Thoughtworker Spotlight: Judy Chen

Thoughtworks Canada

Thoughtworks Canada

February 17, 2023

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Two photos of Judy side by side

Judy Chen blazes her own path and embraces change, both in her personal recipes for growth and her tasty culinary creations. From taking the leap and pivoting careers into the technology space, she uses her creativity, organization and communication skills to bring her love of products to life. As a Client Service Manager, she manages client relationships and ensures that cross-functional teams of Thoughtworkers are working cohesively to build and deliver extraordinary impact.

A proud cat parent of two, you’ll find Judy pushing the envelope while experimenting in the kitchen when she’s not doting over her feline fur babies. From fresh new cuisines to ambitious meal prep, Judy is always cooking up a storm (ask her about themed tea sets!) and finds herself constantly inspired by exploring the endless food options Toronto offers. Since she enjoys melding teams and ingredients together to deliver stellar experiences, can you guess what her favourite product is? You can find out in this week’s Thoughtworker Spotlight.

Tell us about what you do in 50 words or less.

I am a Client Service Manager currently managing a leading exercise equipment and media company. My focus is on deepening and expanding my client relationships amongst the 20+ workstreams that our consultants are on. I support our consultants on their engagement to build and deliver amazing products, bringing product excellence, best practices and broadening our Thoughtworker experience. 

What’s the most interesting challenge you’re working on?

Bringing together cohesiveness amongst a huge team. It’s not news that when an organization or team grows and scales faster than expected, there may be knowledge and communication gaps. One of my biggest challenges is to ensure there’s constant communication cross-functionally. While it may sound simple, the most interesting thing is observing how different people react to receiving feedback, providing feedback, and receiving news. In the role that I am in, I have a balance between being effective and kind while communicating with both clients and Thoughtworkers.

What inspired you to have the career you have today?

Before Thoughtworks, I worked in the product department at Industrial Alliance. I was inspired by the world of products. Moving from an analyst role to product, I was able to understand the behind-the-scenes of the management systems we used on a daily basis. I was inspired by learning about the end-user experience, how a product can be used, how a product fits into individual lives and the unlimited potential of products. With limited growth in my previous company, I sought out a new avenue to bring my love for products to life. That’s what inspired me to pursue a career in technology. 

What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?

Moving from a non-technical product role to Client Services. I think I speak to a lot of people’s experience and concerns that pivoting careers is a difficult choice to make. I had no real plan on how to get into the product and technology space exactly, but I was proud that I could leverage the experience I’ve gained over the years working as a business analyst to move somewhere new. Of course, every day I’m learning, so there’s not precisely one goal that I would say I’m the proudest of, but I’m proud that I believed in myself enough to make the leap to leave my comfort zone in pursuit of a new career in the Tech industry. 

If you could go back in time and give yourself career advice, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid of change. Don’t be afraid of learning. I was so scared of making mistakes, especially when making the leap and changing my career. Growing up, I’ve always sought out the safest decision, took the quiet path and was terrified of making mistakes. I had dreams of becoming the best of the best, and it led me down a path where I’d leave little room for error with the things I did. And when I did, I couldn’t forgive myself when mistakes were made, and it eroded my confidence. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve learned that mistakes are meant to happen to grow as a person. I’d love to tell my younger self that every day is a journey. 

What do you love to do outside of work?

If it’s not spending time with my family and my cats, it’s meal planning, grocery shopping and trying out new recipes. I absolutely love cooking and have a deep passion for food – any kind! One thing I have to thank my immigrant parents for is that we settled in Toronto, where almost every culture’s food is right at our doorstep. I really enjoy trying new kinds of cuisines, and experimenting with new recipes.

I also really enjoy meal-prepping. I dislike wasting food (thanks mom and dad), so I love becoming creative with whatever leftovers I have to turn it into an amazing meal! 

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what album, movie, and book would you take with you?

Album – 1989 by Taylor Swift
Movie – Interstellar
Book – Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert (I love psychology, and understanding human experiences. It’s an interesting and funny take to why we don’t seem to understand ourselves.)

And finally, what’s your favourite product and why? 

Google Maps. I’m terrible with directions, and even when I’m driving around my local area, I love using Google Maps (especially on Android Auto) to check for traffic, road closures, and the fastest route to get somewhere. It keeps my directionally-challenged brain on track as to where I’m going, and my ETA. I also enjoy being on-time, so being able to predict when I’ll arrive and informing my friends and family beforehand gives me peace of mind. 

3 images side by side, first one of three people sitting down, middle image with Judy and an orange cat, and the third image with Judy standing in front of a 3-plate tray of desserts

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