In continuation of Dassault Systèmes’ Women’s Initiative (WIN) Spotlight series to highlight amazing individuals who work in our Asia Pacific South offices, we speak to Winnie Yong, Director Content Production, Offer Marketing at Dassault Systèmes.
Winnie has a communications background, majoring in public relations. She started her career in a communications agency and later moved to publishing. She was Editor-In-Chief of not one, but two regional luxury lifestyle titles in Malaysia before joining Dassault Systèmes’ DELMIA Quintiq office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2014. It was a timely move for her, as the print business was in rapid decline, struggling to make the transition to digital, and she knew that a change was in order.
We asked her a few questions to share her experiences on diversity and inclusion. Here is what she had to say.
1. Tell us about a woman who inspires / has inspired you?
Every woman in a leadership position who’s been my manager over the years. With the exception of one, I’ve had female bosses throughout my entire career. And I’ve learned a lot from every single one of them – good traits I should emulate and things I should do; bad traits I should avoid and things I should never ever do. Several takeaways are:
- The most important skill is the ability to adapt – to any circumstance. It’s the one skill that differentiates between those who thrive and those who languish, and it’s become all the more critical today. There’s always a way, no matter how small, to turn a seemingly negative situation into a positive one. And if you don’t see it, you’re not looking at hard enough.
- There is no one style of leadership. There are many and each of them can be extremely effective, when applied in the right situation. The key is being able to discern when (and with whom) to adopt which style of leadership and just as importantly – maybe even more so – when to change it.
- Principles and people over process. A dogmatic over-emphasis on process severely restricts growth and robs people of the opportunity to think and decide for themselves. I’ve seen how disempowering this can be. There’s a time and place for process, for sure, but never at the expense of principles and people.
2. Please share a story related to inclusion that occurred in your career?
In all honesty, none come to mind, because I have managed teams quite evenly distributed between both genders, gender diversity has never been much of an issue or something I’ve had to deliberately create. What matters is who is most capable and willing to do the job, not what gender they are.
3. What is the one piece of advice you wish someone had shared with you 10 years ago?
I used to think it was my job to have a solution to everyone’s perceived problems. What I’ve learned is quite the contrary – that I do not have to rush in with a solution every single time. It’s far smarter to first ask the right questions; decide if it’s even a problem; and if it is, whether it’s the right problem to be solved. Asking the right questions is really the more critical skill. If I’d learned this sooner, I might’ve spared myself the futility of solving all the wrong problems.