The completion of our interview series makes Jie Shirley Xu. In this interview, Shirley, who has been with Kulzer for over 12 years, talks about her path to becoming HR Director in APAC, why intercultural understanding is important for success and the role Confucius plays.
What makes your job special?
Human resource development is one of the key elements of any successful business, as our people are our most important and valuable asset. Especially as the person in charge of Asia Pacific, this is a challenging task due to the size of the area (9 countries), the diversity of cultures and the speed of development.
I very much enjoy becoming an expert in this area and providing valuable support to the regions as well as the headquarters.
How has Kulzer supported you on your journey?
Kulzer enabled me to progress from a local HR Director in China to Director HR in APAC. I managed this thanks to coaching from my managers, training to specialise and expand my knowledge, and interaction with MCI's regional HR functions and headquarters. I was able to visit the regions and work with the teams. I was involved at various levels in my extended area of responsibility and was thus well prepared for my role.
Who inspires you and what motivates you?
"Confucius" was a Chinese philosopher, politician and teacher whose messages on knowledge, benevolence, loyalty and virtue were the main guiding philosophy of China for thousands of years. Traditionally, cultures and countries in the Asian cultural sphere have been strongly influenced by Confucianism. I also base my work on a quote from Confucius: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Taking on an HR role in APAC drives me to recognise different cultures and use this diversity to create a harmonious atmosphere in APAC units.
I appreciate the mentoring of my bosses Andrea von Popowski and Maik Walther: over the last ten years, they have motivated me to broaden my tasks, go deeper into intercultural understanding, and take on a business partner role through a professional HR approach.
How would you motivate other women to go their way?
I think empathy, communication skills and collaboration are the most important strengths of women and should therefore be recognised in any successful and progressive organisation. I would therefore say to women: trust your strength and engage, that is the path to success; and do not be afraid to ask others for support along the way.
What do you think makes a team successful?
It is only in working together that the real character of the team is revealed, characterised by a dynamic that enables either greatness to be achieved or, more often, mediocrity. To achieve greatness, "leadership, culture and team" are the keys to success. Strong leadership is demonstrated by having everything aligned to one direction, in a high quality interaction and in a strong sense of renewal. Diversity drives our culture and creating a culture of empowerment is essential.
International Women's Day has been celebrated on 8 March for 110 years. Reason enough to introduce four strong women from Kulzer. In a short series, they tell us what makes their jobs special, what has shaped them on their career paths and what or who inspires them.