Equity in Action: How our Companies that Care #EmbraceEquity and drive change in 2023 and beyond
At half the sky, we celebrate women 365 days a year. To us, International Women’s Day is yet another day to celebrate the amazing women who inspire us every day and who make a difference in the world. We recognize that, as a career platform, we are creating an essential tool for forging equity and empowering women in their personal and professional lives. Whether it's through mentorship, networking, or educational opportunities, we provide women with the resources and support they need to achieve their goals and pursue their dreams.On this day, it is important to remember that celebrating women is not just a once-a-year event but a constant effort to recognize their achievements and contributions to society. In IrnizahKhusaini of Johnson Controls words, it means to be “empowered, and take ownership to create the environment and space for every one of us to develop, succeed and thrive”.This year’s IWD theme is all about #EmbraceEquity. In this blog post, we have asked our incredible companies that care to share with us how they uniquely #EmbraceEquity in their organization. #EmbraceEquity is about ensuring that every woman, regardless of her background, has equal access to employment, support and opportunities for reach her full potential, despite the roadblocks they are be presented with. Janelle Delaney, Women@IBM A/NZ Executive Sponsor shares the importance of driving conversations about “flexible working, tackling tough issues like menopause, domestic violence, infertility – yes these are topics that need to be spoken about - as well as looking at how to support our teams in life after COVID”. And this isn’t limited to the global gender gap. Hwa Choo Lim from Equinix shares the organization’s commitment to “accelerating digital inclusion and closing the gender digital divide” through “empowering women specializing in technology roles, giving them the support and confidence, they need to succeed and thrive in the field.”Hearing their stories, we are proud to celebrate our Companies that Care, who share the same mission as us and inspire us daily with their profound and authentic commitment to helping women succeed in the workplace and beyond. Read on as we highlight some of our amazing clients who share our mission of how they #EmbraceEquity and celebrate their achievements! Hwa Choo LimVice President, Human Resources, Asia-Pacific, Equinix"Observing the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, this year’s International Women’s Day is an opportunity for us to recognize the achievements of women who forged their own path no matter the obstacles thrust in their way. Whether it’s dispelling stereotypes, speaking up for themselves and their peers or achieving beyond what was expected of them, we celebrate their accomplishments and courageous perseverance. At Equinix, we place great importance on making women feel “I’m safe, I belong, I matter.” Through long-standing communities for empowerment like the Equinix Women Leaders Network (EWLN), women are able to mentor, connect, belong and nurture one another through ongoing programs that encourage professional growth.Going the extra mile this year, Equinix Foundation, our employee-driven global charitable organization, has committed a $100,000 grant to World Pulseto support its work accelerating digital inclusion and closing the gender digital divide. In order to close the digital divide for women, we will continue to empower women specializing in technology roles, giving them the support and confidence they need to succeed and thrive in the field."Spring AiSoftware Development Manager, Autodesk"I'm embracing equity by taking a new role as the China Region Chapter Lead for Autodesk Women's Network (AWN), our Employee Resource Group dedicated to empowering and developing women at Autodesk. In this new role, I lead the community and collaboratewith other talented women in the executive team. Due to the pandemic, the China AWN community has been relatively quiet for the past three years. Now it's time to restart, reinvigorate, and reunite community members and empower people through various programs and activities. This position allows me to use my strengths to support other women, extend my network, and discover growth opportunities.I'm also embracing equity by engaging in the Autodesk Mentorship Program. This program has helped me learn a lot of practical knowledge, including people management and communication skills."Janelle DelaneyPartner, IBM Consulting and Executive Sponsor, Women@IBM ANZ"Working with our fantastic Women@IBM in Australia and New Zealand squads, we plan to continue to make IBM the best place for women to grow, work and flourish. We focus on initiatives that not only support women but support everyone in our workplace, such as looking at flexible working, tackling tough issues like menopause, domestic violence, infertility – yes these are topics that need to be spoken about - as well as looking at how to support our teams in life after COVID. We are also running events to enable technical women from different organisations to network and encourage each other in their career development. At IBM we care about our people and inclusivity is key to an organisation’s success, so I love having the opportunity to contribute to our success through the work of Women@IBM."Azadeh KhojandiManager, Engineering, The Trade DeskWe recently held our Global Convention in Singapore in February. We hosted a breakfast for all our members