There has been a great deal of discussion about the role of females in modern society and whether or not women can have it all. Whichever side of the debate you fall on, the vast majority would agree that women have a unique and irreplaceable role to play. As International Women’s Day on March 8th approaches, we at Simply CSOFT want to dedicate the whole month of March to celebrate the achievements of CSOFT’s own women in leadership. Today, we spotlight our President and CEO Shunee Yee and her story of the most inspirational woman in her life, and the top three qualities every female leader should have.
Tell us about the woman in your life who has made the greatest impact on you.
That would be my late grandmother. She had incredible perseverance, a sense of confidence and peace, qualities that empowered her to raise four daughters on her own. My grandfather died when my grandmother was in her early thirties so she had to make ends meet by selling properties and starting a small business. I remember she was always brimming with positive energy and therefore able to handle all manner of relationship and keep the family together. Her calmness and generosity also inspired me. She always found a way to pay it forward and lend a hand to those who needed it.
What do you think are the top three qualities every female leader should have?
In Mr. Warren Buffett’s recent succession planning meeting, he called for three qualities from any potential successor: rationality, calmness and decisiveness. So I would also like to recommend these traits. Every leader, regardless of gender, needs to have the ability to drive growth and, as Buffett said, “fight off the ABCs of business decay, which are arrogance, bureaucracy, and complacency.”
What would you say to aspiring female entrepreneurs who are just starting out and hoping to climb the corporate ladder?
I think we all need to ask ourselves “What do I really want to accomplish with my life?” This question is so practical and crucial, especially for women because we often shoulder more of the burden of family and household responsibilities than men. Pursuing your career and raising a family are all wonderful things. It’s just the matter of knowing what’s important to you and making the best decisions for your life. After that, the practical thing to do is to plan ahead and make priorities which may change according to the different seasons of your life.
Some women think that being a “strong woman” means that you have to be independent like men and do things exactly the same way they do. The truth is that men and women are interdependent. We women are unique and contribute things in very different ways and their end result can be just as amazing as any man’s.
Recognized for her drive, charisma and business acumen, Shunee is a recipient of the prestigious international Stevie Award for Best Asian Entrepreneur for Women in Business in 2009. She was also named by Globalization Today as a Top 25 Globalization Executive in 2011. In 2012, Yee was identified by Fortune Magazine as one of the technology industry’s 36 most powerful disrupters, and one of Fortune’s 2012 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs.