to encourage and generate innovation, and it’s essential to address the issues and the problems that need to be solved.

One example of Chew’s innovative initiatives during her last years at Bayer was the Grants for Apps (or G4A) Shanghai, an annual digital health incubator program that brought local start-ups with digital health solutions into Bayer’s office in Shanghai for 88 days. During the program, the start-ups would engage with Bayer colleagues and business partners, who would provide mentoring, support, and access to their networks and expertise to help the start-ups progress. Chew saw G4A as a good vehicle to broaden the more traditional views of what is innovation and where innovation could come from. Innovation in a company is not limited to the responsibility of just R&D colleagues, engineers, or whoever we usually think of as innovators. Everyone can contribute to new ways of doing things that add value, and Chew believed that engaging with start-ups was a good way for colleagues to be exposed to these ideas, through action rather than PowerPoint presentations.

Chew’s leadership style is less “command and control” and more about the power of the collective. She believes that it is more interesting and effective to enable the collective, and each person in that collective, to contribute and shape the enterprise, rather than merely asking people to “execute” a plan. Giving people the opportunity to have an impact often brings out the best in them.

In conclusion, Chew’s approach to leadership and innovation is centered on empowering others, encouraging experimentation and creativity, and having a clear focus on objectives and directions. Her innovative initiatives, such as G4A Shanghai, have been invaluable in broadening traditional views of what is innovation and where innovation could come from. Chew’s advice for women who are ready to unfold their innovation power is to take the first steps, begin with small steps and build confidence, and learn from any missteps along the way. It is clear that Chew’s innovative and empowering leadership style has helped her achieve great success in her career.

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