‘Wonder’ women set sights high with launch of leadership boot camp

A career development guru and the head of an online travel giant launched a new institute in Beijing designed to help Chinese female professionals develop workplace leadership skills.

The Wonder School was jointly set up by Virginia Tan, co-founder of Lean In China, a platform that supports the goals and aspirations of women, and Sun Jie, CEO of Ctrip.

At last month’s launch, Sun shared the experiences of her career path at Ctrip, moving from chief financial officer to chief operating officer and then on to become its chief executive officer.

“My advice is don’t let your job title limit you. You need to be brave enough to aim for higher positions,” says Sun.

Sun says that female leaders should not be afraid to assert themselves, play to their strengths and highlight their achievements, whether that takes the form of improving sales returns, adding brand value or building corporate reputations through trust.

“Evidence shows that women are more risk-averse when it comes to personal finances and as managers of mutual equity funds, according to studies by the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2001 and the University of Cologne in 2005,” says Sun.

Most of these women, she says “are very hardworking, have good communication and multitasking skills, and always put the interests of their team above their personal interests”.

Developments and innovation in technology have created more opportunities for women and will help them achieve better balance between work and family, Sun says.

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“Technology can take care of the tedious and repetitive work, allowing people to focus on creating new value,” says Sun.

She believes women in technology are fueling China’s internet boom. In China, 17 percent of investment partners in venture capital companies are women and 80 percent of them have at least one female partner. In the United States, these numbers are 10 and 50 percent respectively.

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