Meet our WTP 6 Talent Jiaojiao Wang, Pricing Director at Rexel France. In this interview, Jiaojiao talks about how living in different countries has contributed to her personal and professional development, her move from telecommunications to the energy sector and some thoughts and reflections that she would like to share with other women.
Could you tell us more about yourself, and in particular your current position as a Pricing Director at REXEL?
I was born and grew up in Shanghai, China, and came to France to study after my Bachelor’s Degree as part of a student exchange programme. I began my career working as a Management Consultant and got a chance to travel to many different countries, such as Spain and the UK.
I joined Rexel France in 2018 to lead a transformational programme before being promoted to Pricing Director last year. My current position has been a big challenge for me. I am still leading the deployment of the transformational programme whilst at the same time managing a new operational team. This new team implements the price changes from our suppliers, then optimises our own pricing structure in order to find a balance between profitability and attractiveness.
The scope of my work and my responsibilities have changed quite a lot: I was previously managing 2 analysts and now I have a team of 13 people! The challenge is to listen to each individual, understand their needs and priorities and try and motivate everyone as a team.
The challenge is to listen to each individual, understand their needs and priorities and try and motivate everyone as a team.
You have a very international background, having studied in Shanghai, worked in London and now are back in Paris. What did you learn during your time abroad and is there anywhere else you would like to live in the future?
I have always been curious about things I don’t know, and I have always been keen to explore different horizons, which has brought me to different countries. I can still remember my first day in France when I understood only three words: Good morning, Goodbye and Thanks! This was a really steep learning curve. I studied very hard and forced myself to socialise with my classmates. Later, when I found myself working in different countries, I had to learn to adapt to a wide range of cultures and ways of working. For example, in London when I worked for BT, even though I was very good at my job, I realised that I needed to improve my communication skills. I took classes with an actor to improve my oral presentation skills and my mastery of the language. I’ve especially learned a lot from difficult experiences; I feel that I have more empathy and more maturity than I did before.
I’ve especially learned a lot from difficult experiences; I feel that I have more empathy and more maturity than I did before.
You have a diverse background in Telecommunications. What first attracted you to this sector and what inspired you to then make the move to Energy?
I have always been very interested in maths and technology, and this encouraged me to major in Telecommunications at University. Having always been interested in learning new things, I chose to work as a Management Consultant to learn about different aspects of business. I worked on a range of projects from market research, pricing, sourcing, manufacturing, distribution and telecommunications. When I moved back to Paris, I was ready for a new challenge, and I was especially looking for a new strategic sector, such as the environment. I was really happy when I joined Rexel France in the Energy sector. The position I took requires experience in leading transformational programmes and so my previous experiences fit perfectly.
You are taking part in WIL’s 6th edition of the Women Talent Pool Leadership Programme. What have you most enjoyed about this programme and what has been your fondest memory so far?
I was lucky to be chosen to join the programme. One of our leaders at Rexel, Nathalie Wright is a WIL Europe Member, and at the time when I received my promotion, our HR Department told me about WIL and the programme and encouraged me to apply. I wanted to improve my leadership skills and so I jumped at the opportunity.
I enjoyed every aspect of the programme. I learned a lot from the workshops and benefitted from personalised advice during the mentoring sessions, and of course, got to know so many wonderful women
What I appreciated the most were the mentoring sessions, which, due to logistical problems, ended up being for me one-on-one discussions, and which meant I could really ask a lot of questions and bring up real-life difficulties I was experiencing in order to ask for advice. This was very beneficial for me!
As you grow in your career, what would you most like to share with other women?
Thanks to the WIL Talent Pool Programme, I have been thinking a lot about female leadership. As women, we have to stay true to ourselves. We need to know what we really want, and what we are ready to fight for. We have so many different roles to play, both professionally and personally. We have many different choices to make. Once we make these choices, we should not let stereotypes stop us. I would also like to say: don’t fight alone, and never hesitate to search for support. We can only go far if we are supported by others.
As women, we have to stay true to ourselves. We need to know what we really want, and what we are ready to fight for.
How do you nourish your mind outside of the office? Do you have any podcasts/books/ blogs/social media pages/activity ideas to recommend to our readers?
I love to read and I love to travel. My latest discovery is the Shardlake Series of books. These are seven Detective Stories that take place during the reign of Henry VII. These stories allow me to dive into Mediaeval England and it is fascinating to read about how people at the time struggled to live through the political turmoil. I enjoy the stories whilst learning about English history!
Video edited by Dovilė Bogušytė