In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) and Women’s History Month, we’re spotlighting some of the women of Hitachi Vantara who are paving the way for future generations of female talent in tech.
In this second of a three-part series, meet Jessica He. Jessica is General Manager of Hitachi Vantara’s China Manufacturing Distribution Center. She’s the first female leader in this position globally, and she’s sharing what she’s learned from her experiences and how organizations can take steps to cultivate a gender equal world.
Q1. Tell us about your career journey in technology.
I’ve been at Hitachi Vantara for three years now, but before that, I worked for more than two decades in supply chain. My current role is General Manager of the China Manufacturing Center (CMC), which is one of our Global Supply Chain Distribution Centers. We work to deliver systems and services mainly for Hitachi Vantara partners in China regions.
I realize that I am the first female leader in this position globally, which challenges both myself and others. I’m in my third year at the company and lead our team to take on new challenges and step outside of their comfort zones.
My mission is to create a better CMC – and that means giving resources and support to all of our team members – cultivating a diverse, inclusive, innovative, open-minded, and productive workforce.
Q2. What advice would you give to young women who are considering a career in traditionally male-dominated fields such as tech, sales or finance?
There are three tips that I would give to young women in sales, tech, supply chain or finance. The first is to be bold. Whether you are more senior or junior in your organization, your dream is possible! Don’t be afraid of failure. The second is to be resilient and passionate – try your best to take on challenges and view them as opportunities for growth. Start small and continue to learn from others with more experience. And the third is to be yourself – this is something my boss continually encourages me to live by.
Q3. What do you see as the biggest challenge currently facing women in technology?
Although innovation and transformation are common in today’s tech world, industries are still lacking transformation when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Some people prefer to follow the norms, even while the norms are evolving; some stick to routines while the routines are changing fast. Especially as people in technology, we must challenge ourselves to think outside the box and embrace positive changes.
Q4. The theme of International Women’s Day this year is Break the Bias. What does #BreaktheBias mean to you?
To explore the meaning of #BreaktheBias, I’d like to highlight the mission from Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In initiative: “We want a world where people of every gender can pursue their dreams without bias or other barriers holding them back. Where girls grow up to be confident, resilient leaders. Where more women run companies and countries. We are driven by the belief our society and economy would be better if women and girls were valued as equal to men and boys.”
To me, this quote captures what it means to cultivate a world without bias, and it’s something we must continue to work towards.
Q5. What steps can people, and organizations at large, take towards creating a gender equal world?
To achieve the goal of gender equality, organizations must empower women in the workplace and create environments where they can thrive. This requires promoting a gender equal culture, where women are recognized and rewarded for their talent and granted opportunities for growth alongside their male counterparts.
I think the key for our Global Supply Chain Group of Finance at Hitachi Vantara is the culture. Our leaders truly value people and demonstrate diversity and inclusion. By focusing on building a welcoming and empowering culture, organizations can take a step in the right direction to create a gender equal world.
Thank you, Jessica, for sharing your experiences and advice. Your story has the power to inspire others to achieve their ambitions and fight bias to create a more inclusive world.
In case you missed my first interview with Bridie Arumugam, you can read it here. And stay tuned for my next interview with Tracy Peterson, coming out on March 23.
Claire Thomas is Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Hitachi Vantara.
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