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Life at McCormick December 12, 2023

Embracing Diversity and Overcoming Challenges: Molly Mao's Journey in International Trade Compliance

Molly Mao


Meet Molly Mao, Head of International Trade Compliance for China and the Asia Pacific Zone. In this role, she is responsible for providing guidance and implementing trade policies, overseeing internal compliance, and strategically managing risk (export/import) control within the Asia Pacific and China regions. Molly, a Shanghai native, joined McCormick in 2017 as a Trade Compliance Specialist, and she has since found her stride in the dynamic world of international trade.

One of the aspects Molly cherishes most about her work at McCormick is the daily collaboration with colleagues from different countries. “It feels like I’m circling the globe every day,” she says. “I enjoy the diverse and inclusive work environment that fosters rich interactions and perspectives.”

In November 2017, Molly had the opportunity to become a part of a relocation project for the Rayang factory in Thailand. With no prior experience in large-scale overseas projects, she felt a mix of excitement and apprehension. The idea of collaborating closely with unfamiliar foreign colleagues initially stirred a sense of unease, yet Molly recognized this as an invaluable chance for professional growth and development.

The project presented a myriad of challenges, notably in orchestrating the timely import of the spice plant production line. Drawing on support from technical colleagues from Singapore, Molly underwent a remarkable transformation—from a novice unfamiliar with the company's production processes to a professional capable of navigating the intricacies of importing machinery with ease. With unwavering teamwork, she successfully ensured the timely delivery of the project. Throughout the year and a half dedicated to this endeavor, Molly experienced a rapid enhancement in her personal skill set, she looks back with gratitude for the chance her superiors gave her to participate in such a project.

Reflecting on her tenure at the Thailand factory during the project, Molly aptly likened it to a small United Nations—where mutual support prevailed whenever someone was in need. Engaging in daily collaboration with colleagues from various countries and functions, she immersed herself in the collision of diverse cultures. This firsthand experience became a crucible for Molly, teaching her the nuances of effective cross-cultural communication and collaboration. She gained insights into reconciling disparate perspectives, reaching consensus, and propelling work forward. Her time in Thailand became a profound lesson in the significance of approaching dissenting voices with an open mind. This transformative experience not only broadened her cultural acumen but also reinforced the value of diversity and collaboration in achieving shared goals.

Outside her professional life, Molly is an avid hiker and finds joy in delving into historical books. Her curiosity about the world and the historical-cultural evolution of diverse ethnicities fuels her passion for exploration.

In the end, Molly's journey stands as a testament to the transformative power of embracing diversity, overcoming challenges, and approaching life with an open heart and mind. Her experiences underscore the profound impact that a willingness to adapt, learn, and foster inclusivity can have on both personal and professional growth.

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