Article by Isabella Zhang
Role models is an ongoing series where a successful female role model is interviewed in order to inspire and motivate others who may wish to do the same.
Can you introduce yourself? Job title, educational background, languages, hobbies, your family etc.
Hi, I am Ren Guimei, Mary. I work in the culture industry. I am Secretary General of American-Chinese CEO Society Xi’an Office, founder and CEO of Shaanxi Shengsheng Guiyuan Culture Industry Co., Ltd, and Chengdu Tenghuabushi Culture Media Co., Ltd.
I come from a family with a political background. I have three brothers and one sister.
My father had fought the Korean War in the 1950s and worked for the government after. One of my brothers fought in Vietnam War. My mother worked as a math teacher before she retired.
Sixteen years ago, I went to the US with my husband and 8-year-old son. After spending more than ten years there, with my job as a wife and a mom perfectly done, I returned to China, my country, where I can make a more significant difference as a professional woman.
In my free time, I like to think, read and play badminton. I learn English every day in order to communicate with the world.
Are you from Xi’an? If not, why did you come here?
I’m from Yan’an, Shaanxi. I choose Xi’an to develop my career because it is a historical city, the capital of 13 dynasties, very rich in cultural and historical resources, which I can use to introduce Chinese culture to the world.
What do you do every day? What is normal schedule like? What is not “normal” work for you?
On a workday, I get up at 6 am, starting my day with a cup of tea. My office hours are from 8 am to 6 pm. After a day of work, I spend some time listening to music or playing badminton. Furthermore, from 8 pm to 10 pm, I spend the time with my thoughts or books. On the weekends, it is my time to relax, so I am often reading. Besides this, I spend two hours learning English every day, because I think our life goal should be to always absorb new knowledge.
As a movie producer, my most critical task is to bring in money. So besides movies, another vital part of my work is cooperating with state-owned companies for infrastructure projects such as highways and bridges. By engaging in such work, we contribute to China’s economic development and generate enough profit to invest in the movie industry while staying independent to create movies, which would not be so easy if we seek funds from a third party.
Three out of five days, I spent time on infrastructure projects, listening to my staff reporting on various projects, and meeting leaders from related industries. For the rest of the workdays, I meet with my director and screenwriter to work on the ongoing movie projects. I have promoted Pakistani actor Anees Qadir (Chinese name: Guang Ming).
What are your most impressive accomplishments? What accomplishments might not impress an average person, but you are particularly proud of?
IMy most impressive accomplishment is that I have always been working hard to improve and grow. I am persistent and on the way to accomplish more. I am proud of the support I have been giving to my family and staff, to help them achieve their dreams and goals.
I am proud to be a woman with belief in myself, confidence and a strong desire to achieve my goals.
What are the biggest challenges you face in general and as a woman? Why do you think these challenges exist?
The biggest challenge is to have the wisdom to balance work life with domestic life. We want to show our value to the society. At the same time we want to grow together with our family members. Being a woman, we always want to be a better wife, a better mom, even a better daughter and sister. Only by the power of love we play each role well.
What are your goals for this year? 5 years?
I am working on several infrastructure projects with various state-owned companies, and I want to make sure they all get completed this year. Besides, I am making three movies now, all about Chinese culture and history, called ‘China King’, ‘Unify the Three Kingdoms’, and ‘Great Flood’. Within the next couple of years, I want to promote these three movies to the international market, and hopefully by doing this can drive the whole movie industry to a better place. My goal is to show the world the history and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
What motivated you to choose the career that you have today?
I did not go to college when I was young, but I never stopped learning new things about the world. Movie industry is based on culture, it is about telling stories. As a Chinese person, I feel it is my destiny to tell our story to the world. To see the world from an international point of view is as important as presenting China in a way can be received by the rest of the world.
What are the most important character traits you think someone who want to pursue such career should possess?
First of all you have to be passionate, but passion alone is not enough. You must learn a lot about the industry and the culture. You must know what it means to be Chinese. You need to know Chinese history like the back of your hand. Always put your heart and mind into your work.
What advice do you have for other women, Chinese or foreign, who are looking to farther their careers?
It does not matter where we come from or what language we speak, what matters is to possess virtues like kindness, faithfulness, forbearance, and fortitude.
“Suitable soil” is where we live. The “years” must teach us how to plant in spring, grow in summer, harvest in autumn and store in winter. We have our own determined and beautiful state of mind, and a goal to move forward. Able to fulfill good wishes, we should find the one that suits us the best. It is better to do what you are best at and able to accomplish, work, industry, rather than doing what you like best. A person’s knowledge, abilities, and values are the “three fires” that are deep in the heart and truly belong to us. Work rhythm, priorities and your perception determine how great you achievements will be.
Isabella Zhang works for a national financial institution. She and her best friends started a Podcast, find out more on Ximalaya “nonsensefm”. She loves meeting new people, cares about gender equality, and does volunteer work at a local institution called “Sijie Youth Development”.