A Passion for Fixing Problems
As a young girl growing up in Hong Kong, I was always repairing faulty appliances in the home. I had a natural curiosity for dismantling mechanisms to understand how they worked. “If something is broken, look for Zoe” people used to say.
From small household gadgets to heavy commercial vehicles, I’m now fixing problems of a much larger scale. After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science, I dabbled with a few sales jobs before joining a taxi leasing company in Hong Kong. I moved on to a workshop business handling taxi repairs beforejoining Scania in Hong Kong seven years ago and transferring to Singapore four years ago. This may not be considered a typical job for a woman, but I’m a hands-on person. And working behind an office desk just isn’t for me.
As Services Manager at Scania in Singapore, I now lead a team of service technicians at two workshops to repair and maintain heavy trucks and buses so that they run smoothly, safely and fuel-efficiently on the road. My team also provides a complete range of service solutions such as maintenance plans, driver training and coaching, and other fleet services.
The automotive industry is still heavily maledominated and I do face challenges sometimes. Some of the older male customers are not used to dealing with a woman, and I have to work much harder to gain their trust and respect. There was one customer in my previous job back in Hong Kong who really did not want to talk to me, but I would be the first person to contact him to update him on the status of his vehicles. I took a personal interest in it, and over time, the relationship improved. It’s not easy with the older customers, but the younger generation taking over some of the businesses is more open-minded.
Working at Scania has provided me with the equal opportunities and the supportive environment I have needed to continue my career path. I’ve never faced any problems with my male colleagues here. Since I started at Scania, everyone has been accepting and welcoming. It was clear from the start that it’s in the DNA of the corporate culture to respect diversity.
My husband, who works in the import-export trade, has always been encouraging of my work and pitches in to help balance the family responsibilities with work commitments. Our daughter, however, thinks I am mad to work among so many men. But I believe, as one of a few women around, I have more opportunities to stand out on the job. In time to come, I hope to see more women joining the automotive industry, even as service technicians. If they have passion and determination they can succeed no matter what gender they are. As for encouraging my daughter to pursue a similar career, I believe everyone is unique and I would like her to choose what she wants to do in life. Just as I did.