Cecilia Tao, General Manager of Etone Holdings
-CEO of Etone Holdings Pty Lty
-Born in 1988 at Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China
-She came to study in Australia in 2009, at USYD
-New Oriental part-time teacher since 2007
Transition from an art student to a code monkey: I proved myself
Before ascended the ladder, nobody known how many steps you have to take, including Cecilia.
“I didn’t have a childhood in the true sense. I was practicing the piano when other children were playing games,” Cecilia said with a wry smile.
According to Cecilia, her parents focused on cultivating her talents in piano, ballet, drum, bel canto, guitar, acting and hosting in her childhood. While getting good achievements in study, Cecilia exhibited a high degree of professionalism as an amateur.
It is the extensive experiences in stage performance that laid a solid foundation for the entrepreneurship of Cecilia. “So, I’m grateful that I practiced playing the piano, rather than played games. It is the artistic environment since my childhood that made me who I am. It is for this reason that I can have a company specializing in events organization.” Said Cecilia, “In fact, I am a little dedicated. I like reading and taking exams. In addition, I enjoy exploring the mysteries of the unknown world.”
Advised by her mother, a career-driven woman but strikes a balance between work and family, Cecilia selected a major irrelevant to art after the examination – Information Technology and Software Development.
“Theoretically, I was a code monkey responsible to find bugs of software. Through the study in Harbin University of Science and Technology, I cultivated the rational thinking ability. It makes me do things orderly. I think this is the best gift that the study gives to me.”
Although Cecilia dislikes engineering, she mastered the skills with excellent performance. Just as what she said, she proved herself.
I grew up under pressure. It is part of my life.
“My parents are always strict to me.” Cecilia began to study English when she was in elementary school. With excellent spoken English, Cecilia took part in the national English speech contests for many times and achieved good results.
She became an 18-year-old part-time teacher of Harbin New Oriental School. Moreover, she won the first prize in CCTV Cup English Speaking Contest in Heilongjiang Province, which enabled her to participate in Asian Varsity Debates on behalf of the country. Nevertheless, seldom has Cecilia mentioned the glory of her past after she went abroad.
“Since I started learning English at an early age, I have a solid knowledge of it. For this reason, I adapted myself to the new life quickly when I first came to Australia.” Cecilia is grateful to her childhood experiences. “Whenever I encounter tough time, I will encourage myself to hold on a bit longer. I have been through so much. Now, there is nothing to fear.”
Cecilia adapted herself to the new life quickly and created many unforgettable memories during her study in the University of Sydney. In 2011, Wang Gang (the vice president and minister of science and technology) was requested by the Australian government to visit New South Wales and attend the welcome dinner held by Professor Michael Spence – the president of the University of Sydney. At that time, Cecilia was still studying simultaneous interpretation as a postgraduate. Nevertheless, she was invited to serve as the simultaneous interpreter of the dinner.
“It’s fairly a thorny task, even if the experienced interpreters did not dare to accept the invitation. However, I thought it was a chance. It was bound to be an excellent life experience. As long as I tried my best, I would never regret.” Since the dinner referred to many professional vocabularies, Cecilia spent three days and nights in making preparations. “The result was neither good nor bad. I did not make huge mistakes. Nevertheless, there were many small mistakes. Overall, the experience has great impact on my life.”
Move forward, or you’ll fall behind
Achieving a promising future can never be easy, especially for someone who carries the expectations of the entire team.
So does Cecilia.
“When I think I have reached my short- term targets or overcome the difficulties, I will set a new goal for myself.” Cecilia said with a smile. “I also feel tired and want to give up sometimes. But I cannot do that.”
After 7 years in Australia, Cecilia returned to the art world. She began to do what she loves again: set up a cultural transmission company.
When Cecilia is bewildered by the increasing planning invitations, she makes fun of herself: “you promised to increase the salary of someone, did you make it? Do others respect your team members when they solicit financial supports? If not, why? That’s because you are not awesome enough.” Perhaps it is such spirit that inspires Cecilia to lead her team to move forward.
Last year, Etone Holdings successfully hosted the first large-scale activity - Sing in the Frozen. The activity presented the ice & snow festival of Harbin to the Australians. Later, the company organized Spring Festival Gala in Harbin which achieved large success. And benefiting from the splendid performance in planning, the team of Cecilia also won the right to host the internal ice & snow festival in 2017. In addition, it hosted the press conference of China-Australia Media Forum in July 2016. All these enabled Etone Holdings to open a new market in the in Chinese communities in Sydney. For this young but cohesive team, there might be still a long way to go, however it’s a good start.
“In fact, event planning would have great possibilities in Sydney,” said Cecilia, “I like the cause. In addition, I have the resources. Besides, I can find many professionals. I can do the thing right. In the meantime, it is able to promote the great and profound Chinese culture. So why not?”