Employee Perspectives

5 Things an Executive Director Can Learn From an Associate

By: Stephanie Wong, Junior Creative 

Golin Hong Kong introduced a new leadership training initiative which goes against the traditional office training aptly known as ‘The Upternship’. The Upternship is a four-month program which sees the best of junior talent teach established, experienced leaders how to understand social behaviors, communication methods and values of a younger generation.

My name is Stephanie Wong, a junior creative at Golin HK, and one of the first Goliners to experience “The Upternship” with my fellow co-worker Stephen Millikin, Executive Director of Consumer Practice.

Despite the stresses of living in bustling Hong Kong (HK), I was raised in a modest working-class family that valued creativity and uniqueness. I found a love for advertising when I attended university, which led me to move to London where I spent two years developing my passion for music, film and art.

WhenGolin HK hired me as a creative, I got the opportunity to participate in “The Upternship” with Stephen, who has extensive experience running some of the most luxurious brand campaigns. Stephenwill be the first to tell you that he’s not the youngest person by age in the office, but he’s definitely the youngest at heart.

Pairing up with Stephen was nothing short of amusing, memorable and entirely worth it. Check out a few things I taught Stephen.

1. Local Media Landscape

Coming from NY, Stephen is familiar with outlets like The New Yorker or Page Six, for news and lifestyle content. So, I first introduced Stephen to the everyday media landscape of a local Hong Konger: Apple Daily for news and updates; NewMonday and JetSo are great for lifestyle content.

2. A Sense of Local Humor

Everybody loves a good laugh, and Hong Kongers are no exception ­– especially when it comes to local political issues. While Western media tends to show political late-night shows or comic strips, local Chinese media opts for memes and magazines published on 100 Most, and after a few quick translations, Stephen caught onto our sense of humor.

3. Where to Get The Best Dim-Sum

After finding out that we’re both huge foodies – and that Stephen endured years of unauthentic dim sum in NY – I decided it’s never too late for some food education. In HK, lunch is a valued part of the day and people take the time to have a hearty meal before heading back to the office. My next stop was to show Stephen some dim sum hotspots and indulge in local delicacies like quail egg siu mai and cheung fan.

4. The Perfect Place for a Break

Despite not having Central Park, Hong Kong has plenty of parks and hiking trails. Although we didn’t manage to tick off the notorious Twin Peaks hike, we took a quick stroll through Victoria Park for some R&R time.

5. The Art of the Selfie

HK ❤️’s influencers – and one of the best places to understand them is Instagram. So over bubble tea, I showed Stephen top Hong Kongese influencers and how they score thousands of likes. Who knows, Stephen may have what it takes to be the next big influencer.

I had an amazing time teaching Stephen about my culture and showing him my beautiful city of Hong Kong. Spending time with Stephen made me realize how important our combined experience is to succeed in the public relations industry because it helps bring a more clear perspective of our audience, our market and approach. I’m grateful to have experienced “The Upternship” at Golin HK.

Here’s what Stephen had to say on his Upternship experience:

“Taking part in the Upternship with Stephanie was fantastic. Firstly, I gathered a stronger understanding of the local media from her. As a father of two beautiful girls, a seven-year-old and a three-year-old, I’m certainly in touch with the younger generation in some ways—but I still need more help finding out what makes those pesky millennials tick, what media they love and what really sparks their minds. Especially when it comes to our local and regional clients, the type of insight I gained from Stephanie is invaluable. Lastly, it’s good to know there’s always a friend in the office, whenever I need help with translations, restaurant advice for clients and friends or general chit-chat—Stephanie is my go-to person within the office. All in all, this was a one-of-a kind learning experience which I will certainly treasure.”