Free time on a given weekend in Peggy Chen’s Californian home will likely find her engaged in creative problem solving.
“At the moment, I'm on the verge of mastering the French macaron!” she says. “Macarons are one of the most sensitive foods to make as it demands precision. Even the weather makes a difference because they’re very sensitive to moisture.”
“There's a science to it – from the temperature of the egg whites, to picking the right flavour ingredients, to calibrating your oven so the cookie will bake just enough to stand up and not be dried out. But there’s an art to it too – precisely piping the macarons so they are the same shape, tinting it to the right color, and pairing it with the perfect filling. There’s definitely a lot of variables to get right – but that’s part of the fun.”
Chen’s drive to solve complex problems has propelled her since before her career even began.
Growing up in California, her parents owned a multi-national company that designed and built PCs. “During the summers I worked at the office in Taiwan,” she says. “I did a lot of translating and content reviews for marketing collateral, and wrote and edited technical documentation for them. I’d sit with them, asking ‘What is it you want to say?’ and then I would write all of the English copy, and build the website for them.”
After completing her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chen went on to Oracle, where she started as a Group Product Manager for Mobile & RFID before progressing to Product Marketing Director of the WebCenter division. Fourteen years later, she joined SDL.
“Macarons and global content marketing are so similar in some ways. There’s an art and a science to both, and it requires using the left and the right brain. There’s so much complexity, but when it’s done well, the results are immediate. I’m not really sure which is more fun.”