Meet the Team
July 8, 2024

Yumiko – A Career of Growth and Strength

In her story, Yumiko reflects her career journey which spans from her work as a quality controller to leading a team of 60 colleagues and taught her to overcome challenges as a female leader.

What quality do you value most in yourself?   

Be mindful of others. 

Where do you like to spend your time the most?   

Nature-stunning mountains, lush green forests, and more. 

What is your favorite food?   

I enjoy spicy Asian cuisine, for example Thai food. 

What is your favorite movie?   

"Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" -The first movie I watched in a theater as a kid. 

What sport do you like?   

I enjoy watching team sports, such as baseball, because they share similarities with the workplace, including teamwork, strategy, and discipline. As a fan of Shohei Ohtani, I find baseball particularly exciting to watch. 

Where do you like to travel?  

For domestic travel, I enjoy visiting hot springs and trying delicious local cuisine. 

What is your motto?   

Have fun. Be honest.  

Could you please describe your career experience?

I majored in agriculture in university and began my career in quality control at a spice company. After two years, I joined Evonik as a quality assurance staff member. In this role, I was responsible for handling customer complaints, setting product specifications, creating safety data sheets, and ensuring compliance with chemical regulations. Then I wanted to learn more about our process and products, so I moved to the production group where I now lead a team of 60 colleagues. While my focus was on quality in the quality group, I now prioritize safety, quality, and cost efficiency in the production group. I am constantly learning new things about the production process and am excited to be involved in the construction of a new alumina plant. This is the most fulfilling time in my career.

How many years have you been working at Evonik and why have you chosen to stay with the company?

I have been with Evonik since 2003, accumulating 21 years of experience. Evonik has provided me with many opportunities, such as transferring from Quality to Production. As a woman leading a production group in a chemical plant in Japan, I understand that this is not a common occurrence. I appreciate the opportunities given to me and want to contribute to the company and my team. I enjoy my work and hope that my colleagues in the team also find their work enjoyable.

What challenges for you to transfer from quality to production and as a female leader to manage 60 people?

When I was in charge of Quality, my focus was on quality procedures and rules. Moving to Production, of course, quality procedures and rules are important, but safety, efficiency, and cost are also important. So, I always think about balancing these items. This is one of my challenges. As the first female leader of the production group in our plant, my colleagues in production might not have expected anything from me at first because I did not have experience in plant operations. My approach was to ask a lot of questions in the beginning, listen to my colleagues' opinions, and build an emotional connection with them. Now, after leading this position for three years, I feel that my team colleagues accept me and are opening their minds. This change makes me happy.

What does it mean to be part of something special for you? 

Being part of the Production team has been a big challenge for me because the previous Head of Production had extensive experience in the field, whereas I came from a different field. However, Evonik has given me something special and my team colleagues have accepted me. This means that being part of Evonik provides opportunities to work differently.

Job title Senior Manager of Production Group

Based Yokkaichi, Japan

Division/Function Smart Materials

Joined Evonik 2003

Education Agricultural science