of APAC Women in The Trade Desk (TTD). It was a fantastic opportunity to network and we had the chance to meet lots of new people from many different offices. We also posed a challenge to our attendees. We created bingo cards with TTD leaders names on them, and asked our members to take photos with everyone on their bingo card. The pose was in light of International Women’s Day theme for 2023, ‘Embrace Equity’ and we asked each person to pose with a self hug. This challenge was an excellent opportunity for our members to engage with leaders outside their immediate work circle and for them to also have some fun along the way. In 2022, Women in TTD Circles was created to provide a space where women can pursue their own version of success, with a solid base of TTD members who will cheer each other on.Irnizah KhusainiSenior TA Manager, Southeast Asia, Johnson Controls"Creating an equitable and inclusive culture is key for us at Johnson Controls, especially one that’s sustainable over time. For such a culture to happen, we recognize that the journey goes beyond creating appropriate resources and opportunities. It’s also about increasing visibility and support through a collective effort as One Team. Together with the rest of my colleagues in Johnson Controls, we are empowered, and we take ownership to create the environment and space for every one of us to develop, succeed and thrive. I’m committed to reducing bias in the recruitment process, and to amplify the voices of my team and people around me. This journey starts today, and I invite you to join us to build a better tomorrow together!"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase some of our exceptional clients who are leading the way in promoting gender equity and creating a more inclusive and supportive workplace. Their dedication to empowering women and providing them with the tools they need to succeed is truly inspiring, and we are proud to partner with them to make this mission a priority in 2023 and beyond! By having a glimpse into their passion and commitment to women in the workplace, we hope to inspire others to join us in the mission of promoting equity and creating a brighter future for women everywhere.
Roundtable Recap: Key Challenges and Opportunities for Gender Diversity in the Post-pandemic Era
On November 24, Half the Sky gathered 9 leading corporates which included: Microsoft, Accenture, Equinix, Dupont, AkzoNobel, Avanade, Yara International, Johnson Controls, and Ciscofor our inaugural roundtable series: “DE&I Challenges & Opportunities for Corporates in a Post-Pandemic World.” This event was moderated by the HTS Founder & CEO Sabrina Hoand HTS advisor Duncan Hewett.The small group size and selective attendance maximized the opportunity for candid sharing, networking and learning value. We certainly got a lot of insightful pointers to share with you read on for a recap of the days event:It was noted throughout the roundtable that Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have the power to transform business by creating a truly inclusive workplace culture — which, in turn, drives employee satisfaction and retention. In fact, significant polls show that today’s jobseekers prioritize inclusion and want to feel like they belong over financial incentives.Although many companies believe in a DEI strategy many find they run into certain challenges that can complicate the process or keep it at a standstill.Here are the five key challenges identified during the roundtable: 1. Availability of diverse talent Ms. Irnizah Khusaini, of Johnson Controls, shared that one of the key reasons for such a scarce availability of diverse talent is because the industry is mostly pipelined by men. In the 2022 statistics, men are still dominant in the tech industry posing 73.30% over women that has only 26.70%. In addition, women who manage to work into a male-dominated tech companies are often met with lower pay for the same grade of work.Ms Khusaini also added that hiring managers should be encouraged to build more diverse teams and have more women in senior positions. Encouraging managers to view talent through a diverse lens, including the perspective of female talent, can bring valuable dynamics to teams in male-dominated industries, ultimately adding value to the business.2. Lack of initiatives for system changes For Ms. Lynn Dang of Microsoft, she mentioned that it is imperative that a system change should be implemented within the organization to create better roles and opportunities for female talents. “So, for industries like technology, we need systemic changes to enable a more inclusive workplace environment and it really starts from an early age so that young girls are encouraged to pursue careers in STEM” Ms. Dang said. Ms. Lynn also noted that one of the key challenges in implementing DE&I in today's corporate environment is the difficulty in maintaining the flow of female talents joining the tech industry. 3. Cultural challenges Ayaka Yamada, Senior Manager of Culture & Change at Yara mentioned that Japan is also facing cultural challenges when it comes to its female workforce. She shared that, “In Japan, it is unfortunate that women are not given the same level of appreciation for their work in the workplace.” Ms. Yamada also explained that in some cultures in Japan, women tend to stop working after they get married. “They think that they need to contribute a lot to the family and they need to dedicate their lives to housework and caring for their children and husband.” It was noted that Japan is ranked 120 out of 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index (GGI) in 2021 the worst ranking for an industrialized nation. 