Jessica Miao gives advice on future female leaders in China

On November 3, UMS founder and CEO, Jessica Miao was invited to speak at the Roundtable of APEC Women’s Business Leaders, an event organised by the New Zealand Consulate-General in Shanghai. This event provided an opportunity for female leaders to discuss the current economy and share personal stories of how they were able to find success. Hear what Jessica had to say below.


Photo (left to right): United Media Solution’s founder & ceo Jessica Miao, New Zeland Ambassador H.E Clare Fearnley, Sylait’s China GM Elizabeth Reid, and Starcom’s China Ceo Anna Chitty


Achieving success is equally hard for women as it is for men.

Over the past 10 years, as both a start-up and business owner, I have rarely enjoyed free personal time, but when I have, I read stories about other successful world female leaders, Chinese female leaders, of course male leaders. I do this to learn about their personality and way of overcoming difficulties, and interestingly, I find that most of these leaders have overcome similar personal trials. To achieve success through these various challenges, they are each willing to sacrifice things in their personal life to gain success. This was also my experience to get to where I am, and I believe that the road to achieving success in your career, is equally hard for women and men.

However, as females, we are naturally positioned to deal with family matters, and as a result, we usually sacrifice more personal time than men do to reach our goal. I wish for more senior male leaders, husbands, and colleagues to understand the sacrifice that many of us make in achieving career success and provide us with equal judgement and opportunities.

At a young age, I believe women should start to develop independent thinking skills, and value what it means to be financially independent. Like many people, my first role model was my mother. She was our family’s protector and managed everything from family relationships to school matters and was a true entrepreneur, running a Chinese restaurant group. In this role she was responsible for market expansions and day-day business operations. She used to tell me when I was very little that as a woman, we should be financially independent at every stage in our lives and must constantly develop independent thinking skills and reinforce them. It is thanks to her that I have gotten to where am I today.


Women should utilise our natural skills and strengths for career building.

It’s no question that naturally, and anthropologically speaking, females have special skills and capabilities, such as being great communicators and having high levels of empathy. We are often able to bring these strengths to our workplace, providing a unique, and crucial outlook on complex matters. Each of us have a unique set of natural skills, and we should also try to reinforce these and find jobs that allow us to use these skills to our advantage.


Some practical tips for young women in China.

1. Try to observe how businesses operates and how their colleagues speak and manage difficulties.

2. Build network and connections. Anyone from your career journey can help to build who you are and can find future opportunities. Make friends with your first bosses, they have seen your true potential.

3. Be open-minded to working in lower-tiered cities. In China, most lower tiered cities have a population of millions, and there are always opportunities.

4. Take a chance on start-up companies or modern companies that are managed by second-generation Chinese with a younger, well-educated senior leadership team.