International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect, uplift and celebrate the contribution of women around the world. We’re taking this time to champion some members of The Executive Centre team.
International Women’s Day is celebrated each year on March 8 and is an opportunity to acknowledge the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women the world over. The very first ‘Women’s Day’ was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, but since 1910, March 8 has been adopted as an international day of celebration. The day was officially recognised by the United Nations in 1975, and since this time the scale and breadth of celebrations have grown. At TEC, we wanted to use this day as an opportunity to spotlight some of our team, their diverse contributions, accomplishments and some of the exciting plans for the year ahead. We also invited our CEO and Chairman, Paul Salnikow to share some of his own reflections about creating a balanced, dynamic and successful team.
Paul explains that the ‘International’ aspect of International Women’s Day is particularly resonant for an organisation like The Executive Centre, given that we work across so many different regions, each with unique and nuanced cultural norms. The team at TEC has been carefully selected based on their capabilities, in short, the best people for the job at hand. TEC is also unique, given that many of the senior roles – managers and directors of various regions and departments happen to be women. One of the great strengths of the work culture of TEC is that the team has grown and developed with the business, and this includes, of course, the female members of the team. One of the questions often directed at large corporations, is how can more women be developed for leadership roles given that they are so often underrepresented at senior or executive levels? Paul explains that the promotion and development of female leads has happened very naturally at TEC. “I treat everyone, men, and women as colleagues and teammates. I respect their opinions, listen to what they have to say and incorporate this feedback when making decisions. In many ways, this approach actually makes my job easier. Growing and promoting the team into leadership roles has happened very organically as women, in particular, have chosen to stay and develop their careers with TEC. We introduced paid paternity leave several years ago. I think that this was an important step toward creating a balanced approach to family responsibilities that have traditionally been managed mostly by women. We also provide flexible working conditions for our team. It’s important to keep an open mind, consider the contributions of individuals holistically and work together to accommodate the different obligations we all have outside the office.”
Given that TEC works across so many different markets, with different departments contributing to make each project, centre or event a success, the team is diverse and highly skilled. We asked some of them to share a little about their day-to-day, reflect on what’s ahead for TEC and their thoughts on International Women’s Day.
Jennifer So – Development Manager – Expansion
On work: “I really enjoy the exposure to different markets and different types of people. We are a rapidly expanding company so we need to be aware of how different economies and real estate markets around the world are performing. We also work with people from different backgrounds, with different cultures and expertise. This exposure ensures that I am always learning and challenged. It’s important that I know how to communicate and negotiate effectively, and have a firm financial knowledge and business sense. But I think, even more important, is a willingness to absorb new information and the dexterity to adapt."
On the year ahead: “I am excited to see the continued growth of TEC. In 2017, we added 23 centres to our network, increasing the network by 31% year-on-year. This year, we are entering new markets like Dubai, Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh City."
On International Women’s Day: “To me, it is about celebrating the success and achievement of women and being inspired and encouraged to improve myself.”
Jessica Li – Project Lead
On work: “I love that I get to gather business requirements and then build an actual product with the development team. I’m always excited when new features and applications go live! I’m really looking forward to launching an enhanced version of our TEC mobile app later this year.”
On International Women’s Day: “No matter where we are in the world it is a really important opportunity to show that women are capable of anything and everything.”
Matilda De Kantzow – Global Marketing Coordinator
On work: “ My role requires an open mind, and an ability to think critically and analytically. Working with the marketing team is really exciting, especially the work we are doing on new community and events initiatives. It’s very rewarding knowing that the work we are doing is inspiring a whole new chapter for TEC."
On International Women’s Day: “It’s a chance to celebrate the strength and uniqueness of what it means to be a woman, but also an opportunity to recognise that our differences are our greatest strength."
Ada Cheng – Treasury Director
On work: “Our Treasury team focuses on the monitoring of cash, the use of cash, and the ability to raise more cash. Most of the tasks of the department support these strategies. I am part of an amazing, funny and supportive team and I always look forward to seeing them each day. At TEC people are open and adaptive to new ideas which I find is very unique. It is also fascinating that I get to work with people from all over the network in a truly international atmosphere.Personally, I am committed to helping treasury achieve recognition as a key strategic partner to the business, and advising on both operational and strategic matters. I’ve learned to take the time to self-reflect and consider how my actions will impact other departments and the overall business. It’s important to think how I, as the group treasurer, can contribute to the overall success of TEC."
On International Women’s Day: “I think it’s a day that shows women, myself included, that we can be part of something bigger than ourselves and that we can embrace and celebrate the many, many hats that we wear.”
Kim Seychell – Community Manager
On work: “I am lucky enough to be able to spend my days talking to members, learning what they want and need, connecting them and planning events to help them reach both their business and personal goals. I love the life skills that my job has given me, the connections I’ve made with both staff and members, and the absolute variety. I joined TEC when I was 19 years old! I look back at what I have achieved…I couldn’t have done it without TEC.”
On the year ahead: “I’m really looking forward to watching our community continue to grow. I spent all of last year trying different events, seeing what worked, and figuring out what our members wanted. It worked brilliantly in Sydney, and I am so excited to watch it spread throughout Australia and Asia Pacific.”
On International Women’s Day: “For me, it is a celebration of what women everywhere have worked so hard for. It is a time where women can stand together and say ‘Look how powerful we are! We are second to no one!’ We can celebrate our successes, and support each other, the best way women know how.”
Hayley Cheng – Corporate Secretary
On work: “I’d actually never considered being a secretary when I was younger. My major at university was in nutrition and I worked as a nutritionist for a while. However, after working as a secretary I found I really enjoyed organising someone’s schedule and all the associated tasks that are part of the job.”
On International Women’s Day: “Happy International Women’s Day – there is so much to look forward to in the year ahead.”
From all of us at The Executive Centre, Happy International Women’s Day.