Tell us who you are!
I am Xiaoli Shi, a Chinese woman working and living in Germany.
What is your current job and your title?
I am leading the team at Group Treasury of Volkswagen, which is responsible for subsidiary financing of our automotive divisions.
Tell us more about your career steps and background!
I started my career at a Volkswagen subsidiary after finishing my bachelor study in German Literature and Economics in China. I started out as a controller and assistant for the supervisory board, then, after completing my MBA program in Germany, I came back to Volkswagen joining the treasury team at our headquarters here in Wolfsburg.
What does “Social Capital” mean to you?
I have realized that “Social Capital” is the missing part of the puzzle, which makes everyone’s personal career development successful. We are exposed daily to the opportunity to grow Social Capital – often however, we miss the chance to engage.
What makes you successful in business/your current job?
I am a person who is pretty much convinced by personal dedication and hard work. My experience tells me that a fearless attitude to something new and unknown is always a great driver for success.
What is/has been your biggest achievement professionally and privately?
I am quite sure that my biggest achievement in my profession is yet to come. After I moved to Germany at the age of 26 I thought it a great achievement to find my identity as being a Chinese living in Germany. Identity is sometimes not an easy thing to come by.
What skills, experiences or incidences helped you to get you to where you are today? What helped? What hindered?
First of all, my dear family offered me a happy childhood, which is the most important element for an adult me. They taught me a healthy attitude about being a female in the professional and private world.
Also, my 4 years of studying at the Beijing Foreign Studies University opened my eyes and my mind to different cultures and great opportunities. Most essentially however, in different phases of life, I am lucky enough to have had great people around me who encourage me, challenge me and inspire me. They are always pushing me to take that next step.
What are your aspirations as a 1World Mentor for the 1World Social Capital Program?
Through sharing my experiences, my thoughts with a younger generation, I hope I can help my mentees to be aware of their own capability and power inside them, which can not only benefit themselves, but also contribute to society.
What can you offer your 1World Mentee?
I am ready to listen to you. I know how important it is to have a good listener at your side. It is always good to have a sound-board and a second opinion. Apart from that, I am quite good at logical thinking and analyzing.
If you are interested in Volkswagen, I will also try and accompany you through our internal processes of getting to know the right people, writing the right application and being the best you can in an interview.
What does your ideal 1World Mentee look like?
A young woman who is interested in challenging herself and the world.
What are your aspirations for your 1World Mentee?
Believe in yourself, set a target and reach it with every effort – I am here to support you.
Do you believe there is a glass ceiling for young female professionals? If yes, how can we break it?
I believe the glass ceiling does not only apply to women in the workforce, but also to minorities and immigrants – to which I fortunately or unfortunately belong. I can confirm that it is not always a fair world, often discriminating to some groups.
However, it is not that hard to break the glass ceiling, the first step is working towards your goal and fight for things you want and you deserved. After all, the glass ceiling might only be a imagination of your mind – it is your choice.
If you needed to make a powerful statement about the topic “networking” what would it be?
Inspiring others is inspiring oneself too.