International Women’s Day: INTERVIEW

Happy International Women’s Day from all of us at Coohom! To help commemorate the contributions of our women colleagues, we surveyed some of our Coohom staff on what it’s like to be a woman in the modern-day workplace.

Before we jump straight into the interview, let’s meet our 3 contributors:

Shelia Wei works out of our Shanghai office and helps to manage our sales operations. She’s held multiple roles within our company’s corporate HQ.

Ashley Jackson (in the middle) is one of our senior sales executives in the US. Here she is pictured with 3 whole generations of her family!

Last but not least, here’s our senior sales executive from Thailand, Cherry Khanitpa (and daughter)!

Let’s get right into the questions and see what insights our contributors brought for us:

Q: What is it that you love the most about your job at Coohom?

Shelia: The job is quite challenging but interesting, I have to collaborate with the sales team cross-functionally and investigate different skills on different topics and product areas. Different methods to work with different teams. My job is quite multifunctional!

Ashley: I love to be a part of a team and company that is ever-changing and growing. The world of 3D visualization is just fascinating. My past job experience with software sales and interior design makes this a perfect fit for me and I love what I do – it excites me every day! 

Cherry: I really admire the training & support from the Coohom team. 

Coohom provided professional training sessions in all of the features and once I have prospective customers, I also have a good mentor & support team. All of them are really appreciated for helping and supporting me with every question/requirement even though I asked some silly questions because the SaaS product is very difficult for me. That all helps to make me confident to commit and present our services to customers. 

Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Shelia: Never thought about that. In China, it is a holiday in some companies but I never had a holiday.

But historically, I think it brings bravery to women and encourages women to fight for their goals for their future. 

Ashley: With having 3 daughters and being an independent and single mother it is one of the most important days to me for women of all ages and cultures.  It celebrates the achievements of all women and their daily lives.  Everyone should love everyone and accept them for who they are and not discriminate.  

Cherry: I think it is a day for all women around the world to show how women can overcome any gender bias and inequity, even in the workplace or community. Therefore, it is very important to remember this day and celebrate the accomplishments of women.

Q: Which woman inspires you the most?

Shelia: My mom is the only woman who provides a lot of support and is very helpful to my life and my career. 

Ashley: My mother and the values she instilled in me from her mother are what inspires me.   I hope to pass these values along to my 3 girls and them down to their children. 

Cherry: Serena Williams is an American professional tennis player. 

I admire her attitude, she has a kid and suffered another pulmonary embolism after giving birth. Then she returned to tennis and had health problems. But finally, she won against a player in the top 10 (at the time of the match) since she returned from pregnancy. Even though she failed many times, she never gives up. 

She has a very good attitude. “It doesn’t matter what your background is or where you come from, if you have dreams and goals, that’s all that matters.”

Q: The theme for this year’s IWD is “Break the Bias”. Have you ever experienced any bias or stereotypes, and how did you handle it? What is your advice to other women on how to handle bias at work?

Shelia: I don’t really experience bias at work because in the tech industry in China the environment is very young and casual, and people are quite open-minded. 

Ashley: In the working world it is a stereotype to have the man as the head of the household and the breadwinner which I have experienced in certain workplaces in my early years. My advice to other women is to stand tall and keep being strong at work. This transfers over to the non-working moms as being a mother in a home and running the household is the hardest and most rewarding job of all! 

Cherry: I used to suffer from bias at my ex-company about seniority issues. I handled it by trying to do my best at work and knowing that someone will see my outstanding performance.

I advise you to ignore and avoid toxic people and try to do everything at your best. 

If no one sees it, maybe that’s not the place for you. Let’s try to find a better one. 

Q: What advice do you have to young women who want to become industry leaders?

Shelia: First thing, don’t be afraid of opportunities to be a manager or team leader. Be brave enough to try, and to challenge yourself. It is always hard to work with other team members and if you become a team leader, you need to face more complicated issues.

Ashley: You can do anything you put your mind to and don’t ever give up.  

Cherry: The leaders of today and the future require a different set of skills than leaders of yesterday. Rather than being experts in their specific field of work, they must also have strong leadership skills in order to effectively manage their team. 

You should have self-development, team development, ethical practice, strategic thinking, and innovation.

Q: How have you balanced being a mother and a professional? How do you manage your time? 

Ashley: Compromises have to be made and balancing time is the most challenging. Priorities have to be set weekly and planned out. Tasks are delegated…Although my girls and I all work well together to help each other whether it is taking a sister to an activity or a friend’s house or cooking meals.

Cherry: I try to complete important tasks during working hours. After that, I spend my time with my daughter. If I have another pending task I can finish when she sleeps. 

Recently, there have been many tools, technologies, and services that can help you complete your tasks within a limited time. I try to learn to use them, so I will get productive work done each day. 

Q: What development have you seen in your local community or country in terms of gender equality and gender norms? 

Ashley: Houston is a very diverse town with many cultures and nationalities.  Everyone in my community is friendly with one another in every aspect of life.   

Cherry: Recently, women have been leaders or executives in many big organizations in Thailand. 

Including the increasing role of women in politics. You can see more and more working women, and successful ones. We are participating and taking an important role in organizations.

Also, we are getting equal acceptance from society. Women have proven that we have abilities besides the house chores.

Q: Any other comments in regards to this year’s International Women’s Day?

Shelia: In a lot of countries women don’t work, but women still need to work because she needs to be closer to society or to men, or in some organizations, even the work in general.  And being in a job will allow women to know themselves better, to be more confident, and to be independent.In China it’s quite common for women to work, but less so in other Asian countries like Japan and South Korea.

Ashley: To all women out there…Don’t ever forget your worth and that you are loved and appreciated.

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