4. Nature of industry For Ms. Tiffany Chan of Accenture, one of the antagonists in improving gender diversity in the workplace is the nature of the of the industry. “I think all leaders are really supportive of having diversity and inclusion in our recruitment but I think the challenge is that the nature of our business makes it really hard to do so.” Ms. Tiffany explained. Further, for industries that focus on manufacturing and industrial work like Dupont, Ms. Angielina Tay noted that the real struggle for their industry is to find female professionals that fit in an operational manufacturing environment. “In our industry, it’s a real challenge to find field scientists, there are only a few female talents who are willing to be part of that kind of environment.” Ms. Angielina shared. 5. Hiring to fill not hiring to fitHiring quickly pose risks and possible detrimental outcome-- it may cause high turnover, lost time and wasted training resources. But most importantly, you might miss on diverse talent that’s critical to a company’s success.For Ms. Jalene Liu of Equinix, she shared the data that shows that female candidates should be nudged 7-9 times before they decide to join a company. Further, she said that hiring managers shouldn’t be in a rush to hire talent. “If the hiring manager is always in a rush, there's very little chance of onboarding diverse talents. So, they have to slow down and be focused on driving diversity, and you know, considering the diversity of candidates before deciding to hire.” Finding the right balance between speed and effectiveness should always be in the process of hiring managers. A lot of challenges on diversity and inclusion has been discussed but there are also key opportunities that were tackled in the roundtable. Here are 5 key opportunities that were discussed during the roundtable: 1. Remote work setup For Ms. Carole Hung of Akzo Nobel, she claimed that remote setups are especially conducive to working moms who are trying to get back in the workforce. “Remote work setups really help, it’s an encouragement to working moms to come back to society.” Ms. Hung said. Aside from working moms, Ms. Tiffany of Accenture also shared her learning experience on people with disabilities. She said that the option of being able to work from home opens a lot more opportunities for persons with disabilities. “They can have the flexibility to work from home now and I think this is an area that we can look into with more effort,” Tiffany said. According to Forbes, remote opportunities will continue to increase through 2023 and it’s been projected that more companies would move to remote setup.2. Culture of empathy in the workplaceForging a culture of empathy takes many shapes and forms in the workplace, even in a remote setup, this type of culture is supported by Ms. Jalene Liu, of Equinix. She said that having an environment with empathy makes a difference when it comes to mutual respect among employers, managers, and employees. She said “Being a good company also has something to do with the company culture, it should build a healthy environment for the employee, there should be.” 3. Right to disconnect Studies have shown that burnout and stress are the effects of an ‘always on’ culture on employees that are checking messages after work. Expert says that knowing how to disconnect after work is one way to resolve it.For Ms. Lynn of Microsoft, she shared her experience of learning the need to delay when it comes to reaching out to employees via email.“I realized I need to delay sending emails after working hours, it’s a way to respect and have empathy and not to disrupt other people's time.” Ms. Lynn explained. 4. Support for Diversity and Inclusion For Mr. Duncan Hewitt HTS advisor mentioned that men who supports women in the workplace are also the kind of allies the industry need to build diversity. On the same discussion, Denise Naidoo of Avanade Asia, added that leaders have the responsibility to ensure that the company represents the communities they live in. “It's about just rebalancing, everyone that comes there [should] feel like they can be their authentic selves and have a sense of belonging,” Denise said. In 2022, there has been a lot of progress when it comes to inclusivity at work. Progressive industries are now creating diversity campaigns to attract and welcome diverse talents around Asia and even the whole world.5. Better recruitment practices For Cisco’s, Mr. Gary Chua, in order to achieve a diversified pool of talent, one effective strategy is to encourage the participation of female talent from early career stages."We've just deployed techniques to start doing internships with female talent and we also started looking at cross-company mentoring of junior talent,” Chua said.In an article from the Guardian, it stated that gender-neutral job descriptions would reduce impostor syndrome among women looking to enter a male-dominated internship. When screening potential interns, companies should have diverse hiring panels and gender-neutral interview questions.The roundtable ended with a fruitful discourse of the challenges and opportunities each of their respective industries face. This discussion will surely reshape the culture of the corporate world to a better, more diverse environment. Join us on our mission to level the playing field for women at work and prepare for the future of work and become a company that cares.
