Many Facets, One Life: The Story of Mary Li - Part II

In this chapter of "Many Facets, One Life: The Story of Mary Li" we continue on our journey in unraveling Mary's story and the events that led her to Mystifly.  

ASLAN started with a small yet strong team. Everyone knew the part they played, but they did not shy away from crossing domains. "Everyone was a champion in their own right," says Mary. "One time we were traveling by train and were headed to a roadshow. We were all tired, but I could hear one of my colleagues practicing her speech for the event. She kept practicing until she was confident. I was awestruck by her commitment." 

Signing of agreement of acquisition, 2014.

The team drew inspiration from each other's energy and soon ASLAN gained the attention of the Chinese Travel Industry. In many ways, ASLAN was the first of many things – it was the first company Mary founded, it was the first data-driven travel technology company in China, and it ranked first among air ticketing websites in China. It wasn't long before the growing travel-tech business caught the eye of Alitrip (Alibaba's online travel marketplace). Impressed by ASLAN's standing among travel businesses, Alitrip initiated a merger between the two giants. In 2014 Alitrip acquired ASLAN.  


Mary with her team at Alitrip

The union of businesses marked a new milestone in Mary's journey. She served as the ‘Head of Air Tickets' at Alitrip. As with every business she had been a part of, Mary strived for excellence. Under Mary's leadership, her team rolled out the very first mobile app platform for air ticketing in China. "I was very proud of my team," says Mary, while reminiscing about her tenure at Alitrip. "It is easy to dream, but it takes a lot of work and courage to make the dream a reality. The team worked day and night, they learned and implemented various processes. It was quite an achievement." 

Mary had accomplished great feats on the work front. Her proven leadership capability and knowledge of the Travel Industry was clear for all to see. But something was still amiss. "I realized I wasn't happy, I wasn't at peace," she explains. "Although my peers were reluctant to part ways, I knew my time at Alitrip had come to an end." On a search for peace, Mary packed her bags and set-out on an expedition across the globe. "I traveled to many countries," explains Mary. "I saw different places and faces, so many different cultures and beliefs. It opened my eyes to everything that I had been searching for." 

Mary was spending her time exploring different cultures, but her mind was on her next business venture. "I wanted to invest my experience and time in an organization," says Mary. "I combed through various start-ups. I visited companies and continued my search in vain." Mary's search for companies worth investing spanned across the globe. "I came across Mystifly while researching for start-ups in the travel realm," recalls Mary. "I flew down to India and visited the office. I met with Rajeev and found that we shared similar beliefs and ethics." Their alignment in vision and goal led Mary to decide to be a part of Mystifly. On March 31st 2018, Mary officially became Mystifly’s Co-CEO.  

Mary  with the Mystifly family

It was a fusion of the unmistakable potential that Mystifly housed alongside the culture and people that sealed the deal for Mary. "It was difficult at first because it's a whole new way of life here in India, but, the more I interacted with people, the more I imbibed the culture," she explains. "The people here make me happy. They make me want to improve and do better for them. That's always been an objective for me – to take the company to greater heights so the people can enjoy the value. I believe when the employees are happy, the company will profit." 

As with any change or addition to the leadership, there are always questions about the road map for the future. When asked, Mary responded with a calm yet confident answer, "In our industry, it is difficult to predict the future. It is difficult to say where we will be or what we will be doing because the landscape is constantly evolving. What does the future hold? I'm unsure. It could be Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain or something completely different. But, what I do know, and I am confident of this – we have a strong team that can rise to any occasion. I believe our Mystians are competent and can evolve with the changing scenario." 

From a housewife to a well-respected and renowned travel professional, Mary has indeed come a long way. But, what is the next step in her journey? "I have short-term plans for myself. Right now, I'm concentrating on improving myself and maintaining a healthy work-life balance," explains Mary. "I believe we all are a work in progress, and we should devote time to redefine and create a version of ourselves that we can be proud of." 

In closing, we asked Mary if there was anything that she would like to share with the women who find themselves seeking fulfilment outside their defined roles. She responded, "A woman is a delicate yet powerful being. She takes so much upon herself. She raises a family, maintains a home, and she puts her all in the workplace. There are so many facets to a woman, she should not let just one define her. I find women get so engrossed in building the lives of others that they forget their own. I understand what it is like to be responsible for another life; I have a daughter of my own. But, a woman must remember that she is also someone's daughter. As a mother, I would feel distraught if I saw my daughter unhappy. I think it is the same with every daughter and mother. If you want to be happy, you need to take care of yourself, love yourself and more importantly, never give up." 

We are truly honoured that Mary is at the forefront of Mystifly and are excited to witness the next wave of change that comes with her able leadership.