Get to know our EXCO: Sithen Kem

Today, we dig deep into the life of Sithen Kem, one of our esteemed EXCOs at Urbanland. Holding the essential roles of Director of Sales and Acting General Manager, Sithen's impact goes far beyond strategic development for Borey Chankiri and KMH Park 2 projects.

Fueled by an unwavering drive for success, she continuously challenges her team to reach new heights, constantly raising the bar for herself and others. Her story is a testament to unwavering perseverance, personal growth, and the delicate art of work-life balance—an inspiring story that resonates with many.

For this interesting story, we had the incredible opportunity to sit down and interview with Sithen. Sit back and come along with us as we explore her incredible journey.

What can you tell us the story of your professional experience and how you started in a sales role?

I began my career as a receptionist immediately after completing high school in 1998. The following year, I joined a local bank as a teller and then advanced to the position of customer service officer in 2001. In 2003, upon graduating and with aspirations of studying overseas, I applied for a Research Assistant role at the Cambodia Resources Development Institute (CDRI). CDRI was known as a hub for scholars, and I saw it as an opportunity to become one myself. Although I did not receive the scholarship until after leaving CDRI for ANZ Royal Bank in 2006, I persisted and was awarded a JDS Scholarship (Japan) in February 2007. Five months later, I began my Master of Arts in Economics Development. Upon returning from Japan in 2009, I was torn between pursuing an academic career or starting anew in sales. Seeking counsel from multiple trusted sources, I chose to return to ANZ Royal Bank as a senior assistant relationship manager. In 2010, I was promoted to Relationship Manager in the Commercial Banking sector, where I managed commercial clients. The following year, I requested to manage two portfolios in Phnom Penh and in southern Cambodia. By 2012, I had earned the opportunity to oversee a larger portfolio of local corporate clients and was subsequently promoted to Senior Relationship Manager.

Back in 2014, a new chapter began in my professional journey as I assumed the role of director, entrusted with the management of prominent local corporate clients in the resource, energy, and infrastructure sectors. Yet, the initial months proved to be a formidable challenge as I returned to ANZ Royal. With limited expertise in customer service, sales, and accounting, I found myself navigating uncharted territories, grappling with a steep learning curve. In my previous role, I worked with clients across various industries, building relationships with key leaders and staff, especially in Finance. I learned how to read financial statements like a banker and even took extra classes to improve my skills. After leaving ANZ Royal Bank in 2016, I started my own consulting business, where I had the chance to work with many great companies and develop my leadership skills by running a flower business for two years. In 2019, I became the CEO of Bright Victory Mekong Petroleum, where I was able to accomplish my dream of transforming the company. After deciding to take a long-term career break, I was inspired to join Urbanland after meeting Hok and Lida in August 2021, marking my journey into sales.

                                                    A group picture of Urbanland's Executive Committee

What is your fondest memory from Urbanland?

In November 2021, Urbanland received seven awards from Property Guru. As a member of this local company, run by Cambodian entrepreneurs with a dynamic and talented team, I was extremely happy. Initially, we were confident only about winning three awards. Yet, we brought home seven. During the night of the announcement, I was so full of joy, I even tried stand-up comedy, which I had never done before.

" Urbanland has given me the opportunity to learn about new industries and to help others grow through mentoring and coaching. This has allowed me to fulfill my life's purpose and bring meaning to my work."

What is the most essential skill or mindset you have developed throughout the course of your career, and how does it benefit you in your job?

In addition to acquiring expertise in analytical thinking, accounting and finance, sales, and relationship management throughout my career, I have also nurtured a strong passion for reading. Books have played a pivotal role in sharpening my thinking and professional development. Among my treasured collection are books like: 

I actively apply the insights gained from these books in my profession and leadership role.

                                                 A group picture with sale team at Borey Chankiri

How do you deal with stress? How can you strike a right balance between work and life?

I am an early bird, and I love doing sports. Right now, I play tennis in the morning. Tennis serves as a powerful outlet for me, allowing me to alleviate stress and cultivate both physical and mental strength.

I have been playing tennis for about 15 years. Tennis has become an integral part of my daily routine, akin to a nourishing breakfast. Besides playing tennis, I also find solace in the world of movies such as House of Cards, The Destination Survival, The Good Wife, The Good Fight, MI, Prison Break, the Fast and Furious series, the Maleficent series, etc.,

To escape the demands of everyday life, I regularly embark on small getaways. I love driving, so these trips give me a sense of freedom and adventure. I also treasure spending quality time with my family. We get together fortnightly, which helps balance my work and personal life. Being with them enriches me and reminds me of the importance of meaningful connections.

                                       A picture of Sithen joins Marathon 20km walk