On Friday, December 6th, 2019, China General Chamber of Commerce-USA (CGCC) hosted a Lunch & Learn event titled “Uncover the Leadership Story: Translating Experience and Vision into Reality” at the Bank of China Building in Manhattan. CGCC was honored to invite Ms. Shau Zhang, Partner & EY Americas Leader of China Overseas Investment at Ernst & Young LLP as guest speaker of the event.
More than 40 representatives from CGCC member companies gathered to listen to Ms. Zhang’s intriguing anecdotes and insights on how she worked to effectively overcome various challenges throughout her career and successfully advance to high management positions in one of the most competitive industries.
Ms. Zhang began by describing her background and her journey to America. Born and raised in Shanghai, China, after Ms. Zhang graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University in the late 1980s, she received an offer from Bentley University’s Business School in Massachusetts. Ms. Zhang explained that at that time, she was faced with the major challenge of not being able to afford the business school’s expensive tuition. Eager to attend the school, Ms. Zhang described that she confronted this issue head-on by meeting with the school’s Dean, ultimately overcoming the language barrier to successfully advocate for a scholarship. Ms. Zhang explained that after having first made partner at EY 13 years later, she ran into her Dean at an event where he told her that from their first meeting, he knew she would go on to be successful and explained that the reason why the school offered her the scholarship was due in part to her demonstrated courage and strong will to fight for herself.
Ms. Zhang used this story to emphasize that her strong willingness to “fight” and stand up for herself is something that has helped to propel her to success and higher positions throughout her career. “If someone wouldn’t even fight for themselves, how could they fight for the team, for the company, and for the country?”, said Ms. Zhang.
After graduation from Bentley University, Ms. Zhang started her career with EY’s Boston office as a staff one. Describing her early days at EY, Ms. Zhang explained that while at that time she was one of only two foreigners working in the office, she never let herself feel constrained by the “glass ceilings” or stereotypes. Instead, she became well acquainted with her colleagues, learning more about American culture and sharing Chinese culture with them.
While sharing memorable stories related to her own professional development, Ms. Zhang offered some important tips and concepts for audience members to keep in mind during their own careers.
“If five is the highest score, you have to be a five at your job,” said Ms. Zhang. Ms. Zhang also emphasized that in order to be successful in one’s workplace, “Communication is key” and one should always “keep the whole team posted on your progress”.
CGCC sincerely thanks Ms. Shau Zhang for sharing her career journey and leadership experiences with the audience. CGCC also expresses gratitude to those CGCC members in attendance as well as Bank of China New York Branch for providing an event venue. CGCC will continue to bring high-quality discussions and conversations to its members.
The CGCC Lunch & Learn Series aims to provide a platform for leaders from CGCC member companies and partners to share their industry insights with CGCC member companies and team members. CGCC welcomes all passionate leaders from our members and partner organizations to join this program.
Founded in 2005, the China General Chamber of Commerce – USA (“CGCC”) has been recognized as the largest and most influential non-profit organization representing Chinese enterprises in the U.S. Its membership consists of more than 1,500 Chinese and U.S. companies, 54 of which are ranked on the 2019 Fortune Global 500. CGCC’s mission is to create value, generate economic growth, and enhance cooperation between the U.S. and Chinese business communities. CGCC conducts extensive research and provides a broad range of programs, services, and resources to its members and key stakeholders in an effort to foster the mutual understanding, trust, and engagement between China and the U.S. As of 2018, CGCC’s Chinese member companies have cumulatively invested over $120 billion, employ more than 200,000 people, and support over one million jobs throughout the United States.
CGCC is a national organization and includes CGCC-New York (CGCCUSA-HQ), CGCC-Chicago, CGCC-Houston, CGCC-Los Angeles, CGCC-San Francisco, and CGCC-Washington D.C.