Troy Laffrey: making a positive impact in healthcare across Southeast Asia

Originally from Western Australia, Troy Laffrey is the Ultrasound Segment Leader, General Imaging, ASEAN region at GE Healthcare.

Leveraging prior clinical work experience, Troy is now leading the GE Healthcare Radiology Ultrasound business in Southeast Asia. His role has afforded him the opportunity to make a positive impact on healthcare issues affecting the region.

“Trying to build the availability of affordable health care is very rewarding, knowing that helping these teams on their projects will in turn have an impact on many lives in these outreach locations,” he reveals as one of the most rewarding aspects of his current role.

Troy shares his work, impressions of the Lion City and international experience with Advance.

Interview by Tammy Lee, Marketing & Communications & Digital Manager, Advance.

You shifted from the operational side to strategic/ business planning side of business in you career. How did your medical work experience prepare you for your current role?

My clinical experience has been integral in helping me plan and strategize correctly for the markets we address. I believe it is important to align business needs with customer needs, so having that medical backing has helped me to focus on creating plans that are well rounded from a clinical and business perspective.

How did you wind up in Singapore?

I had been working in a Sales and Customer Support role in Australia for five years, and an opportunity came up to lead a portion of the regional business in ASEAN. It was too good to refuse, with the role offering a chance to relocate to Singapore with my family.

What’s your first impression? Did it live up to your expectations?

Singapore is an amazing place.  It really is a melting pot of different cultures, religions and cuisines. I had always heard about how safe and clean Singapore is, and it definitely delivers on those promises. I was prepared to move to a bustling city where there is an endless choice of activities and experiences, which is great for myself and my young family, but I would say you have to be prepared to dive deep into your pocket to pay for those.

What do you value most about your international experience?

For myself, I really value experiencing the differing cultural ways of doing business, the varying market dynamics and managing a culturally diverse team across a large area. The ASEAN region is unique in being able to offer this type of experience, which I found to be quite humbling.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

It is always difficult to find enough hours in the day to get everything completed.  Mix into this a steady travel schedule and an attempt to create some work/life balance – it is a challenging juggle. With that I would say this isn’t a unique feature of my role.  Having to communicate with many internal and external stakeholders on a regular basis in an effective way will always help bring success.

What’s the most rewarding project that you’ve worked on?

It’s actually difficult for me to pick one project here, but there are few projects that come to mind straight away. Firstly, working with NGOs in the region, trying to build the availability of affordable health care is very rewarding, knowing that helping these teams on their projects will in turn have an impact on many lives in these outreach locations. Secondly, working with key physicians in Thailand to promote the necessity for breast screening. Breast cancer has the highest rate of incidence of all cancers today, accounting for nearly 38% of cancers found in Thai women. Thirdly, being able to give back to the community through our GE Volunteers groups. We have built bicycles for orphanages and the larger GE team have helped build shelters and schools in remote locations.

Having worked in the UK and Western Australia before relocating to Singapore, what’s your favourite place to live and work and why?

That’s a very tough question, I suppose they each have their own positives. I enjoyed both the UK and Singapore for the varying work experiences. I have been able to learn so much and grow professionally and personally. They are both gateways for travel to Europe and Asia respectively, so having that opportunity is great whenever it’s time to have a break. Though when it comes lifestyle and weather it is hard to forget what Western Australia has to offer.  

Your favourite place in Singapore?

I enjoy visiting Sentosa with my family for many different reasons. My kids have hours of fun walking in endless circles around the SEA Aquarium watching the fish. We also like to spend a lazy Sunday at Tanjong Beach Club with a cure of coffee while the kids jump between the pool and the beach.

What’s your suggestion for other expats to experience the local culture?

I’d suggest trying out the local cuisine, but you should also experience it with someone that can show you the correct way to eat it.  There always seems to be an order to mix the sauces or dishes to get the best taste that can’t be guessed. I’ve also had some fun learning some of the local languages and expressions. I found this really helped me understand conversations on a different level.

What do you miss most about Australia?

Being from Western Australia, it’s not uncommon to have a perfectly blue sky and 24 degrees in the middle of winter, so I would have to say the weather. I enjoy spending time in the outdoors and WA lends itself to that lifestyle quite easily. Every now and then I also get cravings for a steak and mushroom pie. I haven’t found one in Singapore yet, but I’m still looking.