Turning Individual Contributions into Management Expertise
Catherine Hui, R&D Manager of Web Products, Bloomberg
By Pam Losefsky
Computer geek turned manager of web products responsible for more than 160 employees and contractors, Catherine Hui is a great example of the power inherent in a combination of technical and business skills.
With a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, Hui had relatively modest aspirations. “I just wanted to be a really good computer programmer,” she remembers. “She worked for Nortel Networks in Canada and then moved to the United States to work for a telecom start-up. With the dot-com bust, the company went under, and she found a job as an intermediate level programmer at Bloomberg LP.
While Hui was happy with her job, a supervisor saw leadership potential in her, and immediately, the trajectory of her career took a sharp turn. “At Bloomberg, if you’re good at what you do, they tap you to start managing projects and then people,” she says. “There is plenty of opportunity at the company to shine—it’s a great culture for people who want to do more with their careers.”
Hui notes that in the computer science domain at Bloomberg, the success of women is very high. “I think women are naturally attentive to detail and good team players. We also tend to support the concept of community and think about the greater good—all important traits for managers,” she says.
As Hui was promoted into jobs with more and more responsibility, she began to upgrade her aspirations. “People have faith in me, so why should I short-sell myself?” she says she eventually recognized. “Looking back, I realize I could have done even more sooner, I just didn’t have the confidence.”
But she doesn’t regret taking the path she started down. “When you work in a technical company, having the technical knowledge helps you earn respect immediately,” she points out. “I’ve also been able to take my logical approach to working at the architecture level into the bigger management picture, and I know what questions to ask and when to ask them, to challenge approaches that are presented to me.” She was also fortunate to have worked as a programmer in both systems and application support, which refined both her technical skills and her product sense, making her a stronger manager.
To those young women who have technical degrees and are considering the leap into management, Hui offers these words of encouragement: You survived.
“Math and science are hard, so you need to be confident in your abilities,” she says. “Males may be traditionally stronger in these areas, but not only did you survive a technical program, you also have even more to offer in the traditional female realm.” Hui says the female managers she works with are good team players, good at planning and very organized.