Discover Christina’s career journey from a Shell intern to the Global Product Manager for Connected Freight. This story is about how she is empowered to become a proud advocate of clean and innovative solutions in the mobility and energy sectors.
Seven years ago, my greatest dilemma as a clueless college kid was my internship decision - between glamorous FMCG companies and a B2B commodities company which I knew very little about.
Back then, when people asked me, "What do you do?", I simply answered, "PowerPoints & Spreadsheets." But ask me the same question today and I can proudly say, "I'm changing the world for a cleaner and more efficient place."
My name is Christina Gao, the Global Product Manager for Connected Freight, a digital venture in Shell New Energies. My exciting career journey with Shell started 7 years ago and today, I am still in awe by the level of empowerment and opportunities that the company has bestowed upon me. Particularly in the space of fronting new and innovative solutions in the mobility and energy sectors.
From Sales Intern to Marketer
As a Marketing student, I have always thought joining a FMCG company was the way to go until I chanced upon a creative internship recruitment poster from Shell. Out of curiosity, I joined as a Sales intern 7 years ago.
I was blessed with a very caring mentor, Koon Way, who soon found out about my interest in marketing and immediately readjusted my internship scope with an added marketing component. He also empowered me to make my recommendations at the regional sales meeting at Penang.
Junior as I was, all the sales managers paid close attention to what I had to say. That was the moment when I experienced how Shell values every employee’s contribution, regardless of seniority, gender and background. And this was why I returned to the company upon graduation, this time as a full-time marketer.
The Nexus community for Graduates is a great support group to help corporate freshmen like us to smoothly integrate into the company
From Marketing to Clean Energy
I still remember when I first rotated to the Downstream LNG team as a Business Analyst, my very first business proposal ended up on the Philippines Country Chairperson’s desk! It was for his presentation to the Minister of Energy, recommending LNG as an economic transport fuel for the city buses in Manila to address air pollution. It suddenly struck me that I wasn’t just building ivory towers with Microsoft tools, but the labour of my hard work had the potential of bettering lives in places where I don’t even live in!
From Singapore to China
I have also had the opportunity to work in China for 18 months to implement the investment and construction of LNG refuelling stations. The short stint saw my fastest growth in personal and professional developments.
My proudest moment was giving a presentation at the 5th China Energy and Logistics Conference as the youngest and the only female presenter, in front of a male-dominated audience. I felt extremely honoured representing the Royal Dutch Shell.
This was taken at the Downstream LNG Team Away Day in Chengdu – they were my family in China!
From Clean Energy to Digital
I have since moved from LNG to the equally, if not more, exciting world of digitals in Shell Digital Ventures. I now get to take on a two-fold challenge: Firstly, create an agile and commercially material digital business for Shell from ground zero. And secondly, disrupt the logistics industry in Asia Pacific through digitisation and sophisticated optimisation algorithms.
Within a mere 6 months, the team has developed and launched a suite of digital products that aims to address the inefficiency gaps in the logistics ecosystem, and to curb chronic traffic conditions in Asia’s developing cities!
Quoting Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. My greatest realisation thus far is that the impact of my work and the voice of my advocacies have magnified themselves only because Shell has provided me the reach, the springboard as well as the harness to achieve beyond my wildest imaginations without fearing about failure.
Most recently, I was invited by my alma mater (Nanyang Business School) to be the guest speaker at their MBA class. Sitting right next to me was Dr Lewis - my marketing professor who encouraged me to accept the Shell internship offer amongst others – a decision which I am still exceedingly pleased with, 7 years later!
To the World and Beyond
An additional perk of working for a global energy leader – I get to fulfil my inner travel bug! This photo was taken when I was visiting a million-dollar farm in Holland!
Over the years, my footsteps have covered over 20 countries and half of them were for work! My passion for travel and photography materialised in the form of blogging (which I was very active in at one point). The pursuit of my interests was made possible by an extremely supportive and understanding team of colleagues and line managers!
The amount of satisfaction and fulfilment I gained from my daily work is immeasurable. I am constantly energized about going to work, especially when I witness the tangible impact I help create on a daily basis!
Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the individuals featured and are not representative of the views of the Shell group of companies and their affiliates.
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