This Q&A has been edited and condensed.
What is your job title and where do you work?
I am the CEO APAC of VOXFLOR and I work in Beijing, China
What does a day in your role look like and how do you approach new projects?
My main mission is to set strategic direction, lead the company to grow more profitable, and become a leading brand globally in the commercial floor covering industry.
My current responsibilities include managing VOXFLOR’s China and international sales functions through direct contacts and remote connections with primary customers, partners and business leaders. I also review financial data and hold marketing meetings and discussions. Due to the global scope of the business, my workday tends to span several time zones, from Asia to Europe and North America.
We have a number of new projects ongoing– including opening a manufacturing plant in Thailand in the fourth quarter of 2022 – and expanding sales to new geographical territories. We have task forces working on each of these projects, and I communicate often with the key stakeholders.
Is there something about your professional journey that people would find surprising?
I originally studied English Literature, but ended up in sales and leadership roles throughout my career. I chose to stay in those roles for a long time instead of switching jobs. I was with one company for 24 years.
What was your path from graduation to your current job?
When I started in the Smith Executive MBA program, I was the Sales Director for Greater China with Milliken & Company–a U.S. based company. At the time, I was interested in a career change, from sales leadership to senior leadership. The EMBA program allowed me to combine my past experiences in the business world with theories and principles in a systematic way, and it provided answers and alternative thinkpaths to various challenges and issues that I have encountered–especially outside the sales and marketing arena. An opportunity surfaced last fall with leading brand, VOXFLOR, and its board found I was well suited for the role of CEO because of my work experience and education.
Are you where you thought you would be in your career? What are your goals?
I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved, and my goals are to take VOXFLOR to new heights–becoming a respected, leading brand globally. I also want our company to make a greater contribution to the community and be a truly responsible corporate citizen
What Smith School resources or relationships did you leverage for your career?
Due to the pandemic, my graduating class was only able to complete half of the EMBA program in person, but the classmates and faculty that I met came from a wide range of businesses and backgrounds. I’m sure my connection to Smith and its alumni will help me expand my professional and social contacts.
How has your Smith education helped you with your career? Were there specific classes, experiential projects, team projects, or internships that have been especially helpful to you?
I gained the knowledge needed to take on a senior leadership role, along with the confidence it takes to deal with other senior executives. I very much enjoyed Smith’s classes in leadership strategy, finance and economics.
Why did you decide to get a business degree and why did you choose Maryland Smith?
I have always wanted to have a business degree but having the time to earn one was a major challenge. As I was considering options, I came across the Smith School and found it was a perfect fit because of its global style, curriculum, and quality faculty.
What about your personal journey has led to your success?
My upbringing has had a tremendous impact. When I was a child, my parents told me to have high standards, continue to study, and be independent. I have lived by that.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I hope the Smith School continues to engage with its alumni, especially those who are international, because that bond is so important. I also hope Smith is around for many years to come, because the world is going through significant changes– and we need to get better by being associated with the best.
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.