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Embrace Change – Pursue your dream

Infosys Portland believes in a healthy gender balance in our teams and leadership positions.

We also recognise that as our workforce becomes more diverse many of the workplace norms also need to change and so our leadership team is actively listening to the perspectives of a more diverse mix of people.

As well as listening, we also recognise the power of storytelling. Telling stories about how people have forged their careers not only inspires others, but these stories help to illustrate new models, and models play an important part in cultural change as they work as guideposts and give others confidence that they can achieve something similar.

Jian is a woman who has made many changes on her way to becoming an integral part of Infosys Portland. She is now thriving within our firm and helping to shape its culture.

Here is the story Jian shared with me when I asked her to reflect on her time with us and her career so far…

Act 2: Scene 1: A Reinvention

Changing country, culture, and career

Sometimes I feel like I should pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. In five short years, I have changed the country I live in, moving from China to Australia, I have changed my culture, which has been amplified by an MBA at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM), and I have changed my career direction. I’ve jumped from a branch manager role with a multinational in China to commence a new career in procurement and supply chain consulting.

I have been on the most interesting and rewarding journey of my life. Like many migrants who arrive in Australia, one of the first things I realised was that this is a land of opportunity. If I put in the effort, I can reap the rewards.

The big break for me came when my daughter was accepted into a prestigious university in the USA. When she stepped onto a plane, I stepped onto centre stage in my own personal Act 2: Scene 1.

I’ve always believed in lifelong learning

With my daughter happily ensconced at university, I too immediately started studying and spent my first two years in Australia buried in management books and engaged in intense conversations with my fellow students at the AGSM. It was thoroughly stimulating, and I was chomping at the bit to apply the ideas and techniques I was learning.

They say an MBA equips people to move beyond their core discipline. For many, it means general management. For others, like me, it opens up the world of consulting. Studying with like-minded people at the AGSM broadened my perspective in so many ways. I became a more global thinker. I became more confident that the critical analysis I applied to case studies and other challenges was accurate and made good sense of the data I was working with.

Most significant was my interaction with my peers and our teachers. Listening to the views of others, learning from their experience, and gaining deeper insights into Australian business culture, gave me the grounding I needed for the next step – a step into the world of consulting.

A textbook-perfect induction

I had a textbook-perfect induction into Portland. The first week could not have been better.

On the first day on the job, I met my project manager, an incredibly smart young woman. Despite the fact I was so many years older, she showed me the ropes with all the patience in the world and was as protective as a mother hen to its chickens.

On the second day, my project manager took me to the office of our client, a leading financial firm. I found myself at a desk with a spectacular view of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. I pinched myself again. And I did manage to get my focus back on the job.

On my third day, I was connected to my mentor. I thought, “wow, I have a mentor now!” I had never had a mentor in my whole career. It’s just not the thing we did when I started my career in China.

On the fourth day, we went for drinks after work because we had colleagues visiting from Chicago.

On the fifth day, we had our grand ‘cross-continental’ company day. This gave me a great opportunity to absorb the company’s culture and to meet a wonderful cross-section of people. And, as such days tend to go, there was a lot of fun!

In the months since starting with Portland, I am incredibly pleased with the rhythm of consulting life. There are periods of intense activity and some performance pressure. Yet, there is always highly practical and expert support at hand. There are also cruisier days, where I can take deep dives into aspects of the field that I’m interested in. And there is always someone who shares my interests.

When I think about what it means to be a woman working in a consulting environment, I overwhelmingly feel at home. Comfortable, but still challenged. I believe that women tend to be naturally good at negotiating and working on relationships. They are soft skills that most women don’t need to learn when they start working in a consulting environment.

What I’d say to others who might be contemplating a career change is, “dare to dream.” For me, it’s been a dream come true.

Jian has had an amazing journey and I was so glad to hear that she feels at home in her role with our firm. I believe that her story will be an inspiration and might encourage you as you continue your journey toward achieving your career dreams.

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