A Conversation with Hui Dang, Senior Project Manager for HOK in Beijing
Hui Dang, architect and senior project manager in HOK’s Beijing office, talks about her career at HOK and the experience for women in today’s changing Chinese workplace.
What motivates you in your work?
HD: I really enjoy the work I’m doing now. No two days are the same. Through discussing options with the design team, communicating with clients or coordinating consultants, I have an opportunity to be involved in different stages and aspects of a project. I work with an exceptionally talented and passionate team, so I’m exposed to evolving challenges and creative solutions every day. The process is as enjoyable as the result.
How would you summarize your experience working with HOK for the past five years?
Of all the design firms I’ve known, HOK has the most organized and sophisticated project management systems. Training for project managers covers the whole project process, and HOK leaders from each discipline provide continuous guidance and support. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been fortunate to work on so many prestigious and exciting projects, which has broadened my view and understanding of architectural design.
It seems many clients come back to you for new project opportunities. How do you manage client relationships?
To me, thinking from the client’s perspective is as important as working with the design team. We work to understand our clients’ specific requirements before we begin design. Timely communication is always critical regardless of the complexity of a project. Also, our approach to design always must reflect the different cultures of our clients.
How do you balance personal life and work life, especially as a new mother?
Work and family are equally important to me. These are two different yet inseparable roles in my life. Balance is possible, though conflicts occur. As a new mother, it’s hard not to prioritize your baby. On the other hand, it’s nice to be away from diapers and milk for a short while. Still, my baby is my power source and keeps me constantly charged for work. All this wouldn’t be possible without the sharing and support from my other half.