Suyin Hwang Copley

Suyin Hwang Copley
Organization and Talent Development Leader, GE Transportation

Education: Bachelors of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
What I’m Reading: Anything I can get on improving my personal performance and well-being and organizational/team performance and improvement
My Philosophy: First and foremost, know your top values and priorities so that you can be true to yourself and make the right trade-offs between personal and career choices.
Interests: Staying connected with family, self-improvement topics, and personal fitness
Company Headquarters: Fairfield, Connecticut
Primary Business: Technology, Finance, Services
Annual Revenues: $150 billion

How do you think Asian Americans have evolved in terms of industry/field diversity?
I grew up in the U.S. in a time when there were very few Asians in the towns and cities that I lived in. Now the statistics are impressive. In general, most Asians in the workplace seem to be in technical fields. Now I see more Asians in leadership positions across many functions (technical and non-technical), business sectors, and levels. I see a trend into other non-technical fields like acting and politics.

“I was raised with strong core values, which I attribute to the Asian culture – being humble, respecting others, working hard, being thankful. These values are part of my foundation and have helped me to develop strong relationships in every role that I’ve ever had and have helped me to grow and reflect in the stressful times.”

What do you think is the greatest issue or dilemma facing the Asian/Pacific-American community today?
I believe that leadership presence and effective communication still needs to be improved across this population in general in the work place. We have a few Asian leaders at the top of the companies… but only a few. The numbers indicate that most of our Asian Pacific Americans work in technical fields. And there is still a very strong impression in the workplace that if you work hard, you will be noticed and rewarded. Unfortunately, this is not how corporate America works. We have to provide help on how to help others grow and develop. Most individuals want continued growth… they have to realize that you must be able to network, talk with others, share their stories and be confident. Sharing your story is not bragging… you must be able to relate your experiences, lessons learned and what you want to do to others. Otherwise, no one will really know.

What advice would you give the next generation of Asian/Pacific-American business leaders? What are some tips for other Asian/Pacific Americans beginning their careers?
21st century leadership is about being yourself, being able to motivate and lead others, being creative and courageous, being focused on the customer and having an expertise. Be able to share your story in a succinct manner and be a continuous learner. Be open to feedback – ask for it. Leverage your strengths and understand how you can continue to grow and develop. Be passionate about what you do and develop a reputation for delivering more, better and faster. Help solve problems and provide strategic focus. Leverage your cultural background for your core values and always work at the highest standards of integrity.