Name: Chen Yun
Organisation: Huawei Technologies
Position: Head of legal (UK and Ireland)
In Hot 100 for: Has been integral to the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei’s success as it pledges £1.3bn investment in the UK. Read her full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
I remember my first contract negotiation with a customer when I was a junior legal assistant. Even though I had gone through the contract clause by clause and practiced my arguments many times, I was still very nervous the night before the negotiation and wanted to come up with all the excuses not to go to the meeting. I wanted to call sick. I hoped there would be some “force majeure” event to prevent me from attending the meeting.
Obviously nothing happened on the day and I had to go to the negotiation on my own. Not long into the negotiation I felt I was out of my depth. There were times that the negotiation seemed completely stuck and I could not seem to find a clear direction or come up with any idea how to proceed. I think it ended well but at that time it seemed like the lengthiest meeting I had ever attended.
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
My previous manager Mr Yixing Yang. He was Huawei’s European Legal Director when I joined the company. He brought me into Huawei’s legal team and threw me in at the deep end immediately. I learned very quickly – all thanks to him. He gave me clear direction and guidance and always knew when to step in and help me. Even after he left Europe and went back to HQ I still seek his guidance from time to time. I
remember I had some difficult time in 2015 – nearly half of my team members left within a short period of time for different reasons. I was under a lot of pressure, feeling very frustrated and wanted to quit. Mr Yang told me that I was not a quitter. He encouraged me to face my challenges and rebuild the team. I am very proud to say that we now have one of the strongest country legal teams within Huawei.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
The decision to stay with Huawei when I was headhunted and offered a position somewhere else. There were times when I felt I had been with Huawei for too long and it was probably time to take a career move, in particular when many of my friends who joined Huawei at similar time had left the company.
However, I felt that I did enjoy my time at Huawei and most importantly I was never bored with my work. As Huawei’s business keep expanding into new area and the business models keep changing, I have to face new challenges all the time. I feel that I am still learning new knowledge and skills every day.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Find the right industry or right area you want to get into and focus on building the skills for your future growth. Don’t move job just for the sake of moving or for short term benefit. Make change when your current work cannot challenge you anymore. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Find the right boss who will allow you and help you to grow.
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?