InterviewsWomen in TechnologyWomen Leadership

“Know Yourself and Know Your Enemy”

Sunny Yang, General Manager at TCL MEA, says people in general should develop themselves based on their strengths

Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you at work is like?
Well, a typical day for me starts very early, as the GM of TCL Middle East & Africa there are many responsibilities on my shoulder. I must lead and create strategies for different markets and countries. I closely monitor and operate each aspect. It is very important for me to also build a harmonious and highly efficient working atmosphere for my team, sometimes I am tied up in many back-to-back meetings, barely managing some time for myself even during the weekend.

Did you always know that working in the industry you represent was what you wanted to do? How did you decide on it?
I started working with TCL nearly two decades ago, it has been a gradual growth which obviously took time and a lot of hard work to get here. I have been passionate about TCL from the day I joined and continue to grow so. I would say, I have a very ambitious vision for TCL.

With the accelerated upgrading of the “Made in China” concept and the continuous advancement of “the Belt and Road Initiative”, it has become the responsibility of China’s national enterprises to lead innovation in various industries and build a community of shared future for humankind. And I strongly believe that TCL’s latest mission and vision “Leading Technology, Harmonious Co-existence” can well fit the goal. Over time, I had the opportunity to build on it and work towards achieving those goals.

What first got you interested in the industry you work in?
As a child, I was very interested in always learning and knowing more about the next generation of technology. Back in the day, we didn’t have access to the kind of technology that is available at our fingertips today. Whereas now we live in a day and age where we have QLEDS, and Mini LEDS, these products have the power of transporting you into the screen and giving the same experience as close to reality. Technology has come a long way, and there is still a lot more to come. I am already looking forward to and waiting for new technology developments to come through.

Do you have a role model?
I believe in inspiration, and that can be found daily in different people, and various things. I wouldn’t define one person as a role model, it is looking at the larger picture. Finding inspiration in people next to you, always learning something. Sometimes, a woman herself can be an inspiration, who motivates others through her words, actions, and achievements.

It can be anyone who has overcome challenges or adversity, or someone who has made a significant impact in their workplace/community/industry. I get inspired and admire a woman when I see her for her strength, resilience, and determination. One must always strive for excellence and demonstrate the ability to inspire greatness. Hence, we can all be each other’s role models I believe.

What obstacles did you have to overcome?
As a leader, it is very common to come across obstacles, however, what makes a good leader is how you choose to solve the obstacles. My first leadership position has been in a very much male-dominated team. From that experience, I noticed that even many women have the experience and skills to take on different challenges, while most women are more cautious than men before making commitments and decisions, especially when it comes to things they haven’t done before.

This caution is often interpreted as a lack of confidence. Fortunately, many seniors around me from executives to co-workers, have given me a lot of encouragement and belief in me that I can make it. So to me, that was the most important thing: We have confidence in ourselves, have the courage to step out of our comfort zone, release our potential, and take control of our future.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the industry you represent? What do you wish you had known?
It is quite simple, there is a very common saying in Chinese “know yourself and know your enemy”. As I always say, not just women, but people in general should develop themselves based on their strengths. Therefore, my suggestion to every woman is to first know about herself, her passions, her strengths, her traits, and her working styles. Then do a gap analysis versus where you want to go. That way, you can easily identify the gap and the method of development. What matters most is being aware of the gap and how you can grow and improve and work on certain aspects.

What do you do to unwind after work?
Exercise can really relax me, and it can let me release my pressure. I believe there can never be a better way to unwind than just playing golf or taking a walk with your loved ones. Having family and friends around can also be a great method of self-development and learning. I am also an avid reader, so for me reading different books is my way of finding tranquility after a busy day.

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