Becoming a brave, curious, and confident woman

August 25, 2019

Rather than worrying about the role of gender identity at work, women should pay more attention to braveness, reading, and confidence, three female panelists with years of working experience suggested to more than 120 attendees and 70,000 online viewers at Columbia Global Centers | Beijing.

On August 25, the Beijing Center hosted the eighth discussion of the Center's Women Leadership Panel Series. The eighth panel aims to unlock the full potential of women in the financial sector. Previously, the Series has initiated discussions on women power in the sectors of media, technology, entrepreneurship, furniture design, and public health.

Three guest panelists included Shirley HSU, a SIPA graduate currently working as CFO of TUS Pine, Huan GAO, Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo Bank Beijing Branch and a Yale alumna, and Yun SHEN LAW ’06, Compliance Director and Managing Director in Credit Suisse Founder Securities Limited. Mudi LIANG TC ’16 served as the moderator.

The first keyword provided by the three panelists is “brave”. Hsu is one of the earliest financial professionals in China’s capital market. She had a quite successful career at Lehman Brothers after graduation, but then decided to break fresh ground in Asian financial market, which is proved to be a right decision. Similarly, Shen gave up her stable job at government after working for five years and left for Columbia University. Gao encouraged young people to be “brave” to grasp the life-changing opportunities.

The discussion also centered on how to stay competitive at work. The three panelists emphasized the importance of life-long learning. Gao completed the Finance and Accounting Program at the Wharton School while keeping her current job. She also enjoys talking with her clients to learn from others: “we provide each other with the most cutting-edge information.”

Hsu and Shen adjust themselves by squeezing time to read. As Shen put it, “It’s far from enough to learn in one field because more and more jobs require interdisciplinary background.”

What role does “gender” play in their work? Hardly any. The three panelists are confident that their female identity does not overshadow their achievements. At work, they prioritize efficiency and quality, and promote young people based on the same standard.

“If you are too conscious of your gender, it is hard to do your job well,” Gao added.