POSCO Women Leadership Series #4: Interview with Mihwa Park of POSCO ICT

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Today, Hello POSCO brings to you the latest episode of the featured POSCO Women Leadership Series! Our goal is to provide up-close and personal interviews with various successful female leaders in POSCO and offer a meaningful narrative as well as a strong motivation for everyone aspiring to build a wonderful career!

The POSCO Women Leadership Series, which were designed to shed light on the concerns of female workers exploring new career possibilities amidst the rising female presence in the work place, has enjoyed unforeseen interest from female workers looking for an inspiration. To encourage further enthusiasm, we prepared yet another episode featuring POSCO ICT Deputy Director Mihwa Park. Shall we listen to her candid remarks about leadership and planning a successful career?

 

Deputy Director Park manages IT and information-based strategy planning at POSCO ICT

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Could you please tell us what made you knock POSCO’s door, and about the work you’ve done at POSCO ever since?

When I was at high school, we went on a field trip to POSCO’s iron mill. I was inspired by its grandeur and valiant aura, and that inspiration stayed with me ever since. When I was a college senior I was pleasantly surprised to find a POSCO pamphlet in the university office, and I started preparing my job application right away.

My first post when I joined the company in 1989 was in the information systems division. That same year, POSCO Data, which is now known as POSCO ICT, was founded and I became the youngest member of the founding team. My main responsibilities were managing POSCO IT system and developing IT solutions. I was then reappointed to the management and planning division in 2005, where I gathered experience in business strategy, investment management, and new business development.

Could you tell us about your efforts to improve competence in the field of IT and Information-based Strategy Planning?

I’m currently in charge of IT strategy planning/standardization and IT outsourcing which are part of POSCO’s information management project. I attend various external seminars on current trends because having a good idea about what hottest trends are is crucial in IT and information-based strategy planning. I also monitor periodical reports published by professional IT organizations, as well as expanding my insights through networking and communicating with various professionals in the field.

When was the most rewarding moment during your time at POSCO?

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I find those moments when I make things work through sound decision making and careful execution despite widespread concern to be the most rewarding. It’s also very gratifying when I feel my colleagues and I are one united team during times of hardship.

Let me give you a personal example. I used to be the leader of the strategic investment team in POSCO ICT management and planning division, and it was my responsibility to lead an investigation on M&A and new business investment. I remember plowing through countless sleepless nights with my teammates to lead the company to the right direction during the M&A process. The fierce intensity of the situation at the time was something I will not forget anytime soon.

 

POSCO ICT Deputy Director Mihwa Park shares tips on how to survive in the IT industry!

What are some of the traits or mindsets that a woman should have in the IT industry?

Let me tell you first and foremost that, in the IT industry, there barely exists any kind of sexual discrimination. In fact, I think there are plenty of opportunities for the female to take the advantage; there would be no real obstacles if she can bring feminine subtlety and gracefulness to the work place.

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One thing to keep in mind, though, is to develop insight. This can be done by keeping yourself well-versed in the field of humanities – especially history – and develop perception and decision-making skills. As for myself, I read Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Records of the Grand Historian – both are masterpieces written by the ancient Chinese – multiple times to develop my insight.

When were difficult moments as a female worker, and how did you find the strength to march on?

The hardest task as a female worker was to find the balance between family and work. Through trial and error, I finally came to realize that being a “Superwoman” who excels in both the home and the workplace is a very difficult challenge indeed.

After I realized that I am not, in fact, a Superwoman, I tried a different take: I communicated with my family on what I could do and what I couldn’t, and straightforwardly asked for help when I needed it. My husband and children believed in me and supported me, which was tremendously helpful. I am especially thankful to my husband who, sometimes as a supportive friend and sometimes as a watchful colleague, understood and believed in me wholeheartedly.

Could you share with us some of the know-how you accumulated through your long career in IT?

Two things: an objective perspective and sound inter-personal relationships.

It’s absolutely crucial to be able to keep an objective perspective on the current situation in order to make an accurate decision. It’s easy to judge others; it’s much difficult to fully recognize the shortcomings of one’s own situation. This is why I make a continuous effort to maintain an objective perspective of my own self.

Maintaining solid relationships with other people is equally important. We are living in an age where it is impossible to perform an important task solo. I think it’s very important to have an accurate evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of each person, and to solve a given problem together as a unified team.

 

POSCO ICT Deputy Director Park’s efforts to become a Generous and Understanding Leader

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Tell us about your personal efforts to become a truly respectable leader.

After I gave birth to my children, I was able to view my colleagues and other situations in a motherly way. I’m trying to foster synergy among colleagues by examining their traits and helping them exert their unique capabilities. Also, I try to keep a positive attitude and attempt to put the company before my division when making decisions.

What are your five- and ten-year plans?

I wish to be an admirable and respected leader even five or ten years later. It would also be nice to be remembered as a leader who contributed to building trust and satisfaction in IT management for POSCO and the POSCO Family!

Please show your support to all the female workers out there!

I advise you to focus on what you do best. For female workers, it will be difficult to divide household chores when you’re a junior at work, as was my case.

Fortunately, though, more and more women are achieving success in various fields, which makes dividing household chores more socially understandable. That said, I urge all female workers out there to stand up straight and take ownership of their jobs. Go get’em, tigress!

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We hope POSCO ICT Deputy Director Mihwa Park’s story on leadership left you truly inspired. Don’t let fears of prejudice or social discrimination discourage you; in the end, it’s all about keeping your chin up, respecting others and making the right decisions. Hello POSCO will always support people who dream and aspire, whether it be male or female.

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