At Sartorius China, 43 percent of management positions are in the hands of women. Yi Lam, Head of Training for China, is one on them. In this interview, she reveals why she finds her job rewarding and how women can find their way in a corporate environment.
Yi, your job is all about learning and professional growth. Please tell us about your own growth at Sartorius and your responsibilities today.
I joined Sartorius in Shanghai seven years ago as a training director for this site. The dynamic development of the company gave me the chance to gradually expand my responsibilities within China as it is one of the fastest growing regions. In my role as Head of Training for China, together with my team, I am mainly responsible for organizing and providing technical training to both internal staff and customers.
In the past few years, we have successfully established a training program that includes catalogs of customer training courses and internal training courses. We have also developed online tools for application, tracking and record-keeping to simplify the process.
Specifically for our employees, together with external coaches, we now also offer training in soft skills such as courses in selling techniques, presentation skills and leadership training. Given the rapid expansion of our staff, we design and conduct welcome workshops several times a year to onboard new hires.
What makes your job worthwhile from your perspective?
I travel with our sales representatives to see them apply the skills they’ve learned in our training courses to better understand and support the customers. I also enjoy seeing young leaders make a smooth transition from individual contributors to people managers who use the leadership skills they obtained by attending our courses. That’s very rewarding.
When you train people, you get instant feedback on how good a job you are doing. Audience response will tell you how successful your training course is. Also, training is never boring even when you hold the same course over and over again because the audience will teach you something new every time. As a trainer, you learn as much as the trainees themselves since they have many different perspectives and stories to share.
You have been working at big companies for nearly twenty years. In your experience, what does it take as a woman to succeed in a corporate environment?
In China, it is common for women to hold very powerful positions in the corporate environment. What is important are your skills, knowledge, passion for work, and leadership capabilities. My advice for the ladies out there: You have to be confident about who you are – and never use gender as a barrier or an excuse for not achieving what you want. Just go for it.
Of course, there is always the question how to manage work and family. My career requires me to travel frequently, so it was important to me to obtain my family’s support and understanding first before I made the commitment to join Sartorius. And when I spend time at home with my family, I try not to be distracted by work but to focus solely on my private life.