Johnson Controls | HTS: Women in Tech: How to Get In, How to Thrive, and How to Excel
Half the sky is partnering with Johnson Controls on this fireside chat to discuss three important how-to’s for succeeding in a career in tech: “How to get In”: Discussing how to break into the industry. “How to Thrive”: Discussing being a female professional working in the industry and how to navigate this. “How to Excel”: Discussing positioning oneself for the future. Watch this video and learn from four female leaders from Johnson Controls who are not only making a mark in their field, also actively empowering women, to share their journey within the male-dominated profession:Cicci Xi, Regional Director, Global Industrial Refrigeration Products and Solutions APAC; China Fanny Zhang, Senior CMP Manager; China Chloe Li, IT Business Lead, Data Science APAC, Singapore Divya Jha, HR Director, India
Inspiring Women in Johnson Controls Asia
Chloe Li - APAC Data Science LeadAs a data science lead in Johnson Controls, Chloe Li is applying her expertise in machine learning and AI for the next generation of smart and connected building solutions. Together with her team, she is dedicated to creating a more interactive and seamless human experience with buildings and spaces. Besides her passion in tech, Chloe is also committed to encouraging and nurturing female talents to work in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).Career choiceFrom an early age, she has been fascinated by science and technology from the influence of her parents. She majored in Physics for her undergraduate course at the National University of Singapore, where she has also obtained a Master’s degree in statistics. Chloe gained hands-on experience with machine learning and big data at her first job, and that’s when she decided to pursue a career in this field.Working in Johnson Controls and starting an internship programWith her childhood dream being satellite orbits design, Chloe is loving her work at Johnson Controls OpenBlue Innovation Center which is also about “space” and “design”. She and her team are finding out how machine learning, AI and mixed reality could enhance human experiences in different kinds of spaces. Some examples include using facial and object recognition to facilitate discussions while observing social distancing; using light sensors, real-time weather information and people detection to smartly control groups of lights in the office in response to the room occupancy and the changing natural lights throughout the day. Soon after joining Johnson Controls, Chloe initiated an internship program to attract young talents from local universities to join the organization. She is thankful to Kennas Lam, the vice president for IT in APAC, who has been highly supportive of this initiative from the beginning. The first batch of interns started in 2019, and they have contributed significantly to projects such as Dynamic Deal Scoring (DDS), while gaining first-hand experience of solving real-world problems with advanced analytics. With the launch of the OpenBlue Innovation Center, Chloe is now working with a second batch of diverse mix of students from the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University.Diversity and inclusion in practiceChloe is passionate about being part of a supportive ecosystem that encourages a larger representation of women in the tech industries. She believes that it is important to ensure that technologies and solutions are developed from a balanced perspective. She is actively involved with Girls In Tech, which is a global non-profit that works towards gender equality in high-tech industries and startups by educating and empowering girls and women who are passionate about technology. She relishes the opportunities to interact and share her experiences with aspiring girls in tech and to help accelerate their career growth.Ai Lin Yar - Regional Head, Industrial Refrigeration, South East AsiaAi Lin admitted she hit a major roadblock early in life. She didn't do well in her 'O' levels and was only accepted to a polytechnic on her fifth choice to study mechanical engineering. Little did she know that this was the proverbial silver lining in the clouds for her. Although she was barely acquainted with the area of her study, Ai Lin soon gained interest and found her passion working with machines and solving problems.Today, Ai Lin leads the Industrial Refrigeration (IR) SEA Sales, Project, Engineering and Aftermarket Service team, with members across the APAC region. She is a strong believer in diversity in the workplace and sees succession planning as a critical part of her work.What sparked your interest in engineering?Truth be told, I never thought I’d be in the engineering field. I didn’t do well in my ‘O’ levels and a course in engineering at the polytechnic was the only option open to me. Even so, I was only accepted on my fifth choice of mechanical engineering.But I wasn’t ready to give up on myself. The hands-on curriculum at the polytechnic sparked my interest to learn more. I was intrigued by the automation and programming subjects that were taught. During my second year, I had to build an automatic burger dressing with dispensing devices and a programmable logic controller (PLC) program to sequence the mechanism. At the end of the project, I was hooked!I began to read extensively on engineering concepts