Interview with Yanyan Ji

Now Head of Marketing at Huawei USA, Nanjing-born Yanyan Ji was previously Head of Marketing Planning and Strategy at Nokia and was Director of Global Brands at Qualcomm. She has also founded her own brand of childrenswear and curated home products and stationery, Suvi Ainoa (for which Grain developed the identity). And now, here is Yanyan herself!

What inspires you?
Being surrounded by like minded people. Traveling – not business trips but free time when I can explore the city and have some alone time for myself to think.

What makes you happy?
This is a tough question.

I am happy to have one night of deep sound sleep which I have not had since I was pregnant with our first born almost 8 years ago.

I am happy when my kids are happy, no fighting, cooperating and finishing their food with no fuss.

I am happy when they agree to wear my design, suvi ainoa, which is always a struggle.

I am happy when my kids go to bed, my husband and I can enjoy some adult conversation, catch up with a show on TV, happier with a glass of wine in hand.

What gives you energy?
Doing things that are meaningful to me, providing a good life for my family.

How do you integrate happiness into your working life – or how do you integrate work into the rest of your life?
I just realized according to my previous answer, my happiness doesn’t have much to do with my work. Yet I spend so much time working.

How do you balance your work life with your personal life?
I tried to be a stay at home mom for three years (I did launch my own line during that time) and I realized I need to work to feel complete. So work is an important part for me. I try my best not to let work consume too much of myself. Trying my best to fulfill other roles, a mother, a wife. I have not yet found a way to separate my work from my personal life. Sometimes I wish I could do that. I have not yet found a good work and personal life balance. Everyday, we try our best.

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