Gender equality has been the pinpoint of conflicting discourses for a long period of time. Thankfully, we are now living in a much fairer society where men and women are treated equally in most areas. However, there are still, especially in Asia, arguments surrounding the leadership of masculine corporates, such as those in steel manufacturing industry. More so, the industry makes the scope for female leaders even narrower with longstanding stereotyping against femininity. From outsiders’ point of view, POSCO is also a masculine company regarding its global steel manufacturing operations, but are we really?
Meeting with Female Leader in POSCO IDPC
I had a great privilege to interview Ms. Yu-ran Seo, the Managing Director of POSCO’s India Delhi Steel Processing Center (POSCO IDPC), who has effectively positioned herself alongside with other POSCO leaders. My first interaction with Ms. Seo was back in 2010, when I was working at POSCO HQ in Seoul. She was a very elegant, charming, smart and outspoken Korean lady I had ever met. After coming to India, she has perfectly balanced her work and social life here, interacting and melting with Indian culture very well. Besides, she has been very successful in achieving her goals in the world of Steel. As a global storyteller, I would like to share my candid and impressive conversation with Ms. Seo with ‘Hello, POSCO.’
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?[dropcap style=”1″ size=”3″]I[/dropcap] joined POSCO in October 1990. I had worked in Foreign Procurement Department for the first 6 years and shifted to Export Department, where I spent most of my career. I came to settle down here in Gurgaon, India in August 2010 as a General Manager of Marketing & Sales of POSCO-IDPC. Two months ago, I was appointed to the post of Managing Director of the same company.
How is your life in India? Is it very different from Korea?[dropcap style=”1″ size=”3″]B[/dropcap]efore coming to India, I never lived and worked overseas. So far, I have observed that India is a very dynamic country with full of opportunities. Although some of my acquaintances worry about me living abroad, I am doing really fine here. Of course it is difficult to live in somewhere as a foreigner but I don’t mind those minor inconveniences that much. I try to have fun in India and thank all the bright sides regarding more business opportunities and meeting very nice people.
What is unique about the services/products IDPC provides?[dropcap style=”1″ size=”3″]P[/dropcap]OSCO IDPC provides a wide range of high quality steel materials in partnership with POSCO and POSCO Maharashtra. Utilizing high-end facilities like wide slitter, wide shearer, TWB and blanking machines, we supply processed steel material as well as raw steel coils. Our main customers are Marti-Suzuki, Tata Motors, Hero Motocorp., LG Electronics India and many other local OEM companies and vendors.
You have spent several years in POSCO. How has your journey been?
[dropcap style=”1″ size=”3″]B[/dropcap]efore joining POSCO, I never imagined that I would be working here for more than 22 years. It is really hard to put in words how wonderful the experiences were for me at POSCO. It has been a journey with many exciting moments. Also, I learned about how we should approach the concept of ‘People’ in workplaces. I personally think ‘People’ matter the most as we generate all the masterpieces as well as disasters. It may sound like clichéd but ‘Attitude’ is also very vital when working with your colleagues. These are the lessons I have learned from POSCO.
What lessons could you learn?
How does it feel to be a Managing Director of IDPC?[dropcap style=”1″ size=”3″]W[/dropcap]hen I first heard the announcement, it came to me as a huge pressure and responsibility. On the other hand, I also felt happy with the fact that I can stay longer here with reliable and beloved POSCO IDPC staff. I was also excited that we could continue working together for the development of our business in line with Indian economy’s progress.
Challenge, motivation and Mantras of POSCO India’s female leader
How do you motivate yourself and stay as a successful business woman?[dropcap style=”1″ size=”3″]I[/dropcap]n fact, I feel unfamiliar with the term ‘success’. I would rather say that I am happy to be working at where I am now, with continuous challenges, errors, frustrations and failures. Whenever I feel lost, I try to make myself resilient through reading good books or listening to inspirational music. I believe in appreciating oneself as incomplete. With such approach, you can drive yourself to learn from others and stay motivated to develop yourself.
As a female, did you experience any particular setbacks at workplace?[dropcap style=”1″ size=”3″]T[/dropcap]here were some tough times when I was frustrated and depressed during my career in marketing field. However, I don’t think those happened because of the fact that I am a woman. I would say it was quite challenging to find the balance between work and family so as most other female Korean workers generally tackle.
POSCO encourages women empowerment and there are many young female prospects working with us. Do you have any words of wisdom for them?[dropcap style=”1″ size=”3″]I[/dropcap]’d like to give these two Mantras, made by myself, to my fellows. That is, “Attitude is everything” and “Try to be trusty than clever.”
Yes, I totally agree with her. ‘Attitude is everything’ as it can shape our competence and career as POSCO’s future leaders. Our conversation was highly inspiring and impressive. I felt the working women in various social spectrums need to engage actively with their tasks to achieve what they want. I will be coming back to ‘Hello, POSCO’ with more news and inspiring stories from India.