Looking back to last year, the tense situation of the pandemic has gradually eased in 2021, and businesses from various sectors started picking the pace of recovery and getting themselves ready for the post-pandemic era. In this episode of the “CFO Interview,” Joyce Lee (JL), the Chief Financial Officer who celebrates her first work anniversary at TOPCAST, sat down with Jeff Chan (JC), Manager of Branding, Digital, and Corporate Communications in sharing her thoughts after joining TOPCAST as well as her aspirations towards TOPCAST and the entire aviation industry.
Flash Back & Review
JC: After being on board for a year, how would you describe your time with TOPCAST?
JL: I have never worked in the aviation industry before. Therefore, I was very excited when I decided to join TOPCAST, since it is the largest independent aircraft parts distributor in the Asia-Pacific region, with an excellent reputation and creditability. TOPCAST focuses on providing after-sales parts services for commercial airlines, and we have sourced and purchased approximately 50,000 SKUs for more than 1,500 customers from more than 800 active suppliers in 5-year time. I am proud of the connections and relationships well established with both our suppliers and sales network. Although the aviation industry is striving to recover, with the support of our shareholders – Permira, and founders, TOPCAST continues to grow, expand to different regions and explore potential opportunities on a global scale. While working with our stakeholders, we adopt an innovative approach to cooperating with our customers and principals. TOPCAST offers me the chance to bring my experience in corporate governance, internal and financial control, and business management to the company. Although the work is extremely challenging, I stay positive and enjoy working with my team.
JC: What will be your most outstanding achievement and the toughest challenge here at TOPCAST?
JL: Successfully restructuring and establishing a Finance, Legal Compliance & Corporate Governance Team with professionalism and efficiency is my most outstanding achievement in the last year. Meanwhile, I have brought in modern corporate management culture to TOPCAST, enhancing communications and cooperation between colleagues and even between departments, thereby projecting a promising and trustworthy prospect to our stakeholders and partners.
The aviation industry is a business sector that is sensitively varied by external factors, and the pandemic undeniably hit the aviation industry harshly. Leading TOPCAST in the road of recovery is not only a personal challenge to me but also to the company itself. We have to make adequate preparations with detailed planning to be ready for the recovery of the aviation industry. The experienced management team here at TOPCAST has already started the moves at many aspects, including corporate transformation, sustainable value creation, talents acquisition, etc., aiming to put the business on track and maintain the company’s competitive advantage in the post-pandemic era. In 2021, we are pleased to see that the degree of TOPCAST’s quarterly recovery is leading the overall market.
JC: Knowing that you are equipped with extensive experience in managing the financing and accounting sector in many different industries, from media, retail to biomedical, how different it is when you are now the Chief Financial Officer in the aviation industry?
JL: Business management and corporate governance are similar in every industry. After spending time in various sectors, I can precisely say a complete understanding of the operations and business culture of the sector being engaged with is the significant attribute of a professional and competent financial decision-maker.
JC: How would you describe your management philosophy throughout your career as a finance executive? Any new mindset being created after entering TOPCAST?
I am a firm believer in the four Ps, which are Passionate, Professional, People-oriented, and Perfection. As a business leader, in addition to possessing relevant skills or knowledge, it is also vital to be people-oriented. Trust your colleagues, listen to their opinions, take their feelings into account, and understand their desires are essential while managing a team. Moreover, making rational judgments after multi-angle thinking and striving for perfection with also turn you to become a good supervisor. Colleagues at TOPCAST work well together with a high-level sense of belongings. They make me feel like here is my second home.
JC: Do you have a piece of advice for young talents in the aviation business?
JL: For now, the aviation industry is in a challenging business cycle. The future seems uncertain, but we must have to look further ahead. Some industry practitioners chose to leave for other opportunities. But if you decide to enter our industry at a difficult time, you can train yourself to overcome hurdles, be brave to adapt to changes, and accumulate experience. You can learn far more in adversity than in good times. The expertise and attributes being gained will contribute to your future career path.
2022 & Beyond
JC: 2021 is a year that almost everyone is recovering from the pandemic; what is your personal goal for the upcoming 2022?
The team under my supervision is operating smoothly on the track. I hope they can keep increasing their value in the upcoming year to free up time to support other executive leaders. Ultimately, I look forward to assisting TOPCAST in reaching a new milestone.
JC: Is there any strategic plan for TOPCAST in 2022 that can be revealed?
JL: TOPCAST is undergoing corporate transformation, and a new brand image will be showcased shortly. For internal employees, the management team in the coming year will further enhance interpersonal communications, actively recruit talents, strengthen the spirit of unity between departments, and lead colleagues to achieve mutually beneficial objectives. As for our business partners, TOPCAST will uphold an innovative mindset to break through boundaries and strengthen the positive relationship with existing partners. At the same time, we will continue to expand the global supply chain network to create sustainable market value.
Rapid Fire Questions
JC: A job with satisfaction but requires a lot of overtime working, or a job without satisfaction but leaves office on time?
JL: The first one. I believe once you build up a sense of satisfaction from work, working overtime doesn’t mean a lot to you.
JC: Assume the border reopens, you prefer a long vacation to Europe or a short trip to somewhere in APAC?
JL: I will visit my colleague based in Mainland China and USA.
JC: Coffee or Hong Kong-style Milk Tea?
JL: Why not both? Coffee in the morning and milk tea in the afternoon
JC: Christmas or Chinese New Year?
JL: Christmas, I love gathering with friends under that joyful festive ambiance
JC: Summer or Winter?
JL: Winter, the clothing and fabrics look more beautiful
JC: What are the most excited to do with TOPCAST?
JL: Get to know this group of colleagues. All of them are hard-working and willing to change.
JC: What three words would you use to describe yourself?
JL: Optimistic. Empathetic. Principled.