and inventions. I developed an interest in air conditioning, car mechanism - just about everything mechanical. I even interned and took up vacation jobs with engineering firms just to learn more about the field and to gain exposure to engineering.Would you encourage women to pursue careers in STEM, and why?Most definitely, yes! More women should be pursuing a career in STEM, for the simple reason that diverse teams tend to perform better. Individuals from different gender, race, background and experience bring different perspectives.And we need to get women in STEM at an early stage, say during school. Many young smart, talented girls see this field as a “male centric” career with limited opportunities for women. We need to change this stereotype. We shouldn’t limit women to what we can or can’t do.Describe your role in Johnson Controls.As the lead in the Industrial Refrigeration (IR) Southeast Asia (SEA) Sales, Project, Engineering and Aftermarket Service team, I work with members across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. I manage the day-to-day running of the functional departments to ensure timely delivery of products and services to our customers. I’m also tasked with developing initiatives to lead the team in meeting financial KPIs. As a manager, I believe in building solid foundation in our people, focusing on their personal growth and developing their leadership potential.What do you like about your job? What are some career highlights?I enjoy working with people. My team members are talented, and generally great fun to work with. There’ll always be challenging problems - but I relish the opportunity to seek out creative resolutions to these issues. I get to learn new things everyday which allows me to develop my professional skills.One of my proud career moments is building up the project engineering capability of the IR Singapore team. The team now has the capability to build highly customized refrigeration system locally, and is able to build complex F&B contracting plant.I led the integration of the project engineering team for both York Process Systems and F&B. This consolidates the resources for both business lines, and allows the service retrofit team to tap on the project and engineering team services.Embrace your failures and learn from them. Having the courage to continue after a fall is what matters. Persevere and don't give up until you have reached your goal. But never let your ambitions be held back by conventions or traditions. Diversity is the unique strength that a woman brings to the table.” -- Ai Lin Yar, Regional Head, Industrial Refrigeration, South East AsiaWhat motivated you to work for Johnson Controls over such a long period of time?I started out at York as a design and project engineer, and was transferred to the sales support and application team during a restructuring exercise. I was looking for new challenges a few years later and decided to switch gear to be a sales engineer instead. In this role, I’m selling highly customized engineering systems to customers, and work with the Engineering Head to bring the local IR engineering capability to the next level.Two things stood out for me working in Johnson Controls: my great team mates and the dynamic working culture. I’ve been given many opportunities to grow professionally and to learn on the job. Promotions are based on merit and performance, and not dictated by gender. Whenever I’m stumped with challenges or issues, I know that I’ll be able to get advice and support from my team mates, peers and bosses.How do you see yourself over the next few years in Johnson Controls?I’m looking to continue my growth in this current role, as I see tremendous room for improvement and development to bring the business to the next level of growth. There’s also an imminent need to build strong succession for some of the critical roles within the team.If you weren’t an engineer, what do you think you would be doing today?I think I might become a personal banker. I like the idea of having my money to work for me.What are your interests outside of work?I’m a nature lover and an avid mountain trekker. I trek every weekend, and sometimes up to four times a week when I get ready for my annual summit climb. I challenge myself to trek a different summit every year, which is a great way for me to be disciplined about keeping fit. I’ve learnt to respect nature and have become a responsible traveller, learning to survive in the wild with limited resources.Faith Goh - Portfolio Growth Manager, Industrial Refrigeration, Rest of AsiaWith a strong aptitude for Math and Physics at a young age, Faith knows a career in engineering was where she wanted to be. A natural leader, she's not shy about seeking help to overcome her weaknesses and works on improving her interpersonal skills. She counts her blessings in having good mentors on the job and finds satisfaction in winning over conservative clients to close deals. Faith served as the first president of Johnson Controls Women Resource Network.What sparked your interest in engineering?I’ve always excelled in Maths and Physics, and scored distinctions in those subjects while in school. When it came to selecting a tertiary course, I opted for engineering without any hesitation. I’m an analytical person, and I felt confident that engineering would be a good fit for my strength.I graduated during