ACU alum tells about her PR career

Abilene Christian University graduate and deputy managing director of the Lotte Group in South Korea, speaks during the 20th Anniversary Gutenberg Celebration at ACU's Bob and Shirley Hunter Welcome Center on Thursday, October 18, 2012. Chin was also honored during the event for her work in public relations.

Distinguished Abilene Christian University alum Lovey Chin gave a luncheon talk Thursday that was chock-full of advice on how to succeed in the PR business while really, really trying.

Chin was guest speaker before the Abilene Public Relations Organization at ACU's Hunter Welcome Center. Hours later she was to accept the university's prestigious Gutenberg Award. This accolade recognizes distinguished professional achievements of graduates of ACU's Journalism and Mass Communication program.

Chin, a 2000 graduate of ACU, also spoke at that dinner at the Welcome Center.

"Be very clear about the company you want to work for," Chin told her audience of about 30, many of them students.

Her own example: As an ACU freshman she read in Fortune magazine that General Electric was the most admired company in the world. This stirred an unshakable resolve in her that G.E. was the only company she would start working for. So she set out on a campaign of trying to snare an internship with the company, even though she'd been told it hired only Ivy League students.
In a campaign almost of attrition, the way she described it, Chin started calling every other day, and eventually a secretary she had repeatedly called, she wangled a promise of five minutes with a G.E. executive. Instead, he said he'd ask only one question: "Why should I hire you."

Laughingly, she said she wouldn't necessarily recommend her reply, but it worked.

"If you don't hire me, I will work for your competitor, and you will be sorry!"

Once her foot was in the door, Chin said, she made another resolve with herself, to perform the smallest task perfectly, whether it be making photocopies or brewing and serving coffee. She actually studied that best way to pour coffee, in addition to the best way to make the hot beverage, she said.

Her diligence and exacting standards swiftly led to greater responsibilities, and perks that she hardly thought possible for an intern, such as a fully furnished apartment cleaned every Monday.

The Singapore native currently works as Vice Managing Director of Global Marketing for Lotte Group — Dachong Communications in South Korea, a post previously unheard of for a woman and a person her age, she said.

Chin previously worked for Leo Burnett in Hong Kong working with Proctor & Gamble Greater China; J. Walter Thompson working with world-renowned clients such as Rolex, BMW, Macy's, Kraft, Unilever, Nestle, Dove, Hewlett-Packard and Nokia; MTV Networks Asia; American Express International; and General Electric for Asia Pacific.

Among her other advice:

Take leadership roles while in college. At ACU. she served as president of the international students organization, which strengthened her resume, she said.

"Figure a way to do things differently. Stand out from the crowd." Something that worked for her was sending her application package, including a CD, to the home address of the company official she was contacting, she said.

"Be nice to everyone." A huge Asian air show she once worked attracted 1,500 journalists, plus their camera and sound crew members, Chin related. She wrote follow-up letters to the journalists and their sound and camera people, she said. As a result, she gets stories for her clients published, even after the journalists move on. The sound and camera people bring their new journalists around to her, she said.

"Please pitch stories when you really have stories." The public relations person's job involves also educating clients about this. Pitching only legitimate stories builds crucial credibility, she said.

"Small details count." Chin recalled how appreciative journalists were at an outside event where temperatures were about 95 degrees, and she made sure they had iced water available.

Helping journalists with small details that help them file their stores quickly and accurately is very important, she said.

Embrace tasks that you don't find particularly enjoyable, but are necessary to get the job done.

Seek out mentors, and don't be afraid to approach them in a courteous, thoughtful way.

Travel a lot, because it opens your worldview.

Before embarking on a master of business administration program, work a few years. It not only provides a better perspective on the business world, it also enhances possibilities for financing the degree, such as employee-paid tuition and scholarships.

Own up to mistakes quickly. The words "I'm sorry" can work wonders, Chin said, (But don't make the same mistake twice, she added.)

Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself if you don't think you're treated fairly. If you don't, you'll likely miss out, she said.

By Jerry Daniel Reed
Photo: Eric J. Shelton/Reporter-News
© 2012 Abilene Reporter-News.
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