A nine-month blink with our first Japanese volunteer

 

Rui Soga

 

 

VOLUNTEER: Rui Soga

EXPERTISE: Sales & Marketing

LOCATION: Hanoi

LENGTH: 9 months

 


Rui Soga, our first Japanese volunteer, has left Fargreen for exactly one month and must be back to his normal routine now. Rui works for Sompo Japan Nipponkoa, one of the biggest Japanese insurance companies. Through Cross Fields, he, an expert in sales and marketing, joined us for a 9 month term from June 2017 to March 2018.

This was the first time that we have worked closely with a Japanese person for such a long time. As far as we know about Japanese culture and working style, we had so much worries for him, and also for… us. We worried that he might get culture shock and that he would think bad about Vietnamese working style. But it turned out that he got used to Fargreen culture and became one of us very fast. He had fun in the office, took a short nap after lunch, sang Vietnamese songs in Karaoke parties though he didn’t understand a word, danced so well in our Fargreen’s got talent show in Chiang Mai though he said he had never danced before in Japan,... After nine months, now we worry that he would get reverse culture shock when he is back in Japan.

Speaking of the contribution Rui made to Fargreen, we would say we’ve been so lucky that he came to join us right when we most needed him. Fargreen’s sales team was very new and no one had knowledge or experience of doing sales. Rui, like his name in Kanji (塁: base, foundation), has become the base of this fledgling team. He helped develop a comprehensive sales & marketing strategy for long-term progress and provide internal sales & branding training to our sales staff. He also gave lectures to all the members on various topics, such as presentation skills, risk management, etc. He believed “we don't teach anyone, we just share our knowledge and experience” because he knew that he came from a different country, lived with a different culture, and was working in a different field, which would lead to different ways of thinking. That is why “our own idea is just one among a lot of other ideas. When we say ‘well, it's just my idea’, it's not only about the humbleness, it's also about the willingness to listen to others, and the respect for others too.”

With Rui’s guidance and support, we’ve been able to build a good sales team with confident and professional members. Under Rui’s leadership, the team has helped Fargreen to build great relationship with old and new partners, expanding our reputation to the Japanese communities in Vietnam - one of the most difficult customer segment with high standards for food. Not only that, Rui has contributed so much in strengthening our culture of fun, collaboration and professionalism at Fargreen.

Besides the fun time, we sometimes had arguments as well. Rui was quite calm, which often helped prevent the conflict from getting worse and we soon could find ways to settle things. As he quoted from somewhere, “apologizing does not always mean you're wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.”

In the eyes of each and every one at Fargreen, Rui was not only a volunteer, but also our key team member, a great "sensei" (teacher) of the Sales team, a talented friend of the whole Fargreen team. We were so blessed to have him here.

Dear Rui, we created this video to memorize all the fun we had together. Thank you so much for coming. You are missed here…