Manufacturing and motherhood: The lessons learned

Embrace innovation, challenge the norms, and adapt. For Goh Shook Hui, these are not just part of her core approaches to work but also motherhood.

This mindset has helped Shook Hui to grow as a parent, while advancing her manufacturing career.

Her journey was first ignited with a passion for science and engineering.

“In school, I was always fascinated with how scientific concepts like titration and fractionation worked. I was interested in seeing how experiments in the lab and theories in our textbooks can be applied in industry,” Shook Hui says.

“It has been interesting to see and be a part of how innovation, engineering and science enable the manufacture of many useful products.”

This passion for chemistry led her to join ExxonMobil more than 15 years ago. She is now the reliability lead for olefins at the chemical plant in Singapore, ensuring operations at the units runs safely 24/7.

Shook Hui likened olefins to one of the unsung heroes of the modern world, playing a part in nearly everything people use on a daily basis.

“Olefins are fundamental to the polymer industry and are used in the production of petrochemicals such as polyethylene, polypropylene, specialty elastomers, and more,” she says.

“They form the building blocks widely used in products such as food packaging, automotive parts, adhesives, baby diapers, and medical applications.


But the foundations of her success are the way she approaches work, and she applies similar lessons to motherhood too.

She says that teamwork makes the dream work, be open to change and adapt as circumstances evolve, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

“Collaborating with different departments is very important as we work together to achieve business goals; similar to how I lean on my spouse and extended family to ensure that my daughter is cared for. It really takes a village!”

Shook Hui says, “Also, be open to changes, and embrace learning something new every day. It’s the same with parenting: My daughter never fails to surprise me.”

“And finally, don’t be too shy to ask for help. In the workplace, we have subject matter experts whom we can lean on for help and advice, I’ve also leaned on others for parenting tips on raising my child from family, friends and even colleagues, and I’m grateful for their support.”

Shook Hui says the other lesson she uses at home is about setting priorities, even as they change.

“It’s about setting clear priorities both at home and at work to ensure I allocate time and focus on the important things; and think of alternative ways to do things more efficiently both at home and work,” Shook Hui says.

She adds that while her work has changed and adapted to the growing needs of Asia Pacific, these fundamental lessons have helped her succeed and continue to excel, both at home and at work.

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