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How taking chances has changed my life

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Karen Leung - Business Development Manager, Building Products, Jebsen Industrial

Taking chances. It is something the society talks about a lot: we tell young people to take chances and follow their dreams. We read about people who make a bold career change and achieve something great. I have always enjoyed hearing these stories, but it was only when I embarked on my Jebsen journey that I learned how thrilling it can really be to take chances, and all that can be gained from doing so.

In 2013, I was offered a chance to make a daring move: to leave my comfort zone at a well-established lock maker and join the nascent ironmongery team at Jebsen. Looking back, I am thankful to retired Jebsen Building Products Managing Director Mr. Vincent So for introducing me to this opportunity. Since then I have had the pleasure of taking on exciting risks and challenges in the process of building up a new business line.

As the Business Development Manager for the ironmongery team, I am responsible for everything from acquiring new accounts to ensuring high product quality. Many times, the things I do touch the realm of the unknown: approaching new clients, receiving new briefs and running into new issues that we may not have anticipated. One time we supplied door viewers for a new residential project, but discovered that the humid Hong Kong weather caused that particular model of door viewer to fog up. Since quality was paramount, my colleague and I personally went to the site and swapped out 200 of the door viewer units. The client was pleased, and I learned something new.

Last year, an important new project fell onto my desk: The Peninsula Beijing Renovation Project, which involved a major overhaul of the 250-year-old hotel’s lobby, restaurant and 230 guest rooms. We were tasked to design more than 150 types of customised ironmongery products, supplying more than 30,000 units in total. Naturally, since they were being developed for a luxury hotel, the products needed to be both aesthetic and functional. The main challenge for me? Coordinating the project from Hong Kong even though the site for all the renovation work was in China. Though this limited visibility posed some risks, I jumped onboard this project, using my resourcefulness and communication skills to bring the hotel owner, designers and manufacturers onto the same project trajectory. We successfully delivered high quality products on schedule, and earned the client’s trust – Jebsen Building Products went on to support Hong Kong Shanghai Hotel Group on a number of projects on its property.

By taking a chance, I became more confident, learned new skills and strengthened my client network. At Jebsen, we often talk about how success breeds success, and this is a great example of it. But this experience also made me understand that by taking chances, we don’t just gain successful outcomes, we also open ourselves to valuable lessons and new insights along the way.

I truly believe that life has a lot in store for us if we are willing to continue stretching our comfort zones and taking new chances. I am excited and ready to discover new frontiers with Jebsen and in life in general!

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