Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Second Coming Out

I haven’t blogged about PR or digital media in quite some time. Why? It could be due to a myriad of reasons from laziness to being busy to well, life, but after sitting down today and thinking about those whys, it dawned on me that I stopped blogging around the same time that I came out as gay. And, honestly, this made me sad.

I have always been an advocate for advancing minorities in the Communications industry, but when I was labeled with an LGBTQ sticker, I questioned what this meant for me professionally. Honestly, I don’t know many professionals who are openly gay therefore I assumed it wasn’t ‘ideal’ in this industry.

The reality of the situation is that I cannot decipher people’s personal opinions about gays. Therefore, I leave it out of general public discourse in social media and/or office talk. If they don’t know, they can’t crucifix me nor can they speak about me behind my back. I’m always wanted to be known for my drive, talent and passion, but in my mind, being gay put a wrench in that.

The sad thing is—I’ve always had mentors, people to steer me in the right direction whenever I was confused about what I wanted to do and what I wanted to learn. When I realized that I was gay – I abandoned the idea that those individuals would still be proud of me.

I know some people will tell me that I shouldn’t really bring this little tidbit about me in the professional arena – I mean, it doesn’t affect what I do, right? The silly thing is…if I did this, I would be a hypocrite because I have always been an advocate for minorities in this industry. I want to help cultivate a welcoming environment for future leaders (regardless of race, religion and sexual orientation) in the industry. The fact is this—if you look at the C-suite of most corporations, it’s riddled with white heterosexual males. Kudos for their success, but I want to do something about that. And, when I do…I want whomever to look at me and know that I’m proud of who I am and that I succeeded...they can too.

So, hello PR world, this is my second coming out—I’m gay and I’m a Communications professional. What do you think about this topic? I am curious to hear your thoughts, so please comment below or e-mail me at

*I am tentatively creating a group for students and professionals in PR/Advertising/Marketing/Digital who identify as LGBTQ. If you or someone you know is interested in helping, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hello--The Real World Isn't Easy. (Advice a year later)

So, I began my blog ranting about my job search when I attended a career fair close to a year ago, but I wanted to express how my perception has slowly changed (and it may take a few posts but here is the first).

I am now a senior AND I have 6 internships (gasp!), but more importantly, I am wiser than my rant in my younger years. In my first post, I spoke about being involved because I was in over 4 Asian American organizations, and it seemed like no one cared. Employers wanted concrete job experience instead of leadership experience. I was so flustered when I wrote about it. I thought to myself...what's up with that?

Well, from personal experience, I will say that organizational involvement, whether employers look at it or not, is a major tool for any student. In all my internships, I personally felt as if I did well because I knew how to handle myself.

Why? Because all of my previous experiences in organizations gave me the knowledge to handle pressure . Second, I could get along with ANYONE. I think this is one of the biggest assets I gained. I worked with different people all day. Additionally, getting involved with any organization teaches initiative. I am always looking at what I can do for my organizations and I think this translates to a job. In every job I have ever held, I always looked at what I can do for my client. In my opinion, you can't really teach that in a job setting.

So is that it? Students should join clubs because they will receive personal fulfillment? NO! Believe it or not, with the personal fulfillment, organizational involvement will also help you land an internship.

Once you land that interview, people will start asking about your involvement.Be truthful and you will be remembered.

So is that all I learned in a year?

Honestly, I am still angry at some aspects of the lack of diversity in PR, however I see that internships are key whether you are White, Black, Asian, or Latino. I was only thinking from my perspective, but employers need to be smart about hiring, so they want people with experience.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What is Diversity?

Every single time I am asked this question, I become irritated. I also get very bored rather quickly. Diversity? Are you serious?

I don't know if I am being arrogant, but I don't believe in an entire discussion about this question. It's archaic and a waste of time. It becomes a frilly mess. It becomes "I remember this time when..." Everyone claps. People cry. That is it. The end.

Um, what did that accomplish? Nothing. It is the easy way to discuss diversity--just put people together to talk. See? EASY! So, what should we do instead?

I think we need to put a little more effort into our talks.

First, spend less than 10-15 minutes speaking about the WHAT. We need to look deeper by examining case studies, experiments, and other factual information and draw them into the discussion. We need to be real! Experiences are nice, but once we arm people with facts, that's when things happen. Get with the picture folks. Some people may shake their heads because of individuals from homogenous environments, but they need to stop kidding themselves.

I know people are from small towns, but we need to stop babying them. Those initial 10-15 minute conversations will help out, and the conversation after will empower them. So, be a maverick in the diversity issue. Go past the diversity pow-wows and add something new.

I'm tired of going in circles. Aren't you?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hello--The Real World Isn't Easy.

I have preached about the importance of diversity in PR, but after a real time internship in the big Apple, my world has been rocked (or shaken) a little bit.

I know that people think that I have a naive notion of diversity existing in the world (not just in PR), but this is what I believed. However, for a brief 2 months, I have been thrown into the depths of business and its heart--money.

I have always heard individuals tell me that diversity exists when clients ask for diverse people, but in all honesty, I thought this was bullocks. I thought that diversity needed to occur from the inside in--as if we needed to be the change. It frustrated me when people didn't see it like I did--success=diversity.

Well, shucks--I may have been too young to grasp what everyone was saying.

In my perfect world, I was encircled by the world of academia (which I love) and learned theories about what makes good PR and I assumed that this was that. I assumed that everyone knew that logic stood in the side of diversity, but academia, in all its glory, isn't real life.

Business is about profit.

