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Women of Steel: An Interview with Amanda Zhang
Amanda joined CUMIC right after graduating from Ireland in 2008. Initially the sole finance employee, she helped expand the finance department as the company grew. Having formed the brand-new Treasury department just last year, she now oversees two groups that work together to offer robust financial solutions to support both company and our global clients. The next 3 questions may help you understand her passion in an all-round way:
Q1: What are the challenges you have encountered and what have you learned from them?
“There are challenges on both corporate and personal levels every year, and as the company grows, challenges vary.”
Amanda: At first, my job was more about financial work itself, requiring only completing my individual work. The challenge at that time was to constantly acquire new knowledge. During the pre-covid era, the overall market environment was pretty positive, and our cooperation with banks went smoothly. However, since the beginning of the epidemic, the entire industry and the economic environment entered a difficult phase. Under such pressure and increased risks, we had no choice but to act more proactively. Moreover, challenges also lay in getting myself out there to coordinate with others, which emphasized understanding and learning about other people's personalities and preferences.
Later on, we adopted a more professional method to subdivide our department. The financial department became more focused on the financial settlement, budget planning, and risk analysis, utilizing comprehensive and systematic accounting information for better decision-making. The capital department functions as a strong capital platform by integrating resources and pulling in funds. Looking back at my earliest role as a junior team leader, now I have a much deeper understanding of management and administration as a director and I will pay more attention to my team member's advantages and personal development.
Q2: What kind of work environment or corporate culture could help women achieve their full potential?
“Maybe the vibe of “chillax” or “sense of ease”. that people now value. Under such an environment, I can boldly move forward without bearing too much pressure or worries.”
Amanda: I think the biggest feature of our company, as well as a corporate culture I value, is 松弛感 (pronounced “Song Chi Gan”), a new trend and expression that is going viral on social media, which roughly translates to “chillax” or “sense of ease”. For mistakes and a little bit of inexperience, CUMIC gave me time and opportunities to become more professional and refine myself, and often the final result actually comes surprisingly better than expected. In particular, we build a company system culture to ensure the work-life, which also facilitates the development of female workers. For example, the marriage and childbirth conditions among our company employees can be commonly seen. We receive wedding cakes and candy pretty often.
Q3: How do you feel about leading a women-dominated team?
“We will never judge someone by gender.”
Amanda: I am really delighted to lead the current team, and I am genuinely proud of how dedicated they are, how patiently and flexibly they solve problems, and how well they collaborate with collages. It's not that we need people of a certain gender to make up a team; rather, the best teams are made up of different personalities, and gender doesn't matter. For example, my outgoing personality suits me for external communication, and some members of my team are quiet and meticulous with numbers, making us the ideal complement.
-Amanda in CUMIC with team members-
For the young female talents in the workplace…
Amanda: More often than not, after defining your goals, there would be many obstacles and unexpected challenges. At times like this, it is important to hang in there and remember that these all serve as good chances to strengthen your resilience and gain new skills.
Do you want to work with Amanda and many other successful members of our team? If you're interested in beginning a journey of excellence in the global steel trading industry, check out our job openings at https://www.cumic.com/careers/ and send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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