Diversity is the Essential Ingredient for a Global Company
By: Emily Lai, director of design
Growing up, I knew I would work for a global company one day – I was born in Hong Kong and attended college in the United States. Living in two very different cultures gave me the foundation for a diverse career. After college, I went on to work with companies in France, Japan and the United States. Then, I joined Jabil’s Radius division in Hong Kong in 2010 and found the markets and diverse customers we serve matched not only my career interests but also my skills.
The work of a designer requires understanding customers’ individual needs and expectations, which are greatly impacted by where that customer is based. Because of that, we localize and customize designs that best meet the desires of each customer. It’s not ironic that I chose a career that is naturally diverse – it satisfied my passion and career goals. For those who don’t work in this field, though, there are still ways to be ‘universal.’
Working globally can positively impact someone’s career because it gives so many opportunities for them to learn about various markets and learn to adapt their thinking and project deliverables to meet the expectations of diverse end-users.
What can help make someone think more ‘globally’?
Upbringing is just one element that prepares someone for a global career, such as myself and living in places where I was exposed to different cultures at a young age. However, not everyone is able to have that type of childhood, so it’s also important to take every chance to gain global experience: accept internships in cities or countries away from home, take international studies courses in college, or volunteer to work with teams at other sites.
To be a global company, we need a diverse workforce, and it’s our responsibility as managers and leaders to empower employees to gain those skills and experiences. As employees of Jabil, we all need to remain open-minded in accepting and adopting new cultural nuances to better serve our customers and ultimately the product users.
My favorite way to think of the idea of ‘working globally’ and the way I explain this philosophy to my team is that it’s like a pizza: the company itself is the traditional pizza base with crust, cheese and sauce, but the variety of toppings represent all of the local cultures we work in. The more global a company is – or the more pizza toppings there are – the more diversity of thought and variety of resources there are available to innovate and positively change the world.