Hannah Zhang, Associate Director, Architecture & Landscape, based in Hong Kong

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Hannah Zhang

Associate Director, Architecture & Landscape, based in Hong Kong

T: +852 5505 1145

Satisfying career development opportunities 

I joined the company in November 2015 in Hong Kong. With 7 years in the company, Henning-Larsen, and subsequently with Ramboll, is where I worked the longest period throughout my career so far. This is a testament in itself.  

I started as an architect and now I am an associate director, leading a talented team to deliver high-profile and large-scale projects. The opportunities I received, together with the support and trust from my managers, have provided me the platform to really push myself out of my comfort zone and develop a career that I am proud of. I have developed new skills in the last years, from design management, project management to leading client engagement. I see a very clear progression. 

Exciting projects

If I compare with my school friends of similar age and career path, I have to say that I am very privileged. I am from Beijing, my language skills have enabled me to develop in a multi-cultural environment where I can be the bridge between different cultures and languages. I have therefore been mainly involved in projects in China. The scale and speed of project development in China is very different to those in the west which is giving me the opportunity to fast-track my career development. I always consider myself lucky as during my 7 years with Ramboll, I have been involved and led 4 major projects that are completed or under construction. Gaining the site experiences is an eye opener. It definitely helped to inform my design approach. 

I am currently delivering the Wuxi Conference Centre project. I have led the team from the competition stage through to construction phase. The project has topped out recently and is due to complete in 2023. The conference center was inspired by the Wuxi people and their local culture, fostering a sense of ownership and pride in them of this new city landmark – which includes a shopping mall, hotel, and offices. The client is very satisfied with our team and we have just won a new project with them.

Now being part of the big Ramboll family, we are a truly multidisciplinary company with our capabilities spanning across architecture, landscape, urbanism and complementing engineering disciplines. I see that we are well positioned to win more exciting projects which will enable more challenging and rewarding careers ahead.

Render of the Wuxi Conference Centre project. Image credit: Ramboll

Trust, ownership and flexibility 

My technical and language skills have given me the advantage to thrive in our company, however, without the trust and support from my managers, I probably wouldn’t have come this far. They give me the resources and support to handle things independently and communicate with clients – this is how I learnt things quickly.

Since I started to have management roles, I consciously tell myself to learn from my managers so that I can help young colleagues grow their careers. It’s important that we know our colleagues well, where they are passionate about, what strengths and weakness they have, so that we can assign tasks to them in the most rewarding way. We need to support them but also give them the space and let them take ownership. It will be out of our comfort zone from time to time, but that’s where we grow the most.  

We give a lot of flexibility to our team members as well. This is of course based on trust. The flexibility to work from home and adjust my working hours to suit my needs is very helpful, in particular during the pandemic. Flexibility is also allowing me to make the judgement call on how to manage my time and my team to suit the project requirements. For me having the flexibility is also a learning opportunity for me as I learn how to prioritise the tasks I need to manage, a key skill to have as I advance my career.  

Three words to describe what working for Ramboll is like

If I use three words to describe how it feels to work at Ramboll, it will be exciting, challenging and welcoming. 

The projects are exciting vehicles to hone our technical skills and develop our careers. The projects are also challenging which is how we get out of our comfort zones to develop further. Asia Pacific is an exciting and fast growing market. As we put more focus on the market, we are sure to see more exciting projects in our portfolio and to learn new things and development careers. 

There is a very strong family feel. Colleagues are very nice, warm and welcoming to new team members. Different ideas and perspectives are also very welcome. I love working here.