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Stephanie Sun
Director of Marketing and Communications at BGI Australia
Building from Scratch to Excel: Stephanie Sun’s Entrepreneurial Journey at BGI Australia

Dec 08, 2023

Stephanie Sun Stephanie Sun

“What really drew me to BGI Australia was the challenge of building something from scratch that has immense potential to leave a mark on people’s health and make a positive impact on society,” said Stephanie Sun, Director of Marketing and Communications at BGI Australia, reflecting on her motivation for joining BGI Australia seven years ago.


“Their [BGI Australia leaders’] down-to-earth demeanor, honesty, and willingness to share insights left a deep impression on me,” recalled Stephanie. It really didn’t take her long to decide to accept a position even though she was overqualified for it. She joined the company as a junior Marketing Coordinator in 2017, becoming the third staff member of the team.


Her entrepreneurial journey started with the expansion of the company. “Measuring the impact of marketing efforts is an ongoing puzzle that I enjoy solving, and the challenge lies in surpassing past successes with fresh and creative ideas,” she said.

image.pngStephanie (left) was at a local event ceremony.

One of BGI Australia’s business lines offers a wide range of agricultural genomics solutions, which are helping to drive both increased food supply and sustainable production. BGI Australia is involved in a five-year tree DNA horticulture project, which aims to make it easier to develop fruit trees and nut trees, such as avocados, mangoes, macadamias, almonds, and citrus fruit varieties, that are resistant to drought and disease. She feels a sense of pride in this project because it impacts 80% of the total volume of horticultural tree crop production in Australia, significantly contributing to local biodiversity and the economy.


In terms of human health, after a stringent process spanning over two years, BGI Australia’s testing laboratory achieved accreditation from the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) in 2022 to perform clinical Whole Exome Sequencing in Australia. This accreditation enables BGI to provide clinical sequencing services to identify possible disease-causing genetic changes, and expands the lab's services to a broader community. “The BGI Australia local staff are some of the highest quality I have worked with,” said Dr. Peter Kaub, a genetic pathologist and medical consultant to BGI Australia for clinical Whole Exome Sequencing.


“I am very proud of these projects because they demonstrate BGI’s commitment to benefiting society with genomics technology,” Stephanie said when asked about her feelings towards these accomplishments.

未命名文件 16.25.49.jpgGroup photo of Stephanie (center) with other BGI Australia members.

BGI’s commitment has helped gain the trust of world-renowned experts from various fields in Australia who have engaged in scientific research partnerships with BGI Australia over many years. These include cancer expert Dr. Ankur Sharma at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, agriculture professor Robert Henry at the University of Queensland, and Fellow of the Royal Society, Professor Rajeev Varshney at Murdoch University.


“When they [BGI staff members] work with a scientist or research institute, they work as true collaborators in terms of their data analysis, in terms of their interpretation,” said Professor Varshney in describing his collaboration with BGI Australia.


The hard work paid off. From being the third member of the team, Stephanie has witnessed and played a crucial role in the growth of BGI Australia into a strong team of over 40 members. A combination of “hard work, team cohesiveness, efficient management, a lean and agile operation, and team camaraderie and diversity” is the key to BGI Australia’s success, explained Stephanie. “Equally significant is the strong support we received from our headquarters, BGI Group.”


Apart from teamwork, she also attributes the success to the encouraging and friendly work environment the company provides. She finds satisfaction in continuously seeking solutions to the challenges in her work, refining her strategies for greater success. “It's these very challenges that enrich the journey and contribute to a sense of fulfillment along the way. These experiences are unique, and I couldn't have gained them elsewhere.” She is still on the learning curve, but each day new knowledge brings more clarity and insights into what strategies work and what might not.

图片 1.jpgGroup photo of the BGI Australia team event, celebrating the 24th anniversary of BGI Group.

Stephanie also admires the gender equality the company demonstrates.  “I feel that my performance is judged on its merits, and seeing many women in leadership positions in the company, including my manager, Dr. Bicheng Yang, is truly encouraging and inspiring.” These actions demonstrate our commitment to equal opportunities for all, irrespective of gender: “Our focus remains on fostering an inclusive environment where both men and women can thrive equally in leadership roles,” Stephanie said.


Family matters the most to Stephanie. Outside of work, she dedicates herself to her family and her 4-year-old son, who is on the cusp of starting kindergarten. She appreciates BGI Australia's policies for helping her balance work and family life. “BGI is a supportive and caring environment, and some of my colleagues have shared similar parenting experiences during our time at BGI. I feel like I truly belong here, which is a statement I don't make lightly.”


To future new members, Stephanie extends a warm welcome. “Your age, background, or work experience doesn’t define your journey at BGI. What matters most is your capability, hard work, open-mindedness, willingness to learn, and your desire to make a positive impact," Stephanie said.


"Our journey doesn't stop here; we are committed to pursuing further growth and reaching the next milestone,” she added.