08 Mar An Interview with Diana Sun – Head of Acumass Beijing
To celebrate this International Women’s Day we sat down with our Head of Operations in Acumass Beijing; Diana Sun, to discuss her experiences in leading our fastest growing office.
When Diana Sun came on board to grow Acumass in China she had all of the skills and attributes we were looking for despite never having operated within the intellectual property arena before. Diana immersed herself in industry research including case studies and peer reviews armed with a knowledge that she had to truly understand her client’s needs and the obstacles facing them on a very intimate level. It was clear Diana Sun had hit upon a winning combination with her academic approach to understanding intellectual property rights and her flair for business growth/development.
In tandem with her mentor; Peder Carlborn, Diana worked tirelessly to establish the Acumass office Beijing in 2010, for the first three years the pair would go on to lay a sound foundation for IP Renewal Payment Management before Peder Carlborn confidently handed the sole day-to-day management of the Chinese office to Diana Sun.
Today, Acumass Beijing is our fastest growing and best performing location thanks to Diana’s ability to tap into the sector, make real connections and roll up her sleeves. Diana’s greatest strength is her genuine care for providing support; her nurturing personality runs thick with tenacity and focus, which makes her a compelling leader. Clients love Diana Sun because they know where they stand with her and she protects their trust at all costs; her fellow colleagues love her because she’s innovative, productive and effective, constantly raising the bar for the rest of us. We are grateful to be able to learn from and with Diana Sun.
What first appealed to you about working with Acumass in the field of Intellectual Property?
Unlike territories where a culture of intellectual property observation has perhaps existed long enough for it to be a well-beaten path – The IP field is a sunrise industry in China. Innovation in China is developing at an exponential rate and the Chinese government is stepping up to foster and uphold Intellectual Property Rights in order to lead by example. On a personal level, I am naturally interested in subjects such as science, engineering and law, and felt myself gravitating towards Acumass because of the social environment it offered alongside the client focused service experiences I knew I would be able to create with a company such as this.
Can you tell us a bit about how you grew Acumass within Beijing?
My attitude at the time of accepting my role with Acumass Beijing was “I’m going to help make Acumass the best Annuity Management service provider in China”, I think it’s fair to say this is still my attitude. I am driven, and I have a competitive edge. With Acumass Beijing, I get the satisfaction of access to and feedback from our clients directly, I have a hand in the service they are receiving and at all times I can feel confident that the standards I set for the excellence we promise our clients; is being met. The growth of Acumass Beijing definitely benefitted greatly from the changing values and improved health of Intellectual Property protection and enforcement in China. Our client turnover is extremely low while our existing client base is at an all time high, precisely because we truly put the client first. My team and I work harmoniously because of a shared understanding that the client is the epicenter of all that we do. Tradeshows, conferences and targeted marketing strategies are one thing; but the organic ripples of positive experiences coming from the honest work we do is the key. I’ve watched our reputation grow based off the word of mouth from our clients – I’m immensely proud of the fact that I still have my very first client opting to continue using Acumass Beijing to this day.
What do you believe is the most important aspect of creating a productive work environment?
Hiring people who genuinely want to lend their skills to the company vision and betterment, this is so much more important than hiring based off sector experience. Managing personalities so that the work environment can be a place of equal opportunity, equal growth, some people have a stronger voice than others for example – good management will facilitate that whilst also creating a platform for more discreet personalities to contribute their ideas equally. Good management can foster healthy environments for employees to achieve their full potential; this is an investment many managers overlook to their own detriment. I make it part of my job to listen to my team members and communicate with them on their level and in their way, with the same respect I bring to our client’s table meetings. I work with my individual team members on their personal goals within the company; these aren’t difficult behaviours to implement and they go a small way to showing your team they are important and considered. The true benefit of being on the same page as your team members is it leaves no distractions from the combined productivity as a company, as a whole.
Moreover, I myself am disciplined about my work productivity and efficiency so as to affect everyone working around me. I am conscious of leading by example.
What do you enjoy most about working with Acumass?
I was given a great mentor in Peder Carlborn, in those initial stages of my career with Acumass when we were establishing our presence within China, his wealth of experience and the energy he brought to our collaboration was invaluable – I’m also bolstered by an incredible team here in the Beijing office which I have been able to assemble through managing the hiring process myself. I’ve been given a lot of developmental opportunities in this company – freedom and trust to explore theories or develop new systems being the key factor to my career satisfaction. The biggest advantage of working with a company like Acumass is there isn’t a strict traditional hierarchal structure to the way the company operates – instead there’s over 35 years of proof that every single skill-set contributing to the overall success of Acumass is as important as the next.
This kind of company culture inspires innovation and progressive ideas.
As a woman in a leadership position in a historically male dominated industry, what advice would you give young women just beginning their careers in a similar field?
At all times, I am driven by a practical reality which is ‘no difficulty will confront me which cannot be resolved’. I believe in myself, and strongly urge others to do the same. My success isn’t dependent on external validation. I approach all things with the mindset of contributing positively, that’s where my confidence stems from. The myth that women are less valuable in a corporate context because they might choose to add motherhood to their multifaceted experience in life is best dismissed rather than becoming impeded by. I believe I balance parenthood and my professional career every bit as well as my male peers do – I sleep well at night knowing I give every area of my life as much as I can give and nothing more than that can be expected of anyone. Women can have it all, a roaring career and a home life filled with happiness, no man was ever asked to choose between the two! At Acumass my decision to become a mother was supported every bit as much as any work related project or vision I had ever put to my colleagues, and that kind of freedom should be the industry-wide norm. Indulge your natural strengths and curiosities, focus on your own fulfilment, drown out any attempts at knocking you off-course when reaching for your goals, and most importantly, surround yourself with people who want to see you thrive.