2013 marks the 20th anniversary of my career in corporate communications and it will also mark a new beginning when I start my new job as part of SMRT’s corporate communications team.
Looking back, here are some things I have learnt so far:
- Edelman Public Relations Worldwide – Here, I picked up the basics of corporate communications as well as the importance of ethics and authenticity in communications, and part of that is believing in the clients you service. I remember one company wide meeting was called to decide if the company should accept a tobacco company as a client. In the end, we took the client, but people who objected, including myself were excused from servicing the account.
- Citigate Dewe Rogerson i.Mage – I figured out very quickly that I did not enjoy financial relations and very quickly moved on to healthcare and technology clients.
- Asia PR.comz – This job gave me more than a front row seat into the world of dotcoms before the bubble burst in 2000. My role expanded to include strategic business consulting and I worked very closely with dotcom clients to ensure their businesses run smooth. We even had to confront one client when i discovered that they plagiarized not just a business concept, but everything down to the logo and look and feel of the web portal.
- Techspace Asia – I started the consultancy with a friend because the quality of most PR agencies at that time has dropped drastically after many senior consultants had left the agencies for dotcom jobs and never came back after the bubble burst. Here I learnt self discipline. I was really hard to run my own business and manage my new-found freedom at the same time. One thing we did to help the discipline was in the location of our really cheap office – on top of a bar in Chinatown, which was sandwiched between two brothels. That helped us ensure we get out of the office each day before 5.30 pm everyday!
- Canon Singapore Pte Ltd – I learnt not to waste my weekly face time with the President. It was an opportunity to make subtle changes that will boost the morale of the fellow employees. One day in every month, the employees received something special – a balloon, a chocolate bar, an ice cream voucher…
- UPS Asia Group – With UPS, I returned to my first job at Edelman, where UPS was one of my clients. At UPS, I learnt the importance of leaving a legacy. Jim Casey may have been dead for years, yet his founding spirit can still be felt in the way the company is being managed. He was such an advanced thinker that many of his ideas are way ahead of his time, yet it did not hold him back in implementing them in the company – from philanthropy to sustainability to employees becoming owners of the company.
For the people who have been involved in my previous jobs, thank you for guiding me along. Looking ahead, I am exciting my new challenges and learnings. Thank you everyone.