Melissa Ong

CEO, Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI)

Melissa has a wealth of over 25 years of APAC regional experience in International Trade, Brand Communications, Market Research and Social Strategy. Melissa started her career with HSBC, before moving on to IOI Berhad, KL Sentral (MRCB), and TNS (Kantar) where she was responsible for few portfolios covering 33 countries across Asia Pacific, Latin American, Middle East and Africa.  Melissa is the Chief Executive Officer in Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI), a leading independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit Think Tank in Malaysia. She joined ASLI in 2016 as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). She developed ASLI branding strategy and messaging, ASLI Corporate Brand Identity Guidelines and rebranded ASLI Corporate website.

She was later appointed as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and founded ASLI International Trade and Business Advisory Centre (ITBAC) in December 2016, spearheading the centre in international trade and investment advisory. The centre undertakes the facilitation of market analyses & growth strategies, connecting strategic partners across APAC, UK and Middle East to identify their highest-value opportunities in ASEAN and Asia Pacific region. She provided the international trade advisory works for three foreign governments with main focus in ASEAN, particularly in 7 key countries across South East Asia, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. She developed and facilitated a bespoke package of international trade support services for 45 British SMEs, aligned to their explicit commercialisation needs as well as advising them on viability and competitiveness of their product/service entering the ASEAN market. She was also embedded in the Government of Hong Kong (INVEST Hong Kong) and the Kingdom of Bahrain (Bahrain Economic Development Board), where she represented these Governments on FDI works in ASEAN. 

In 2006, Melissa received two ALM Regional Recognition Awards - The John Smurthwaite Award for Expertise & Innovation for her work in initiating and successfully establishing a brand communication network within the region to achieve consistency in branding and marketing collaterals; and the Developing our People Award for enhancing employee loyalty among Brand Specialists by formalizing their roles and responsibilities in the company. She also received another ALM Regional Recognition Award in 2007 for Elevating Sensitivities in Corporate Culture where she initiated projects to tackle cross cultural issues within offices across the region.

Her vast experience and knowledge in corporate social responsibility (CSR) is attributed to her tireless efforts over the last 15 years in managing CSR Social & Community projects regionally. In recognition of her active social contributions to the public communities, she was nominated as the Top Finalist (Commerce) of Malaysian Women of Our Great Times Award.  

Melissa is also a strong advocate of Women Empowerment and Workplace Gender Equality and she had served voluntarily in the National Council Women Organisations Malaysia (NCWO) as the Chairman of their Corporate Women’s Network. This network aims to forge a strong and steady women's leadership pipeline model through personal engagement and professional development so as to build advocates within the system who will work towards creating a culture of inclusiveness for both women and men.

Melissa holds an MBA from the University of Sunshine Coast, Australia. In addition to her academic qualification, Melissa is a Certified Professional Trainer (Malaysian Institute of Management), Certified Executive Coach (University Malaya), Certified MindMap Licensed Instructor (Tony Buzan) in Mind Mapping, Creativity and Innovation, Certified iMindMap Advanced Instructor, Certified Practitioner of Neurolinguistic Programming and Practitioner of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).