Big sister: Hsieh Min Zong looks for opportunities to help young talent grow

ASM’s Manufacturing Director Hsieh Min Zong is happy to take the company’s young staffers under her wing.

“They call me ‘Big Sister’ around here,” she says with a chuckle. “I look for opportunities to teach them new skills, and I encourage them to ask questions because that’s how they learn. It makes me feel good to build their confidence and see them grow.”

The fact that her mentees treat her like an older sibling says everything about her approachability. Born in Taiwan, and growing up in Iran and Thailand because of her father’s aircraft engineering job, Min adapts easily to different cultures and personalities.  

“I’m relatable so if anyone needs to speak to me, they know they can,” she says. “More importantly, though, I don’t bang on tables to get what I want. That management style may work the first time but it’s not sustainable. You need to work well with others to solve problems.”

A hunger to learn and an ability to think independently are two qualities Min looks for in her mentees. She recently offered a job to a “rising star” from the Singapore Institute of Technology – an intern who was inquisitive, didn’t need much handholding and followed through on tasks without being asked.

“He’s the type of employee we want. He joined ASM as a supervisor straight out of school – that’s how much we believed in him. And we continue to support him because that’s key to retaining talent. If employees feel they’re growing in their role, they’re less likely to look elsewhere.”

On the ground: Min (second from the right) on the manufacturing floor with the leadership team

An industry “star” herself, Min, who has an electrical engineering (EEE) degree from Arizona State University in the US, has been headhunted throughout her 26-year manufacturing career.

“Every new job was a promotion for me and every new company presented new learning opportunities,” she shares. “I never formally had a mentor in these companies, but I did have bosses who taught me to ask questions and think of solutions myself. They helped me uncover my own potential. I apply those same management skills now at ASM. Bosses are important – people leave good jobs because of bad leaders.”

Min says it is her passion for her job that’s helped her get this far in her career. “I’m sometimes on the floor until 2am because we have deadlines to fulfil, but I love what I do, and I’m reliable and committed to getting results. You must want to move the needle, otherwise you’re wasting your time.”

She advocates a “try everything” approach for those new to the industry. After all, you won’t know if something isn’t for you unless you attempt it first, she reasons.

“I’ve done everything in the semiconductor industry, from computer-based tasks to setting up a plant,” she says. “My advice to anyone thinking of joining this industry is to get an internship and give everything a shot.

“There are so many roles available – engineer, planner, project manager…. you have to try what’s out there to see what’s possible.”