People occasionally refer to their work colleagues as family. This is an easy concept to embrace when things are going well at work, but it gets trickier in times of difficulty. Fortunately for me, I have found at Jebsen a family that has stood by me through thick and thin.
I joined Jebsen in 2010, initially responsible for selling beverages from our partner brands. Part of my sales remit was to build relationships with everyone here, from the frontline staff members to the Group directors. Growing this internal network works the same way as building customer relationships: it starts with trust. Sales is not just about selling products after all. It is about building customer trust by always keeping their best interest at heart and clearly communicating the features of every product with them.
In my third year at Jebsen, I was appointed as Senior Sales Representative. Around the same time, though, my world was turned upside down with the discovery that my baby daughter was born with a serious illness. For two years, my days involved spending time with clients in bars until late evening, rushing to my daughter’s hospital ward after a quick power nap, then showing up in the office on time for meetings the next morning. The management were extremely understanding of my situation, delegating work among the team so that I could have the time I needed. When my daughter recovered, my supervisor graciously created an opportunity for me to spend more time with her – by offering me a position in the newly established restaurant business line, in which I would no longer need to go to bars every night.
A caring company culture like this, naturally, motivates more dedication among its workforce. Today, as a Sales Manager overseeing execution plans and teams, I can still clearly remember the kindness that my supervisor showed me. I often extend this caring approach in managing my team. Beyond coaching them on work matters, I also make sure to show care about my team members’ personal lives. Just like my supervisor did for me, I want to empower my team members to shine.
Outside of work, my biggest passion is building with Lego. Whereas newbies tend to follow the provided instructions to a tee, more experienced builders use the blocks to create more unique and imaginative designs. I can liken Jebsen to a giant Lego castle, firmly connected by various business lines, divisions, and staff members; my team, I believe, is the proficient player constantly expanding that castle.
One such opportunity was Jebsen Group’s partnership with Japanese beer brand Suntory in 2017. Since Suntory was a relatively unknown brand in Hong Kong at the time, my team worked day and night to develop its beer product in this market the greater the challenge, the stronger our resolve. After several years of lobbying one restaurant after another, we finally saw the fruits of our labour. Today, there are more than 100 restaurants serving Suntory beverages, with most Japanese restaurants now carrying the brand. Moving forward, we expect it to enjoy an even broader point of sale.
These achievements were notable indeed. But my fondest memory at Jebsen is not the sales numbers I reached, it is the times I spent working with my teams who have become like family. United by changes and challenges, every team member at Jebsen is a Lego block that may seem unextraordinary on its own, but can be as unstoppable as a high-speed maglev train when interlocked and working together.