YPC’s First Beers with Behemoths

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The AmCham China Young Professionals Committee (YPC) recently held the first in a new series of events geared towards enhancing and engaging our burgeoning YPC community. This new series of events is designed to give our young professionals an opportunity to connect with top executives doing big things in key industries, in a relaxed setting that blurs the lines between professional and fun.

The event, “Beers with Behemoths”, was an intimate and exclusive affair held at Gong Ti’s own Little Creatures, where 25 of our young professionals got the fortunate chance to enjoy a beer with and receive insightful career advice from HP Inc. Head of Digital, Jason Rodriguez. In the atmospheric location, the 25 attendees clamored around a long, family-style table, intently soaking in Jason’s punchy barrage of professional and career development advice. Not to disappoint, Jason came well prepared with a variety of key tips for the young professionals, ranging from the simple, “How to deal with a bad boss” to comprehensive methods for planning one’s career from day one and all the way to retirement.

In 2018, Jason left sunny California to assume his new position as Vice President and General Manager of HP Inc. China’s Digital Business unit. Before arriving in Beijing, Jason served as Vice President and Head of Global Education and Market Development for 3D Print, where he was responsible for Education as a vertical market, as well as partnering with key higher-education institutions to advance additive manufacturing. As well, Jason served as Vice President and Chief of Staff for HP CEO, Dion Weisler, where he was responsible for driving the strategic agenda for the executive staff as well as staff operations. 

“You simply have more opportunities and an easier path to success when people see you as a solutions-oriented go-getter that they can rely on to make a situation better.”

In amazing fashion and in just 30 minutes, Jason delivered a torrent of advice in what surely could have been billed as a seminar on career development. One of the most gripping, and most easily actionable pieces of advice Jason gave pertained to being, what he called, an “Energy-giver”, an attribute he credits much of his success to. As Jason put, “An energy-giver is someone who breathes life into a room, someone that others are happy to, and actively want to work with. It’s the person who volunteers before being asked.” He further remarked that, “You simply have more opportunities and an easier path to success when people see you as a solutions-oriented go-getter that they can rely on to make a situation better.”

“Sponsorship is as important, if not more so, than mentorship. A mentor gives guidance and advice, a sponsor will clear a path for you, recommending you for projects that will get you noticed, and jobs that will move you forward. This is critical.”

More than just being your best, Jason heavily emphasized surrounding yourself with the best by seeking out and leveraging the resources around you. In terms of managers, Jason stressed hitching yourself to great managers, and learning as much as possible from them. Further pointing out that an important part of career success is to always question whether “your manager truly cares about pushing your career forward.” Moreover, Jason stressed the importance of finding great sponsors, stating that, “Sponsorship is as important, if not more so, than mentorship. A mentor gives guidance and advice, a sponsor will clear a path for you, recommending you for projects that will get you noticed, and jobs that will move you forward. This is critical.”

Regarding career moves and trajectory, Jason advised that all young professionals should have a concrete career roadmap. “Don’t only think about where you want to be in five years, think about the position you want to be leaving when you retire,” said Jason. “This will give you more insight into where you should be, what you should be doing, and inform you whether a job change that some might call a lateral move, or even a move down, is actually the right move to get you to your real, long-term goal.” Jason further highlighted this stating that, “The path is not always a straight line – do jobs that make you grow, not just give you a bigger title or higher leveling.”

Chairman of the Young Professionals Committee, Abe Sorock, moderated the evening and was overjoyed to report that, “Jason was the perfect guest to inaugurate Beers with Behemoths. Jason taking the time to share his hard-earned wisdom with us represents the best of the AmCham community spirit. If we can carry that spirit into future events, it's going to be a great year for the YPC and the Chamber.”

The Young Professionals Committee would like to extend a special thank you to Jason Rodriguez for kicking off our first Beers with Behemoths with such a resounding bang, providing effective insights, openness, and a passion for enhancing the careers of our young professionals community.

The next Beers with Behemoths is slated for early 2019, so keep yourself updated by joining the AmCham China Young Professionals Committee WeChat group. For more information about the next BwB, the Young Professionals Committee, or to be added to the WeChat group, email jpapolos@amchamchina.org.