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“Live your dreams, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve them. Don’t stop your step just because you are female in an industry world”

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In our Diversity@NORMA series, we highlight the diversity of employees who work at NORMA Group. In 2021, the series focuses on NORMA Group’s female employees. Female colleagues from a variety of departments and countries report on their professional and personal experiences and provide insight into their wishes for the future.

Emma Chen is PDE Director, APAC & Fluid at NORMA Group’s site in Shanghai, China. She talks about professional role models, the importance of intercultural collaboration and her advice to all women.

Emma, what woman has had the greatest impact on you in your life? Do you have professional role models?

My personality was shaped to a great extent by my grandmother. She was a hard-working woman. It did not matter what obstacles were put in her way, she always kept going and never gave up. Her influence has left its mark on me to this day. You should always grab hold of any opportunities that come your way, whether they are professional or personal. They don’t grow on trees, after all. Through my grandmother, I have learned to take advantage of every opportunity that pops up and not to give up when faced with challenges, but to stick with it and overcome such challenges.

One of my professional role models is Sheryl Sandberg, the co-CEO of Facebook. She is a very strong, confident woman who is always open to new things and never gives up. Not even the biggest professional and private setbacks prevent her from moving forward with courage. She has inspired me to realize my own potential and to carry it to the outside world. Another professional role model is my current boss Boyd Tan. He drives the Group APAC region and our Fluid division forward. He is a great leader of fast-thinking and risk-taker. He cares about us and is always concerned that we are doing well. He clearly follows two communication paths: “top down” and “bottom up.” I believe this is very important. We have to listen to our employees and constantly exchange ideas and information. Communication on equal footing is elementary. 

Why are you professionally where you are today? And what does your career mean to you?

Of course, we all have jobs to keep ourselves afloat and feed our families. But a career can be so much more. It can give you the opportunity to explore your potential and realize your self-value. That is certainly true in my case. I love my job. I especially appreciate the constant challenges and innovations in our industry. I am always learning new things and developing myself further. On top of that, I am also grateful for the intercultural collaboration. I really enjoy exchanging information and ideas with colleagues around the world. It helps me see things from a different perspective.

What challenges have shaped your career?

The biggest challenge and significant event I have experienced so far was studying abroad in Germany. I went to Germany to do my doctorate and had to find my way around in a foreign country, with a foreign language and culture. My time in the country helped me to understand the German culture and the way of thinking of my German colleagues. This intercultural exchange also helped me to develop and showed me how important it is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and look at things from a different perspective. Intercultural collaboration is not only beneficial for me personally, but also for our company. We can achieve great things when we look at issues from different cultural perspectives and take advantage of our diversity.

What do you wish for the future? And do you have any advice for all women?

I hope that I will continue to enjoy my job and that I will be able to work with so many aspiring colleagues for a long time to come. Of course, I also hope that I can continue to support, motivate, and inspire my team members.

My advice to all women is this: Live your dreams, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve them. Don’t stop your step just because you are female in an industry world. Well balance your professional career and personal life. Seize every possible opportunity, be brave to accept changes and embrace challenges. Move your career forward with more self-confidence. You can do that!

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