Jian Wei on being confident has been saved
Life at Deloitte
Jian Wei on being confident
Deloitte is proud to introduce the next profile in a series featuring women in the energy industry in conjunction with the Women’s Energy Network (WEN). By highlighting the stories of women in energy, we hope to help facilitate meaningful conversations, create connections, and showcase the myriad of opportunities for women to enter and thrive in the energy industry.
Jian Wei is a principal leading digital transformation in the Power and Utilities sector of Deloitte Consulting LLP (Consulting). For more than 20 years, Jian has led engagements from strategy through execution for more than 50 companies with operations across the United States, Asia and Europe. Jian moves easily from the factory floor to the corner office, building relationships across all levels of the enterprise, and is focused on the intersection of innovation, digital technologies, operations, and organizational maturity. She has envisioned and led multi-year transformation programs to achieve sustainable and measurable improvements in safety, reliability, efficiency, and customer satisfaction at some of the largest and most progressive energy companies.
From supply chain to Power & Utilities
Jian worked for many years in Consulting for supply chain serving high-tech companies in Silicon Valley, which required significant global travel. In order to have a local client for a few years, Jian took the opportunity to lead a supply chain project for one of the largest utilities on the west coast. A few years turned into over more than a decade as Jian discovered the impact and opportunities of the Power & Utilities (P&U) sector.
One of Jian’s guiding philosophies is to be open-minded and curious. Jian believes that opportunities will always pop up even if it’s not the path you originally imagined.
One such opportunity arose for Jian when she realized that a majority of the pain points in the P&U supply chain were actually caused by operations in transmission and distribution. Her spirit of curiosity and ambition to find the root cause of the problem then led Jian to advising the client through crisis management, operational recovery, a business transformation following a deadly gas pipeline explosion, capital efficiency programs, wildfire mitigation, and more.
Impacting the community through wildfire mitigation
The work on wildfire mitigation has proven to be a career highlight for Jian. It started in 2018 amid deadly wildfires in California as utilities had to raise their game significantly to mitigate this large risk. Jian was able to apply previous lessons learned from process and crisis management to turn around a proposal, win the work, and start the job with the emergency operations center for the client.
Since then, the team Jian leads has delivered impactful work. They handled the first large-scale ‘aerial inspection program’, using drones and helicopters to inspect the integrity of power lines and assets. They launched the first advanced analytics program to identify factors that could cause more fires. They also utilized well-known technologies in a new way to manage the workflow of inspections and launched a mobile app for inspectors to capture photos of the assets, mimicking a banking ‘deposit a check’ app, where the photo is rejected if the shots are not right or are not high-quality. Jian’s team’s work impacts both the community and the employees at the utility by making their jobs more efficient and accurate while improving public safety.
Building a career in Power & Utilities
Jian did not intend to make a career out of working with utilities, but the impact of her work is one of the reasons why she has stayed. She believes it may be more challenging to make changes and get them to stick at a utility compared to high-tech companies, but says it is very satisfying because the changes impact people, how they do their job, and their happiness. In addition, Jian enjoys how the industry is very relationship-focused and that she’s been able to develop and nurture relationships with her clients for over 10 years. She’s also found that once you earn a client’s trust, they will often reach out when needing professional services.
Jian also recognizes that working at a utility wasn’t very appealing 10 years ago, but she believes that the perception has completely changed since then and it is now one of the most exciting industries to work, given the energy transition. Utilities are at the forefront of fighting climate change through the adoption of new technologies.
Being part of the [energy transition] journey and driving that together with our utility clients is what motivates me every day.
Given the circumstances of the changing energy industry, Jian believes that it is a great time for women in energy. There are many advantages that women bring to the table, and Jian encourages us to be confident, because we’re in an age that the playing field has leveled out significantly, so female practitioners should feel empowered to go after all these opportunities. In particular, Jian recognizes that women frequently have a lot of integrator qualities which she believes could help the energy transition due to the need to bring stakeholders together across different ecosystems to fight climate change.
The Importance of sponsorship
Jian reflected back to when she made partner at a mid-size consulting firm, where the playing field was significantly-less level. However, she had a mentor who went out of her way to sponsor and create opportunities for Jian to demonstrate her potential. The mentor also defended Jian in front of her male peers and enlisted like-minded male partners to be advocates.
Due to her experience making partner, Jian believes strongly in giving back by sponsoring diverse colleagues. Jian believes that it’s incumbent on every one of us to do the right thing, since these small steps will eventually lead to big changes.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing our people grow and realize their full potential.
Having it all
Jian concluded the interview by talking about her two young boys, a 5-year-old and an 8-month-old, and how she and her husband manage family life and work. She admits to not having it figured out completely, but she views raising her kids as an objective project. Spoken like a true supply chain specialist, Jian believes in planning out the demand and managing the supply. This means ramping up the support system and building buffers so that the family’s needs are met.
Jian also encourages people to have the confidence in the support system of their company and to not jump to the foregone conclusion that one can’t have it all. She adds that there were eight babies delivered in the past 1.5 years to team members on her project. She shared that a silver lining of the hybrid work model has been more flexibility for people with kids and other family needs to deliver great work while having more time at home with their family.
US Power and Utilities Leader and Principal
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Jian Wei: The lightning round
Describing herself in three words: Curiosity. Empathy. Resilience.
Favorite food or drink: Dark Chocolate
Favorite place to travel: Africa. My husband’s family is from South Africa. Can’t wait to go back.
One thing on her bucket list: Taking a professional cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
One way she practiced self-care during the pandemic: Maintaining a consistent exercise routine alternating across yoga, Peloton, and hiking.
Women in Energy