Ho Wai Wong-Lam is a VP of Strategy at NXP with a long history in engineering
and the semiconductor industry. More than 30 years ago, she studied electronic
engineering in Hong Kong, where she was born. A scholarship from Philips
brought her to Eindhoven, The Netherlands, where she obtained her master's
degree. In the first part of a two-part profile, Ho Wai talks about her
responsibilities at NXP, her career choices and why NXP is a great place to
In part 2, Ho Wai talks about being a woman in engineering and the position of female
professionals at NXP.
What are your main tasks and responsibilities as VP of strategy?
As a Business Line strategist, I have an advisory role for the GMs and other
Business Line leaders in the strategy development process. The GMs own the
strategies. Many people in the company contribute strategic inputs and ideas,
including the strategists who are the trusted advisors offering strategic
insights and consolidating different inputs into a coherent strategy.
Tell us a little about the strategy development process.
Business Line strategists do not develop strategies in isolation. Strategy
development is a collaborative process in which business strategists support
the businesses to develop the strategies and align them with corporate
strategy. Strategy development covers a broad space that includes portfolio
and roadmap management, gap analysis, technology and manufacturing strategy,
strategic partnerships, R&D and go-to-market execution strategy, and sometimes
also inorganic M&A (both acquisitions and divestitures).
That sounds really interesting and demanding. Do you have time for anything else?
Other than my regular business strategist work, I also represent NXP through
their sponsorship of the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) to
promote “technology for good”. The XTC consortium is led by Samsung and
sponsored by our CTO Lars Reger. It’s a worldwide competition that empowers
entrepreneurs to address global challenges facing humanity and our planet,
inspired by the United Nations 17
Sustainable Development Goals
Let’s take a look at your career. Why did you choose to study engineering?
I am most fortunate to have very loving parents who supported and nurtured my
curious young mind and allowed me to explore many fields of interest,
including music, art, sports, volunteer work, science and math. By the time I
reached middle school, I'd found my passion in science and saw the beauty in
math. To this day, I derive joy from learning and get a kick out of problem
solving. When it came time to choose a university study, I chose engineering
because I could incorporate what I love into my daily work.
Bright minds. Bright futures. NXP team members create breakthrough technologies that advance our world.
The future starts here.
Any other reasons?
I also think that engineering innovations can have great social impact, mostly
good, but sometimes also with unintended (bad) consequences that we as
engineers need to pay attention to. Making a positive impact on the world
Why is NXP Such a great place to work?
NXP is a truly international company with great people who are motivated,
customer-focused and have the passion to win.
What do you find most inspiring about what we do at NXP in general, and in your work in particu?
I am inspired to contribute towards technology for good.
What is your work Motto?
I actually have two: “Go all out in everything you do, then find peace with
yourself, whether you get what you think you deserve or not.” Also: “Go into
the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good.” I
am happy with all the rewards that have come my way in my career, and I’d like
to think I have done some good.
What advice would you give to young engineers just starting out on their career?
Keep your curiosity like a young child. Learn how to learn, as technology
advancement is fast paced, so you need to learn to reinvent yourself
throughout your career. Believe in yourself and reach out to mentors who
believe in you. Some of them may help you to become technical experts and
leaders. Others may help you to broaden your horizon. Still others may help
you in soft skills such as emotional intelligence, working with people or
leadership and teamwork.
You were asked to support the GSA WLI (global semiconductor alliance, women’s leadership initiative). Tell us something about that.
The GSA WLI showcase is meant to showcase women in the semiconductor industry
to encourage women to consider a career in technology. Jodi Shelton, GSA
co-founder and CEO, reached out to me when she started the WLI. I am happy to
support by sharing my experience to encourage more women to join in. It is
more about promoting the semiconductor industry to women than about me
We Are NXP embodies, spirit and values of NXP, which
is committed to advancing the world by making it safer and more connected. We
pursue our ambitions through technological innovations designed to enhance the
quality of life of our employees, our communities and the world at large, all
the while ensuring sustainability and minimizing our impact on the