My time at The Hoffman Agency was regretfully short-lived, but so full — impactFUL and meaningFUL, that is. It represented a turning point in my career — from meeting the most amazing people and picking up important lessons in leadership, to learning the true art of storytelling.
I joined the Singapore team in 2009, and while I did not manage to meet Lou during my time at the agency, I had the pleasure of being mentored by then General Manager Mayda Jutahkiti and the PR legend, Maureen Tseng (Mo). I was also surrounded by genuine and warm colleagues — many of whom I have become friends with, and we’re still in touch. Many times, the people working in the background are forgotten, but one can never forget Janice Wang, the Singapore office manager. She was (and still is) a force to be reckoned with — from keeping our finances in check (a tall order, I’m sure most would agree) to regularly organising team activities. Janice was (and I’m sure she still very much is) the backbone of the Singapore office — without her, we’d just be a bunch of (talented) consultants running amok.
Back then, we were based in our Burlington office (nothing fancy like many PR agencies in Singapore today), but I loved it! We were located right next to Sim Lim Square (a heaven for tech geeks), and that resulted in many tech as well as business journalists popping by our office just to say hi or to grab a cup of kopi (added bonus!). There was also a lot of amazing food nearby — simply walk 200 metres in any direction and you could find something delicious. It was no surprise that our team always bonded over good food (dim sum at Victor’s Kitchen and the crazy spicy Tom Yum Fish Soup downstairs were our favourites).
During my first year at Hoffman, I was in the midst of completing the last semester of my bachelor’s degree. Mayda and Mo were very supportive of this and even offered “study leave” during examination periods. Coincidentally, two other colleagues were also graduating from the same university that year, and Mayda and Mo organised a lovely graduation party — including drinks, good food, cake and balloons (there’s no celebration without cake!). In fact, we always had something or other to eat, drink and be merry for — that’s just how we rolled!
As with any kind of consulting work, one would also have a variety of good and not-so-good clients. I was lucky enough to have dealt with clients who understood Hoffman thinking and valued our strategic counsel. In fact, some of them are now friends and people I look to for advice regularly.
However, it wasn’t luck that built successful campaigns for our clients — mad skills, team work and sheer determination did. That’s the true spirit at Hoffman — it’s all about the people. Congratulations to everyone at the agency across the world and to all those who contributed in some way or another — Happy 20th Hoffman Asia Pacific. Here’s to many more anniversaries ahead!