the 1997 financial crisis. Job openings were scarce then, but I’d managed to land an interview ahead of my peers. I must have had made good impression on the interviewers because I was soon offered a job! However, it would be some years and few jobs later that I discovered my niche working with a multinational corporation.Would you encourage women to pursue careers in STEM, and why?I’d say it’d be best to find your passion and to do something that you are happy with. A career in STEM may spark joy for one person but may not work for another. It can be daunting to make a decision on something so major. My advice would be to keep an open mind, ask yourself questions, evaluate your answers as objectively as possible, then decide on the best course of action yourself.Describe your role in Johnson Controls.I started as a sales engineer with Johnson Controls about six years ago. I’m currently heading the indirect business sales within the Southeast Asia region. My end users are the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who buy industrial compressors from contractors. Our brand is well established in the industry and has earned a solid reputation across the region. I don’t have to make cold sale calls since most of our customers are repeat business.One of my key challenges during my early years with the company was learning to connect with my customers. I had all the textbook knowledge about thermal dynamics and heat transfers, but these were not the main concerns of my customers. Instead, they were more interested in understanding the value that Johnson Controls brings to the table; they needed to be convinced that we are the right partner for them.Looking back at my school years, my leadership position in sports had help hone my interpersonal skills. I was able to engage with people from different departments within the organization - from the ground staff to managers - with relative ease.What do you like about your job? What are some career highlights?I’m a people person and I’ve always enjoyed meeting people. As a sales engineer, I don’t see my job as a plain sales rep. I’m in the business to help my customers resolve issues - not just to push the latest products to the end users.I’ve learnt the importance of connecting with the customers when I started my career some 10 years ago. I found that they value a frank opinion rather than a sugar-coated response, and that building customer trust takes a lot of hard work. There are no room for empty promises in our line of work.One of my career highlights was completing my first turnkey project on a local cold store. A typical project cycle usually last about 3 years, from specs to installation. Along the way, there were changes in the customer’s requests and few other challenges. But I was glad I persevered and saw the project through.Even when I was a rookie on the job, I was trusted to work independently and negotiated deals with overseas clients. Some male clients from conservative markets were not used to female engineers, and were difficult to work with. Eventually I won them over by remaining professional, showing competence and mastery over the subject matter. The takeaway for me from this episode was that I have to be aware and be sensitive of other cultures and practices.Be professional in your work: take ownership of your responsibilities and handle your assignments with pride. Discover your passion and embrace the challenges that come with it. Identify your priorities and work on them with intention and determination. Always adopts a positive mindset in whatever you do.” -- Faith Goh, Sales Manager, Industrial Refrigeration, Rest of AsiaWhat motivated you to work for Johnson Controls over such a long period of time?Johnson Controls has a healthy work culture - one that promotes diversity and values teamwork. I had the privilege to work with Richard Buckley during my early years. He was a great mentor who saw my potential and gave me many opportunities to grow my managerial skills. He’s the one who encouraged me to take on new challenges and to step outside of my comfort zone. One example was my taking on the inaugural role of president of the Women Resource Network, a networking platform for fellow female colleagues and leaders within the company.There are always opportunities to develop one’s skills at the company. I was selected to undergo a 6-month leadership training program where I’d learned about the financial and other aspects of running a business. I’ve become a better manager to lead my team, thanks to the training.How do you see yourself over the next few years in Johnson Controls?I’d like to see myself gaining more coaching skills and become a mentor to guide my younger colleagues in the team. I’m always ready to provide a listening ear and have been known to ask insightful questions that cut to the chase and get to the heart of the matter. I’m a positive person and I’d love to share that energy with my team members.If you weren’t an engineer, what do you think you would be doing today?I think it doesn’t really matter as long I’m challenged in my job, and find satisfaction in what I do.What are your interests outside of work?I love to travel and I like to explore places like Nepal and India. I’m also into mountain hiking and I look forward to my next expedition to the mountains.The original articles were published here, here and here.
