This is me: HeeJoo Pyo, SMD Line Leader, celebrating my 14th year at Continental in Icheon plant this year. 

 

Joining Continental 14 Years Back

I joined Continental 14 years ago in 2005 as an operator in ABS (anti-lock braking system) and SMD (surface-mount devices) lines, and now I have been working as a SMD line leader for the last four years. Before joining, I had a good impression about the high-tech manufacturers such as Continental knowing the company played a major role in the growth and development of my hometown, Icheon. In addition, it was brought to my attention by my friend, who was working for Continental, that the company was keenly interested in hiring and training local people. It was not difficult for me to assume that Continental was a company very intent on building a system through which its employees and their well-being are well cared for (and my assumption was correct indeed). This ‘people-oriented’ employer was a perfect fit for me in terms of my personal interests and values.

What Enabled the Growth and Motivation During my Career

Having my husband and younger sister as my colleagues at Continental, it is more than just a place of work for me. Since we all share the same corporate values of Continental, they often provide me greatly insightful advice from their own experiences. My husband is a plant Industrial Engineer who often provides me with helpful guidance on seeking solutions from a managerial point of view. My sister, on the other hand, works as an operator just like the junior staff in my line. She enables me to better understand the problems that they may share in the workplace.

Episodes of Working With my Family in one Plant

My husband and I met as colleagues working at the same plant. I was an operator at SMD and my husband was a technician. We had remained as just colleagues before developing personal feelings towards each other and finally starting to date. And yes, it was me who actually proposed to him. It only took us three months from our first date to finally get married!

As we share the same workplace, what I find to be most delightful is that my colleagues are also his colleagues, which makes Continental all the more special to me. We often go on trips together at the end of our shifts. These short getaways, every now and then, make us feel like one big family!

With regards to my own sister, I practically convinced her to join Continental. Not so uncommon among young professional women in my country, she was going through a challenging period in her career where she felt lost in her career path and disconnected. I persuaded her to join Continental because I was certain it will help her gain new motivation and career goals. After joining Continental, she started to explore her own potential that she never thought she had. And now? She is one of the most talented employees and a working mom working very effectively as an operator in ABS line.

The Best About Working at Continental

As I look back on my 14 years at Continental, I have witnessed the company constantly transforming into a better workplace, and I am certain it was possible thanks to the company’s policy and culture of listening to and caring for its employees. There exist direct communication channels between shop floor employees and top management which have helped to identify and address the concerns of employees. My favorite one is the ‘Suggestion Box’. I believe these transparent and direct communication channels are what have helped to successfully implement our great programs such as ‘Sabbatical’ and flexible shift.

My Career Aspiration

As cliché as it sounds, I am a strong believer of the mantra “it’s all about people”. My goal is to become a good people leader and a role model for my colleagues. I firmly believe I will become a better person as well as a better employee as I open myself up to learn from my family, books and most importantly from my colleagues. The best moment in my career? It was the moment when my junior staff shared with me that I played a big role in her life as a positive influencer to her career development.

No matter where you are, everyone has strengths that will inspire others. I am more than willing and happy to share my experiences and skills to anyone who needs it as I too have enjoyed the benefit of it all. Most importantly, I want to tell everyone “Continental is a great place to call home!”

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