A Passion to
Lola Zhang’s zeal for protecting the planet began when she was a high-school student in Yushu, China. Sandstorms would rip through the area, inspiring Zhang to do something.
She majored in environmental science and got her master’s degree from Dalian University of Technology, where her favorite class was chemistry. After graduating, she began to work in China’s automotive supplier industry, joining Magna in 2017.
“I know what kinds of chemicals pollute the environment,” said Zhang, the health, safety and environment program manager based in Shanghai for Magna China Corporate. “I use my passion for the environment to help divisions reduce pollution during operations. I’m making a difference because I focus on the solutions, not the problems.”
Her duties include plant inspections, where her keen eye can spot even seemingly minor concerns that can lead to best-practice recommendations.
Recently, Zhang toured a Magna division in China where she noticed some small stains on the floor near where electric forklifts were being recharged. She realized acid inside of the batteries was leaking due to overcharging. Her recommendation: install timers on the battery chargers to prevent the problem. Before leaving the factory, she took pictures of the floor and the forklifts with her iPhone, and later shared the information with her team and other divisions.
“Every time I confront a difficulty, the first thing that comes into my mind is how to fix it,” she explained.
Protecting the health and safety of Magna employees is another key part of her job, one that has been focused on the COVID- 19 pandemic in the past year.
“My reaction was to gather knowledge and guidance about COVID-19 and share it with the team,” Zhang said. “I also called the divisions and asked, ‘What do you need?’ We gave them guidance on how to disinfect, wear masks, what to do with the plant canteens and more. The foundation of Magna’s approach was prevention. And it worked. We have a stable situation in China today, but we still need to be cautious.”
Her passion for the environment extends to her home life and vacation time. When she travels, she doesn’t use the toiletries or slippers provided by the hotel. She brings her own in order to save resources and packaging.
Her down time often involves enjoying nature and animals. In Zhang’s apartment are two colorful renderings of elephants and giraffes that she brought back from a trip to Tanzania with friends.
“During the trip we slept in an ‘eco’ tent that is moved frequently to minimize the impact on the environment,” she said. “The highlight was getting to see a newborn wildebeest as it stood for the first time. It made me realize we can’t take nature for granted. We must appreciate what we have. My job is to help our company and our colleagues understand how important it is to protect the environment.”
It made me realize we can’t take nature for granted. We must appreciate what we have. My job is to help our company and our colleagues understand how important it is to protect the environment.
Lola Zhang, Health, safety and environment program manager based in Shanghai for Magna China Corporate preparing New Years gifts for children from poor families.
Lola Zhang, Posing with her paintings from Tanzania