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Honh Hong Xu speaking at HIP about intercultural relationship with chinese

Building a trustful and long-lasting personal and business relationship with Chinese

Today, globalization is unstoppable, making it the norm that people from diverse cultural backgrounds work and live together on a daily base. At the same time, we all know that trust is the foundation of long lasting and successful partnerships. But how can we build that trust when we don’t understand the covert cultural signals being sent?

China, the Middle Kingdom, opened its doors to the world more than 30 years ago and has developed into one of the largest economic centers of the world. However, for many westerners, this country, its people and culture remain mysteriously hidden like something of a closed book. In January our member Hong Hong Xu gave us a presentation on Chinese Culture.

We began the day by celebrating the year of the Red Rooster.

Then Hong-Hong Xu provided an eye-opening look into the world of Chinese Culture helping us to see just how hard it can be to bridge the culture gap even with the best of intentions.  She showed us, with clear examples and her own story, the awareness and determination it takes to choose to adapt in a world with different values.
At the same time Hong-Hong underlined a universal truth – that we can often learn the most by overcoming difficult challenges and rising to new understanding of our self and our potential.

Many thanks to Hong-Hong for the great presentation and the lovely gift for all the participants!

Speaker

Ms. Hong Hong Xu was born in Beijing, has been working and living in both China and Germany since 1988. She holds a Master of Engineering in Materials Science from Technical University Darmstadt (1995) and MBA from University Mannheim (2000). She is senior manager at BASF SE.

2016 HIP imrov theatre workshop

Using improvisation theater in your presentations

Some years ago, Frédérique was captivated by theatrical improvisation technique, which she finds an inspiring and compelling tool for personal development, leadership, change management, team building, creativity, and communication skills development. Improvisation Theater is the art of acting without script or props – making everything up on the spot, in real time, following a set of rules and practices such as focusing on the here and now and making the most out of what is available at the moment to achieve the intended goal.

Key-competencies of an improvisational actor are also important to anyone working in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world (sometimes abbreviated as VUCA), such as the ability to let go of the initial plan, listening to others’ ideas, building on them, and exploring unconventional solutions.

At the beginning of the workshop Frédérique shared with us some insights she had while learning improvisation theater. And because talking about it is no substitute for the experience, you had the opportunity to take part in some improvisation exercises. We tested ourselves how body language shapes our mind, feeling unsecure with a hunched posture and confident when we made eye contact with others.

Speaker

Frédérique Thiriet-Smith, a HIP member from the beginning, is a French national who has lived in Heidelberg, Germany since 1999. She has worked in international companies for over 30 years, successfully leading multicultural and virtual teams facilitating change, skills development and knowledge exchange on a worldwide scale.

 

Picture: Drive-In Theatre by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.com, Creative Commons Zero licence

2015 HIP Carousel

Networking, Energy & Connection at the First HIP Carousel

What looked like a trade fair, it was an event with a unique intention and a friendly atmosphere. And that made all the difference in the quality of the HIP Carousel: International Women at Work event last Saturday, October 17, 2015.

The intention was: service to others.  How can we share all we have learned to spur other women on to reaching their dreams. Over 150 people, including participants and volunteers, showed up and took part in the first ever event like this by HIP. HIP Founder Shuchi Sharma and HIP Founding Member Fabiana Bianchi joined for the day, leading the round table discussions and provided inspiring beginning and ending speeches for the day.

Held in the DAI’s Grand Hall the event was organized around different themes and areas.

The Business Owner section was the largest – 19 tables of independent women sharing their experiences of building a business.

2015 HIP Carousel business owners entrepreneuers

 

The Corporate, Academic and the Sciences table brought the combined experience of dozens of women to our visitors.  Our members shared the obstacles they faced and the resources they discovered as they develop their careers. We’re hoping our visitors will be able to apply those lessons immediately.

2015 HIP Carousel corporate, academia & science women table

 

 

The two Round Table discussions covered Work/Life Balance and presented and compared the advantages of being self-employed with those who are employed.

2015 HIP Carousel podium discussions

What were some of the highlights from those discussions?

  • One thing everyone agreed on was that the learning acquired while working in a company can pay off handsomely when you decide to go self-employed.
  • That the structure an employer provides, as well as a regular income, are a huge plus in terms of security and peace of mind.
  • That starting your own business is not for the faint at heart, but provides enormous flexibility to schedule your working hours to suit your needs.
  • That being your own boss comes with a liberating feeling of doing what you love, the way you want to do it.

A series of mini-presentations, individuals telling their stories throughout the day, was a real crowd-pleaser. Held in the “Living Room’ these were more personal accounts of lessons learned.  The more intimate format fostered connection and group discussion.

2015 HIP Carousel podium discussions and short presentations

There was also an Information Area where the IHK StarterCenter Rhein-Neckar, the DAI Heidelberg and the Amt für Chancengleichheit from Stadt Heidelberg were present to share their expertise.

2015 HIP Carousel IHK

 

Gloria Miller, a HIP member and founder of her own Management and IT consulting company, challenged everyone in the morning to up their professional networking, giving us some clear objectives to aim for throughout the event.  As she wrapped up, she demonstrated her own application of those guidelines and shared her takeaways from the day.

2015 HIP Carousel Claudia Miller

 

From the first cords of Chopin, played by our very own HIP member Barbara Janssens, to the warm applause as we closed the event at 16:30, the Grand Hall was filled with buzz, exchange, connection and people helping people.  HIP clearly achieved the goals we set for ourselves in building the HIP Carousel.

2015 HIP Carousel Barbara Janssens

 

We say again a big thank you to our partners, sponsors and volunteers without whom we could not have held this amazing event!

Please browse the photo gallery below. Should you want to order any of the photos or see the full gallery, please contact HIP Member Dorothée Piroëlle.