In last month’s It Starts With Me spotlight we focused on Seda and the virtual yoga sessions she runs for employees throughout the company.
This month, we are highlighting Linh Chi Nguyen, who is the office manager of OI Vietnam, and Senior Supply Chain & Project Manager for one of our key customers.
Linh Chi inspires others at work through her persistence, positive attitude and her leading by example. She represents the spirit of It Starts With Me because of her optimism and her personal commitment to sustainability.
For over 20 years, give or take a few short breaks, Linh Chi has been working in Otto Group companies. Over the last seven of those years, she has been at OI and in 2018, after she returned from her first maternity leave, she became a Global Sourcing Manager. In this position Linh Chi was not only responsible for colleagues in her native Vietnam, but also in China, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, and Turkey. For her, this new position was a unique challenge; she had to look after the day-to-day business of many different markets remotely and she also had to manage the different cultures and ways of working throughout these locations.
Linh Chi’s strategy for overcoming these obstacles was to positively persevere. “I strongly believed in the success of a global set up,” she says, “from the beginning of the process, it was in my opinion the right way of doing things, so I was very positive about the result. Whatever stones there were going to be along the path, it would just be so. I accepted that not everything would work out the first time… but you cannot say it will never work. Making it work is just about figuring out the how.”
The solution to these obstacles was consistent communication and empathising with her colleagues. “Raising my children has taught me that you have to be patient. If someone does not understand you right away, then you have to spend more time explaining it to them. If they do not understand the first time then maybe they will the second time, if not the second time, then maybe the third. You can also try out different strategies each time after listening to the other person and understanding their needs before trying again.”
Patience was necessary as building a team spirit took some time, but ultimately Linh Chi believes it was a success. Part of this was rooted in her communicating openly and ensuring that the various teams were communicating with each other. “The whole process took about two years,” explains Linh Chi, “but the changes were felt after about nine months when we had done a full buying season together.”
During this time Linh Chi was travelling to the various markets, introducing herself and presenting what the teams in the other locations were working on. “I would share the good and bad experiences. We are all working for our customer so we can learn from what each team is facing. It also helps expand everyone’s awareness of the other markets.”
Linh Chi eventually also set up regular team meetings so that everyone from the different locations could see each other more. “This strong communication facilitated overcoming our challenges and brought us closer together… Sharing is very powerful.”
Another important aspect of Linh Chi’s working life is her commitment to sustainability. She is part of OI’s Vietnam Corporate Responsibility Committee and has worked hard to persuade the customer she works with to not use single-use plastic when sending samples. Also, as one of the many year-end activities she arranged, she organised an office-wide beach clean-up, where colleagues walked across the beach collecting and properly disposing the garbage they could find.
But Linh Chi also sees her impact on the environment as starting with herself, which motivates her to be an example for others through minimising her and her family’s waste as much as possible. This includes more common approaches like bringing reusable bags to the supermarket, using reusable coffee cups and minimising plastic use in general, as well as exchanging and reusing children’s products with other mothers.
She carefully uses natural dish detergents, and even makes her own natural cosmetics and body scrubs out of everyday waste like coffee grounds and eggshells. She also set up a used battery collection point in the Vietnam office and is now the proud owner of an electric bike. “When you start thinking about sustainability in this direction, it’s easier for you to try new processes and methods of reducing waste,” says Linh Chi.
For Linh Chi, everyone is aware of the importance of being sustainable, but few people live this out regularly. A major event in her life inspired her to begin. “I only really actively started doing something about it when I was pregnant with my first child,” she remembers, “my mindset changed very strongly when I started to think about my kids’ future in this world. I then made real changes in my life.”
She is also happy to share about her own initiatives as she believes it brings environmental protection to the forefront of people’s attentions and inspire them to take up new habits as well. “If I use a single-use cup, I talk about it, because if you don’t, then people may overlook it. The things I do are things you, me and everyone can do; they are little things, but they add up. When I bought my bike, I was sharing the news with nearly everyone because if one more person follows me then we have one less polluter on the road.”
One of our OI Values is committing to sustainability, and Linh Chi believes the best way to encourage others to embrace our Values is by acting on them yourself. “You have to lead by using and living our OI Values, show in person what they mean, how they are related to the real word, what they mean in real actions, so that others can understand and act on them too.”
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