She is Up for the Tech Challenge to Create Smart Buildings
Spunky and talented, our software engineer based in Pune, Hemlata Tiwari, helmed one of the winning teams in this year’s Tech Challenge.For the seventh year running, Johnson Controls Tech Challenge showcased future-focused innovations that solve business challenges, tapping the expertise and creativity of more than 1,000 Johnson Controls engineers around the world.Tell us about your team’s winning innovation. Our team’s winning innovation solves day-to-day problems that building managers face such as asset location tracking, integrating the Building Management System (BMS) or Building Automation System (BAS) with other enterprise applications, as well as providing intelligent insights by predicting various events. Our solution is an integration of our flagship OpenBlue Enterprise Management, Digital Twin, and Dynamics 365, providing a single pane of glass with smart analytics to enable smart building operations.What were the highlights of Tech Challenge 2020?Because of the global pandemic, Tech Challenge 2020 was completely virtual for the first time. However, it was so well-organized that I did not feel any disconnect. The four-day event brought together colleagues from different countries despite these trying times to champion innovation and collaboration. I was fully engaged and took away great insights from our business leaders and industry speakers.Why did you choose technology as a career?I have always wanted to understand and solve real-life problems. A career in technology allows me to do this. As a software engineer, I use technology every day to solve problems that affect people, businesses, and communities. This is my contribution to society and why I joined Johnson Controls three years ago.Working in a future-focused company with a level playing field fuels my passion for innovation. I believe in staying motivated and curious, encouraging my colleagues to keep pushing the boundaries together and feeling the satisfaction of contributing to society. It doesn’t even feel like work because this is my passion.I am inspired by my role model, the late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, aerospace scientist and former President of India, as well as technology giants like the late Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella.Like many accomplished female employees in Johnson Controls, Hemlata wears several hats. She is also a mother of a toddler.The original article was published here.
Don’t limit women to what we can or can’t do: Saisunee Jommed
Empower young women to advance in the STEM professions by giving them role models and support, says Johnson Controls Thailand’s head of country services Saisunee Jommed.In many countries, the STEM professions are heavily male-dominated, and it is not common to find women working in STEM-related fields, let alone rising to senior positions. When they do, however, they become important role models for the next generation.Saisunee Jommed, the first woman to head the country services team for the Thailand operations of smart buildings specialist firm Johnson Controls who has spent almost two decades with Johnson Controls Thailand and was appointed to her current position in 2018, received a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Rajamangala University of Technology and a Master’s Degree of Entrepreneurship and Innovation from College of Management Mahidol University. Her career has been hands-on all the way, and she shared as well that it was in fact the hands-on curriculum of her college days that drew her to the field in the first place.Here are the highlights of the conversation.When you first started working as an engineer with Johnson Controls in 2001, how common was it to have women in engineering roles?Engineering is traditionally one of the most male-dominated professions and in my early days working as a Project Engineer (in 2001), it was not common to have women in engineer roles. This could be due to the daunting job scope and tasks assigned which might cause women to doubt their problem-solving abilities.However, being in this industry for more than 18 years, I have seen more and more women venturing into engineer professions and climbing up the career ladder, which is very heartening.What do you think has helped bring more women into the field?I can speak for Johnson Controls, where I am proud to have seen and worked with strong and capable women engineers. We have a strong culture of diversity and inclusion and we offer women equal opportunities to explore the challenges at work. We take pains to ensure that our hiring slate always includes female candidates. An example of this is in Japan, where we continue to hire more female engineers than the industry average.Of course, we are not just looking for the best women employees, we want the best employees, period.I myself have been given many opportunities to grow professionally and to learn on the job. Promotions are based on merit and performance, and not dictated by gender.From your own experience, and from seeing those around you, what do women in the STEM professions need most to advance their careers?Work ethics and dedication is key for women in STEM to advance their careers. At the same time, it is crucial for these women to be provided with an inclusive working environment which extols fairness, full participation and creates employee engagement.For example, at Johnson Controls, we have a women professionals network where female colleagues can discuss the challenges they face in the workplace and brainstorm ideas on improving gender equality. We have also established a company-wide, organizational support system that not only empowers women, but also supports them to be successful at work and at home. “It is important for young women to have someone to look up to. As such, strong and inspiring women leaders in STEM professions must be good examples and continuously inspire these young women.”Being leaders in this field, we need to work together and change this stereotype that STEM is a “male-centric” field with limited opportunities for women. We should not limit women to what we can or can’t do but instead empower them to take up the challenge and pursue a fulfilling career in STEM.As a leader, what would you say is your best characteristic?My attention to detail is one of my strongest traits. I am able to pay more attention to each and every one of my team members, allowing me to mentor them closely and provide them with important guidance as they advance in their careers.What inspires you the most?Today, what continues to inspire me is my fellow women in this industry. I strongly believe that the knowledge and experience we have acquired will drive the technological innovations and advancements in Thailand and the region.The original article was published here.
