Women are increasingly playing a bigger role in the workforce but the reality is that there are many women who still have concerns for balancing work and family life. Through our POSCO Women Leadership Series, we would like to introduce you to female executives at POSCO who are making an impact while also finding a balance for family life.
The first person we would like to highlight is Yukyung Lee of POSCO M-TECH.
Executive responsible for marketing at POSCO M-TECH
Please share with us your experience in applying to POSCO as well as your time here since then.
After graduating from college, I was working at a foreign IT company when I saw a position opening for a female at POSCO. I recall there was an advertisement on the first page of the daily newspaper. At the time, the 1st female recruitment announcement was a big issue as it was very rare for Korean conglomerates to recruit female employees and there were no past cases of women, regardless job function, being able to freely apply for jobs
Pictured here: A newspaper ad for the 1st recruitment of female employees at Pohang Steelworks
After joining the Department for Exports, I worked on exports for southeast Asia and I also moved to the Plant & Equipment Procurement Department and then to the Raw Materials Procurement Department.
What kind of company is POSCO M-Tech and what is your role there?
I am responsible for marketing at POSCO M-Tech.
POSCO M-TECH started as a steel packaging specialized company in 1973. Currently POSCO M-TECH produces the alumnium deoxider and molybdenum used for the steelmaking process as well as steel packing for Pohang and Gwangyang Works. In addition, it has been creating new growth momentum by operating plants for steel raw material such as magnesium plants and ferro silicon factories.
The marketing department has been responsible for raw material procurement and product sales. As such, you can consider this department to be responsible for the profitability of the company.
When did you feel the most satisfaction while working at POSCO?
I felt most satisfaction with my job when I received recognition for my hard work. While working in the Department for Exports, I had to consider how to receive real-time market information and utilize the network of trading companies in order to receive information on each of the different markets. As the system developed, today it has become what we call GIH (Global Information Hub) which is an internal information sharing system for POSCO. In addition, at the time of plant and equipment purchase, TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) was introduced so that purchases were not only based on price but also quality by creating a process that evaluated suppliers based on considerations of maintenance costs and other costs that arise while operating facilities
I felt the most satisfaction after receiving recognition for my efforts which led to increased profitability.
Superwoman who takes care of work and family! What is her secret?
What is your secret to finding work-life balance?
I got married and had a baby soon after joining POSCO so I had to get help from my mother-in-law and a housekeeper. I started to live together with my mother-in-law since the birth of my second child and gave full responsibility on the house chores to the housekeeper even though it was costly. As nurturing and housework were taken care by others, I naturally could concentrate on working and spent time with children during my spare time. For women pursuing their careers, I advise you to ask for help from those around you so that you can focus on making most of your talents and excelling at work.
At first, my children wanted their mother to be home, but as they grew older, they say they are proud to have a mother who has a profession. Especially, my elder child wants to become a person who is passionate about their work like me.
A few words for those who dream of becoming a woman leader!
As a woman leader, we would like to listen to your views on strength of women leaders and what efforts you have done to be where you are today.
Generally, the woman in the family listens, is considerate, takes initiatives, and solves problems that arise between family members. These are the roles and qualities also required for leaders at work. If you see a family as a small organization, the mother’s leadership which involves listening, being considerate, taking initiatives, and solving problems, could be said to be the strength for women leaders in the workplace as well.
I also try to listen and consider various opinions of employees before saying my thoughts. When receiving reports I always ask for the opinions of the person in charge since there is no one more knowledgeable about the matters at hand than the person in charge. I think when leaders listen to employees, the employees are motivated to work harder, think more and propose better ideas.
In addition, I think the initiatives of a leader influences the atmosphere of the organization, so I try hard to be efficient with my time by exercising in the morning and constantly working on self-development even after work. I hope I can be recognized by employees as a hardworking leader that is smart and realistic but also warm-hearted.
Please tell us about your plans for the next 5, 10 years.
I am currently working as the marketing executive for POSCO M-TECH and I would like to help grow the company to be a specialized, global materials company. My current work is focused on sales of Ferro Alloy like deoxidizer, molybdenum, etc.
Going forward, I would like to take on responsibilities beyond operation of POSCO’s ferrosilicon factories and magnesium factories to contribute to management as well. I also want to be able to inspire juniors by setting an example as a successful female leader in the steel industry.
Finally, please give a few words to women who are entering the work force!
First of all, I want to say “take a long-term view of your life.” When you first enter a company, you may be disappointed when you realize that not everything can be done with only passion. Because each organization is made up of a diversity of people, there are many unexpected issues that can arise and problems between internal and external bodies. Also it is possible to have to do work that is not necessarily always that meaningful.
Nevertheless, I don’t think you need to be too disappointed. It is through these experiences and conflicts, you are able to build your career and your unique strengths.
Grow your dreams and boldly take on those challenges. If you were tired of simultaneously taking care of children and doing work, ask for help from your family, friends or neighbors. And enjoy the work and responsibilities with passion.
I advise to work while keeping in mind what others around me and customers need. Most of all, work stamina is very important. You should always make time to take care of your health. That way, you can have an enjoyable work life.
Hope that Yukyung Lee is a source of inspiration for you. Please look forward to reading our next post for the POSCO Women Leadership Series!