I guess I have been dealing with this issue for a rather long time now because if PR was about profit, then my point was mute. So I have been rather silent for a long period of time, but after rethinking, I came up with a new "enlightened" point of view.

It needs to start with teachers. (don't even roll the eyes)

Teachers, like many of my Grady professors, teach me in a way that I am confident in my abilities. They push me to want more than what I have. How does this relate to diversity?

Simple--empower diversity through students. The most succesful people I know are smart. They are smart because of their teachers and the encouragement they felt. Cliched? I know, but there is always truth in a cliche.

I am starting to see increasing numbers of minorities entering PR--now that they are choosing the major, the skills need to follow.

So, what can you do? Mentor, teach, and be a support. It doesn't matter if you are still college (there is still someone that needs help) and it doesn't matter if you are a CEO (you still need to learn from younger people)--be cognizant of your role in the bigger picture.

Business is driven by profit--we can make diversity profitable if we support the professionals below and above us. It isn't a game to get to the top--it's making our industry better by doing something now.

So, students--
1. Find a mentor.

And, proffesionals & teachers--
1. Find a mentee

You can't surf unless someone teaches you. And you won't get better until you teach.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hello, I am an Asian American.

So, if you haven't noticed, I have been gone, and that is putting it lightly. I thought long and hard about why I was feeling like this. Why was I being a baby about blogging? I used to love venting about the social injustices related to diversity disparities within OUR industry and getting feedback, but in a short time frame, I began to slowly lose that fire. Why?

So, it took me close to half a year to figure out, but I think I have it. I am Asian American, and I am in PR. First, I am really trying to be introspective about this, so please note, that I am still a youngster learning about identity while trying to grow as a proffesional.

So, I recently called a man who was Asian and in California and (gasp!), he practiced PR. During the duration of our conversation, he mentioned the difficulty to recruit Asian students to think about PR let alone practice it. Then it hit me, if it's hard in California, imagine the nation. I don't mean to dote on the facts that we are a minority, but it sucks that we are the minority of the minority and no one seems to care.

I have seen staggering facts about how Asian Americans have one of the biggest buying powers in the country, yet the investment related to the fact is almost miniscule. Hispanic and Black PR professional organizations are outnumbering Asian ones at astronomical rates. i am not sad that Hispanic and Black organizations related to PR are growing, I'm just asking, where are all the Asians at?

So, why am I complaining? As sad as it is, I feel alone in this industry at times.

I just wanted to write this blog entry because I don't want people to think that I am merely forgetting about diversity issues in PR. It is far from that. I am just taking time to learn what I need to do to feel empowered to make difference, and not just regarding Asian American issues related to PR but diversity issues as a whole.

So with that, I am back. I hope you didn't forget about me too easily.

Tell me your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Answer to Diversity

I posed a question last week and the answer is....

The answer is 2.

Well, the answer isn't as easy as a math problem, but there are ways to increase awareness about diversity without overdoing it to the point that you are too overzealous and in return, you aren't accomplishing your goal.
Oh, and before beginning, I want to say that this is my opinion. I want everyone to know that I am no expert nor do I teach diversity topics. I am just a student with personal experiences.

So drumroll please...

Well, the answer lies in communication. Let us face it, when faculty, staff, or other individuals hear the term "diversity", they think that they are going to be corralled into a diversity workshop where they "learn" about diversity. This creates a problem. People hate being told to do something that they don't really feel the need to do. Moreover, the 'workshop' is repeated every year, and it kinda gets old, therefore, look at a different tactic.

One way is through a newsletter. Many companies and organizations have it, but they don't utilize it in terms of diversity. Showcase the diverse people in your organization and not just because they are black or white, but because they are unique (they like to knit or are vegan). As time goes one, you will incorporate ethnicity, nationality, etc. This creates a culture in your organization. How? Everyone becomes part of the term diversity. No one is excluded, but moreover, it engages the whole community to talk about diversity.

The second way is to do pro bono work for organizations that are in need of your help. Poverty-ridden areas often need to most help with PR, but they do not have the money to spend. Helping them in turn helps you because you get employees outside of the corporate bubble. They learn therefore they grow therefore your company grows. Moreover, real diversity experience is the best way to teach diversity. Working with the lower socioeconomic section of your town will open your eyes as well as your perspective.

The third thing is hiring. Be truthful. Look at your company. Is there a lack of diversity? If so. look at recruitment in Historically Black Colleges or talking to the multicultural office at a university to have the opportunity to speak about your company. There are talented minority students as well, they just need to be found.

These three tips are not a panacea to the diversity problem in a company, but they are some tips that I have witnessed to work. Try them out-I bet you will see a difference soon.

On a side note, does diversity cost money?

Monday, February 9, 2009

I'm Back! (with a new question)

So, as all of you might have noticed, I have been on a hiatus of sorts (like I can even deny it, right?), however this mini-vacation was a sort of evaluation on what we need to discuss.

The past few posts have been about diversity as a separate issue from everything else. Let's face it, I have ostracized it, but in all honesty, it is an issue that is dealt with separately all too often, however I want to discuss diversity as a subject that is inter-related with other aspects of PR. I want to pose this question to you- can we have a discussion about PR and diversity in a larger scope or do we need to separate the issue all together?

I really want answers. Why? Well, I want to discuss this because of the economic situation. The less corporations and agencies have in the budget, the less they are willing to spend on 'diversity' related aspects of the company. Diversity, sadly, is at the bottom of the priorities of management. So what? Well, I want to think of ways to integrate the discussion, but I want to hear from you. What do you think? Are diversity-talks doomed to abstract ideas that we go over once or can we incorporate it in the culture of a company?

I'll post my thoughts next week.