Featured Mentors

Jia is a business professional with a focus on Sales, Marketing, Business Management, Business Strategy, Data Analysis and Software development in high tech industry. She held Finance / Computer Science double degree from undergraduate school. In 2011, she was exchanged to France for MBA Program which equipped her with strong problem solving skills. She has worked as a RA in CMU where she gained wide ranging experience in project management; as the first female President in Oracle College Hire Committee and co-funder of Oracle Professional Leadership Program where she gained extensive leadership experience in tech industry and volunteer services, and as a Software Engineer in Oracle Corporation which equipped her with strong technical and analytical expertise.

1. How would you define a good leader?

Personally, I think a good leader is the one who “eats last”. What that means is that a good leader is not only the one who gives command and has all the authority, but he/she should always put the whole team’s interests before his/her own interests. If a leader watches out for his/her people and commits his/her whole organization to serve others and each other, everyone wins.

2. Have you had any mentors in your life? If so, what impact did they have on your personal and professional development?

Yes, I have mentors throughout my college life and career. Even now, I still have mentors for my current job. Mentors play an important role in both my personal and professional development: mentors are always willing to share their valuable personal experiences like how they switched to different jobs, how they chose between job opportunities, how they dealt with difficulties in their career, etc. From those, I learned how to arrange and bestutilize my leisure time, as well as find out my real passion/interest in my life, which in turn makes a big impact on my professional development. As a junior when I just graduated from college, I felt very nervous and depressed about joining a big company and the real “society”, my mentors guided me throughout this process with sincere and practical professional development advice. I am definitely not able to have the accomplishments I have made today without mentors’ guidance.

3. If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

I would strongly recommend my “younger self” to socialize more as well as develop more on soft skills – I am not saying that I should not focus on study/job, just that I should utilize leisure and other trivial time to get to know more people. For example, when I was in office, I always ordered takeout for lunch to save time on working more, later I found that if I could use the time to have lunch with other colleagues, it will be much more helpful in my professional development – one’s career is not only made of hard working, but also on the resources and networks that he/she built throughout the years.

4. How do you de-stress?

I really enjoy playing the piano, or listening to some music if I feel very stressed. Besides, when something bad happened, I always tell and remind myself that “though the difficulties look impossible to overcome as of now, they are actually nothing when you look back 5 years later. So just be cool and do not be too stressed”.

5. Tell us about an unexpected challenge or difficult situation you’ve encountered. How did you overcome it?

One of the very difficult situations I have encountered happened when I was the President of my company’s College Hire Program – we always had the tradition that as long as a college new hire has been working for the company for more than 1 year, they will be awarded for an annual trip. Unfortunately, due to higher management leadership and budget plan change, the annual trip was canceled. All new hires were very disappointed with the company because they have already had the expectation of the reward trip. I felt very bad for this as well. I talked to my boss who was in charge of this program and tried to persuade him in reporting to higher level management – but I got rejected. So I sent the higher management an email and also went to higher manager office directly explaining why we should continue this type of reward, how big the impact will be if we cancelled the trip at the last minute, I also came up with a financial plan that fit into the reduced budget limit. Finally this plan was approved, and we got to continue this reward trip without demoralizing anybody.

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