In Stella Su’s family growing up, girls were not encouraged to study. The prospect of college was never brought up in her family. But even as a child, she was always curious about the world and her place in it.
“I remember pestering my parents with questions like “Can I move to the city?” and “Can I live in another country?” and would always be reminded that I was a girl and it was dangerous.
Stella was nonetheless determined to go to college and went on to study biomedical engineering. Fast forward to today, with the addition of a master’s degree, she’s now a supply chain engineer and Chairperson of Intel Taiwan’s Women @ Intel Network (WIN), a chapter with over 200 female employees. Here, she talks to us about her experience as a member of the network and a little bit about what she’s learnt along her journey.
Learning and growing together
“I see WIN as an integral part of the organization because it acknowledges the different roles and challenges that working women have to take on, especially when it concerns motherhood,” Stella says. “When you’re pregnant, there’s often the worry of being left behind after returning from maternity leave. And down the road, there’s also the challenge of balancing work and responsibilities at home.”
From global panel discussions to smaller monthly activities, WIN has also been a source of perspective and courage for Stella, providing an outlet for open conversations. She particularly recalls when a colleague and fellow member shared the story of her battle with cancer and how she went on to win it. That was a defining moment for Stella in her involvement with the network.
“If you have someone show you that something is possible, you’ll likely feel you can achieve it too,” she says. “Being in WIN gives me the confidence to strive and to reach. It’s been so eye-opening, meeting peers not just in my country, but from as far as India, Malaysia and the U.S.”
Adapting to change and prioritizing what’s important
Stella’s appointment as Chairperson of Intel Taiwan’s WIN happened during the pandemic. With the resulting shift towards working from home, the almost complete lack of in-person interaction meant she needed to depart from the more normal panel discussions, conferences, and get-togethers.
Books have always been her close companions, so Stella decided to establish a reading circle. Members were invited to recommend a book that they enjoyed for the group discussion. The response was initially lukewarm but eventually took off, leading to many animated conversations.
“When you read a book, it takes you on a journey beyond your reality, often evoking new feelings, emotions, and realizations,” Stella says. “This creates an opportunity for us to discuss and also connect with others—it’s fun and engaging.”
She fondly recalls picking up The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when she was 8 years old. It remains Stella’s favorite book to this day. “It always reminds me to prioritize what’s most important in life. As we grow and change, so do our priorities. Where I am right now, family is the most important.”
Starting with what you know
Looking back on her journey thus far within and outside the world of work, Stella believes that when it comes to seeking out opportunities, making decisions, and being happy, one always needs to begin by asking fundamental questions. What interests you? What keeps you ticking? What’s your definition of a “feel good” moment? The next step is to put yourself in a position that allows you to be you.
Stella’s advice to getting to that next step? “We are often scared and paralyzed by what we don’t know. But inaction is worse because we won’t know at all. So start with what you know and build upon that.”
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