Classified Post Career Forum highlights: Learning about the science of leadership at Yip’s Chemical
Gary Wong Chi-him is a dedicated learner who studied translation, law and diplomacy. Even though his education has little to do with chemistry, he told the forum, his leadership skills and attitude landed him a management trainee position at Yip’s Chemical.
Wong – who was joined onstage by the company’s corporate communications manager Eunice Lai – hadn’t previously thought of entering the chemical engineering field. He explained that although it is not considered trendy by young people, he sees a bright future.
“Yip’s Chemical is an up-and-coming company. There are not many companies in the world that have seen its stock balloon tenfold in two years.”
He said the company offers him great exposure; now in his early 30s, he is already managing a team of 88 in mainland China as the deputy head of project sales. The diversity of the company’s customers means he gets to visit many places and he spends his weekdays flying to different locations in mainland China.
He said that one day he can be selling paint to luxury property developers in downtown Beijing; the next, he can find himself in a rural village promoting paint to builders of public housing.
Since joining the company in 2007, Wong has already taken on six roles, including working in marketing, strategic planning and running the executive chairman’s office.
“When I was a management trainee, I was given the chance to help the company rebrand a paint product. Yip’s Chemical wants their management trainees to get their hands dirty, and you will be able to learn so many things in the process,” he said.
The exposure that the company has given Wong prepared him for a leadership position. He has learned that, as a leader, it is not possible to be an expert in everything, but you must be able to quickly identify core issues and deal with them.
“When I was running the executive chairman’s office, every day there were meetings with different segment of the business: IT, marketing, sales, procurement, environmental. There are a lot of issues for top management to look into.”
He said that, unlike for his generation, technology will be a major priority for future trainees to tackle.