Professor of Marketing and Innovation
PhD Business, 1993
"Warwick was the first place I came to when I arrived in the UK. It is like my home."
Professor of Marketing and Innovation, Warwick Business School
Could you tell us about what you do?
My “love affair” with Warwick began in 1988 when I came to study for my PhD from China. I then went to work at Sussex University as Associate Professor before coming back to Warwick in 2000.
What do you love about working at Warwick?
This year, I am reaching my 20 year work anniversary at Warwick, so I ask myself this question sometimes! To start with, Warwick was the first place I came to when I arrived in the UK. It is like my home. As an alumna, I have developed a strong emotional attachment to the University.
I am attracted to the beautiful scenery and modern facilities that the campus has to offer, as well as the positive outlook of people who work and study here. I enjoy the intellectually stimulating exchanges with colleagues not only at WBS but University wide, as Warwick encourages interdisciplinary research projects.
I am very fond of my students. They are highly intelligent, energetic, self-motivated and well-mannered! Whilst teaching them new knowledge and skills in my subject area, I feel I have also learned a great deal from them. Their thirst for knowledge and enthusiasm sustain my passion for teaching.
What is the biggest challenge you think women face today?
Women are still facing many challenges. Although western society has become more aware of gender equality issues, there is still a perception that women need to perform at a greater level than their counterpart to get recognised and/or promoted for the same position. The higher the position, the more likely this is to happen.
In my view, women have to be prepared to sacrifice more to pursue their career. We face very high and sometimes unattainable demands to be a good wife (partner), a good mother and a good carer at home. These roles, however, are not allowed to distract us at work where we are expected to perform to a very high standard too. No wonder some of us feel we have to be a super woman.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day to me is to celebrate the collective achievement of womankind, the remarkable contributions and sacrifices women around the world have made throughout the history and to remind society that there are still significant improvements to be made and one cannot be complacent as the recent "me-too” campaign showed. It is an opportunity to spotlight the barrier-breaking stories of women who are changing the face of leadership today. With the mission to both celebrate their successes and also inspire others to persist in achieving their own aspirations.
What advice would you give to female students and alumnae?
I was interviewed by the Financial Times’ Ten Questions back in 2011 on a similar topic. One of the questions was: how do you deal with male-dominated environment and what advice would you give? I remember my answer then was "be yourself, be rational, be consistent, be well prepared, be willing to discuss and to listen, and be friendly and pleasant. If you are struggling in a job, don’t be too hard on yourself as maybe the timing is not right".
Looking back, these are still valid, and the last piece of advice rings particular true to me. As women we need to look after ourselves as much as others around us.
Is there a woman you look to for inspiration?
I feel inspired by men and women who in their own right have made a unique contribution to the world around them. I am particularly drawn to people who show immense humanity, bravery and principle in the face of adversity. Amongst many I could name are William Wilberforce, Melinda Gates and Priscilla Chan. There is a motto on the wall at WBS, which says
“success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do.”
Those words resonate with me and motivate me to inspire my students.