Melissa Ong

CEO, Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI)

A credible visionary with the proven ability in developing and leading large and high-performance teams that contributed to business growth. Melissa specialises in strategic communications; brand positioning; corporate and product marketing; stakeholder and employee engagement; CSR platforms and social strategy.

Melissa has a wealth of over 25 years APAC regional experience in International Trade, Business Advisory, Brand Communications, Market Research, Organizational Development, Corporate & Marketing Events management, Learning & Talent Development.

Melissa is the Chief Executive Officer in Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI), a leading independent, private and not-for-profit Think Tank in Malaysia. Prior to her appointment as CEO of ASLI, Melissa held positions of Acting CEO from August 2018 to December 2018, Chief Operating Officer of ASLI International Trade & Business Advisory (ITBAC) from January 2017 to December 2018, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President from January 2016 to December 2018. 

In her capacity as COO of ITBAC, Melissa spearheaded the ASLI International Trade and Business Advisory Centre with main focus of trade and investment in ASEAN, particularly in key countries across South East Asia, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. The centre undertakes the facilitation of market analyses & growth strategies, connecting strategic partners across APAC and to identify their highest-value opportunities in ASEAN and Asia Pacific region. Melissa manages a capable team of International Trade directors providing trade support services. The recent success story in 2017 to 2018, the ITBAC team provided the International Trade Support Services to a well-established portfolio of 45 SMEs from the South West of UK from security, defence, aviation to consumer products. She facilitated and designed a bespoke package of support services aligned to their explicit commercialisation needs as well as advising the SMEs on viability and competitiveness of their product/service entering the ASEAN market. Similarly, for the Kingdom of Bahrain and Hong Kong, Melissa represented the respective governments in ASEAN promoting the countries as an ideal business location and facilitated the foreign inward direct investment into their respective countries.

During her 15 years of employment tenure in Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS), a global leader in custom market research with a presence over 80 countries, Melissa championed and managed the Regional Branding Strategy and Positioning (VC); Multi-country Research Projects; Learning and Development initiatives and implementations, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects and Large-scale Events including C-level conferences and marketing exhibitions across 33 countries in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and Africa (ALM). She managed the TNS University’s total programme execution. She designed and developed countless of social initiatives and community projects not limited to, local but at APAC regional level. Melissa received two ALM Regional Recognition Awards - The John Smurthwaite Award for Expertise & Innovation where she initiated and successfully established a brand communication network within the region to achieve consistency in branding and marketing collaterals; and Developing our People Award for enhancing Employee Loyalty among Brand Specialists by formalizing their roles and responsibilities in the company, both awards were received in 2006. In 2007, she received another ALM Regional Recognition Award for Elevating Sensitivities in Corporate Culture where she initiated projects to tackle cross cultural issues within offices across the region. Melissa gained five good years of knowledge and experience in property development where she was attached with KL Sentral Sdn Bhd and IOI Berhad. She started her career with HSBC.

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).

With her vast experience and knowledge in corporate social responsibility (CSR) where she spent her last 15 years managing CSR Social & Community projects regionally, she was awarded the top finalist (commerce) of Malaysian Women of Our Great Times Award for her active social contributions to the public communities. Melissa is a strong advocate of Workplace Gender Equality and Women Empowerment and served voluntarily in the National Council Women Organisations Malaysia (NCWO) as the Chairman of their Corporate Women’s Network. This network aims to create a strong and steady women's leadership pipeline through personal engagement and professional development so to build advocates within the system who will work towards creating a culture of inclusiveness (for both women and men).