I consider myself to be strong, self-reliant and independent, but it was a long hard path to being anywhere close to it. Being born and brought up in Beijing, China, my parents put me in a boarding school in a different province when I was 12 years old. In China, every province has a different culture and dialect – It was difficult to adjust as I would see my parents once in six months and I didn’t have anyone to count on except myself. But it helped me understand the diversity of different people, cultures, mindsets and helped me embrace the adventures. In hindsight, I’m grateful, because my independent childhood has made me as strong as I am.
When I was young, I wanted to be a ballet dancer, but life had other plans. My first job was in a Chinese Government company in foreign affairs and since I was well-versed in English, they relocated me to Abu Dhabi as a Document Controller. My coworkers and manager helped me expand my knowledge in technical languages. This, along with a Masters’ degree helped me gain different roles as Expediter, Buyer, Procurement Officer, Procurement Lead and Material Buying Advisor over the years in different locations.
Many people think supply chain & procurement is like going to a shopping mall and buying a pair of shoes, but so much goes on behind the scenes. For example, when you open the box of Lego, you’ve got a drawing of the tower in front of you along with the building blocks to build it. My job as a Procurement Lead is to find the right components so you can build your Lego tower. Simply put, my job is to deliver the building blocks at the right stage, right price and right quality for you to achieve your end goal.
It was when I was happily working as a Material Buying Advisor for ExxonMobil Iraq when COVID-19 hit and like many others, my job was unstable. I then, applied to Kent with my new boss, Patrick Shearer. When deciding about taking up any job offer… for me, it’s about the team, the culture, and the people. Money is secondary. I believe the company culture reflects the people working for the company. So, the moment I met Patrick, I had a feeling it was going to be a great new adventure with the right people, in the right company.
I have worked for 14 years and there was a short period of my life in the past where I was treated with hostility from peers, no respect nor dignity, a strong blame game, pointing fingers, seniors yelling at juniors in an open office, every day would end up in tears.
In contrast, the day I joined Kent, I felt like I was being welcomed into a family – Everyone was friendly, they’d come to my desk to introduce themselves and ask me if I needed anything. People were scheduling time to have a chat with me, and I received a beautiful welcome pack with a handwritten note by Patrick. With such a strong company culture, I feel like my hard work in life has finally paid off and I’m so happy to be a part of Kent family.
For anyone new to Kent, I would say… You are home – Play hard and work hard! You’re with people who are respectful, supportive, collaborative and cheerful. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small vendor on the street, a huge supplier, a client or a coworker. Whatever you do, at the end of the day you want to build the reputation of your team and your company.