She is Setting New Chapters for Women in STEM Careers
As the Asia Director of Global Industrial Refrigeration Product and Technology and Vice President of Women Global Network (WGN) in APAC, Cicci Xi, who is based in Shanghai, is looking to enhance the inclusivity and diversity work culture at Johnson Controls in the region. A recognized industry titan, she is equally passionate about raising the technical and professional standards in China’s industrial refrigeration sector.Career choice in EngineeringAs a young child, Cicci was not one who settled for conventions; rather, she relished in pushing the boundaries and breaking the molds. She credited her parents for being open-minded and allowing her to try out anything that interest her. Cicci showed a keen interest in the sciences from an early age, and was encouraged by her parents to pursue her passion. This eventually led to her choice of major in cryogenics and refrigeration, a branch of mechanical engineering, at Xi’an Jiao Tong university, one of the leading universities in China. She began her career with a local research and design institute as the design engineer for industrial equipment such as HVAC, air separation system and industrial gas piping. Ever eager to broaden her skills set beyond engineering, Cicci took up an MBA course with Donghua University while juggling a demanding work schedule.Recognition as an Industry TitanCicci began her career with YORK China (prior to the acquisition by Johnson Controls) in 1999 as a project engineer, which later extended to different internal and external roles across technical positions and account management, to sales and marketing driving business growth in industrial refrigeration. She was dedicated in raising the company’s technical and professional standards in the refrigeration industry, and focused on building up expert teams and cultivating talents at the company. In recognition of her exemplary performance, Cicci received the Johnson Controls’ Global Masters Award in 2008. Today, Cicci is the Director of GIR (Global Industrial Refrigeration) Asia Product Technology where she leads a team of more than 100 employees to develop new business models and focus on long-term growth of industrial refrigeration products in the region. Her wealth of experience encompasses marketing strategy, communications, and growth marketing.When asked about her ‘secret’ of success, Cicci shared: “I enjoy the process of creating something from the ground up. When I work on any project, I’ll first plan out a long term vision and short term goals, and I’ll work methodically to meet the set milestones. This systematic approach keeps me on track to see a project to fruition and deliver results.”Leading the Women Global Network (WGN)Cicci’s other passion is working on creating inclusive environments in the male-dominated engineering industry for women. She’s a strong advocate for greater inclusivity and diversity at the workplace, and believes in bringing different energy and perspective to the company. “I find that women are suitable for science and engineering. The disciplines require logical thinking and patience — traits that are natural to women,” she reasoned. Her tireless efforts have earned her numerous accolades within the industry, including the prestigious Golden Chain “Extraordinary Women of the Year” award that she received in 2012.Cicci has been leading the Johnson Controls’ Women Resources Network team in China since the global initiative was launched in 2014. Working together with a team of volunteers, she had organized workshops and forums where the company’s women leaders “shared their knowledge and experiences on career development, such as management and work-life balance issues, with fellow female co-workers,” she said. Following the recent relaunch of the initiative Women Global Network, Cicci is now overseeing the APAC region and developing the strategy, structure and resources to nurture female talents and future leaders, and to recognize their achievements in the diverse and inclusive workplace.Going forward, Cicci thinks that it’s time our society encourage more young girls to study STEM subjects in schools. “We should address stereotypes that STEM course work are difficult for girls to handle. Instead, we should find ways to build the interest and confidence of our young female generation in the sciences and engineering courses,” she said.The original article was published here.
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