The heights THP has reached are attributed to the hard work, persistence, and devotion of not only my father, but my mother as well. It is no secret that my father’s intensity and “toughness” have seen the company through many stages of growth and prosperity. However, with every strategic decision to expand, develop new products or enter new markets, my mother has been at the table ensuring the health, motivation, and success of the internal core of the company: its employees.
My parents are the yin and yang that compliment and complete one another – not only in our family’s personal lives but in the professional environment that created and grew THP. Without a doubt, THP would not be what it is today if it were not for my mother’s intelligence, energy, and unmatched people skills that have created the relationships and networks which enable the company to thrive. The following are five lessons I’ve learned from my mother:
- Building relationships and loyalty with genuine care – Anyone who knows my mother and has interacted with her in or out of THP will likely draw the same conclusion: she genuinely cares about the relationships she has in and out of the company. Her ability to foster these relationships has been the fabric of our company culture. As a company, we try to ensure everyone feels they belong; my mother has always been an expert at this. In fact, many of the areas related to employees and the community have traditionally been managed by my mother. For example, in the past when someone was sick, they did not have insurance or pension cover. This was something my mother attended to herself, calling the doctor if they were ill and giving them a lump sum when they retired. For Children’s Day every June 1st, she sends each employee’s child a gift and personalized letter. She buys Mooncakes for everyone to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. One time, she personally cooked three thousand pots of stewed pork. She shows her care through both word and deed and individuals truly feel the sincerity. As a result, the loyalty of our employees, partners, and the community increase as they feel a sincere connection with our company and those who lead it.
- Take care of yourself to show respect for others – Before we can show love and respect for others, we must show that love and respect for ourselves. Even though my mother has always found joy and fulfillment in serving those around her, she has placed just as much priority on her individual worth. In a world where women felt pressured to accept a marriage proposal in order to feel taken care of, my mother resisted this notion and continued her education for her own betterment and future. She has carried this quiet confidence and sense of purpose throughout her entire life, teaching her children and employees to adopt these same principles. When you care for yourself and learn to understand your own value, you can better do that for those around you.
- Be confident in your contribution enough to put others first – Along with the previous principle, when you take care of yourself, you have greater confidence which allows you to encourage others’ success. For as long as I can remember, I’ve watched my mother be happy to let others shine, especially my father. She has always respected my father’s leadership role and his way of life. She knows he is a man who likes to “bet his shirt” and has supported him all the way, using her soft power to smooth his harder edges. My mother has understood her strengths and how they contribute to the success of the company. Her soft power and incredible people skills compliment my father’s ability to dream, lead, and change. She has been an example of the principle that everyone has something to contribute – and those contributions don’t diminish your own efforts.
- Prudence in raising a family and family business – How my parents approached building the business was very similar to how they built our family dynamic: with discipline and prudence. I will always remember as a child they instilled rules and expectations for our conduct. Those same values became the foundation for THP. Both of our parents have always been very focused on value. They never had any interest in buying fancy cars or clothes. They showed us that the path to success is to invest every resource into the family business, mentally and financially.
- “You will not be given more burden than you can handle” – To learn about my parents’ upbringing is to understand their experience with adversity first-hand. For some, these experiences may yield a lifetime of negativity and resentment. However, in the case of my mother, she has always met adversity with a light heart and gratitude. In 2014, my mother encountered the biggest adversity in her health when she suffered a stroke and during the treatment, discovered that she also had malignant tumors in her breasts. The decline in her health created a great source of emotional strain for many of us. However, during these hardships, it was her who continued to encourage and give strength to the rest of us. Her strong Catholic faith has undoubtedly influenced her perspective that “whatever cross God has given me, I can bear.” She has achieved an astounding recovery since then. It is her resolve that has helped the rest of us discover our own strength.
My mother is an amazing example of strength, dignity, grace, and resilience. Working alongside her in the company she helped build has provided unparalleled lessons in how to be a powerful and giving presence in the corporate world. She has displayed great love and sacrifice, even if that is not always obvious on the outside. My mother has been and always will be my greatest source of female empowerment at work and in life.