Lou and I have history and a friendship that goes back to the 1970s.
Lou, his brother Jerry and I wrestled in high school. Jerry and I were inseparable. Throughout wrestling season we were on strict diets. During the off-season when we could eat freely, chicken seemed to be the main food staple at the Hoffman house. Mrs. Hoffman (aka Ruth) took great pleasure in preparing chicken. It’s been nearly 40 years since I first ate dinner at the Hoffman’s house. Every time — without exception — that I’ve had the pleasure of eating with Lou or Jerry at their folks’ house over the last four decades, Ruth served her famous chicken. I suspect that had something to do with the inspiring title of this blog, “Chicken Rice for the Soul.”
Like Lou, I’ve always been adventurous. I started travelling recreationally at an early age. In fact, Lou, Jerry and I had our fair share of road trips, but that’s another story. As soon as I graduated from college — attended the University of Arizona with Lou and Jerry — I left Tucson and moved to Texas because we all know everything is bigger and better in Texas. As great as it was starting a career and raising a family in Dallas, I also wanted an international assignment. For me that meant going overseas. Living and working in a foreign land completely different from the United States seemed very exciting. Raising my kids in an international environment would also help them become more globally aware. Asia, here we come!
In 1997, several weeks after Great Britain handed the island country back to the Chinese, my young family and I moved to Hong Kong. Little did we know that our two-year assignment would turn into seven. It was a privilege to live and work in Hong Kong and travel extensively throughout Asia. The exposure to different customs, perspectives, sights, smells and sounds was life-changing for me and my family.
While I was in Asia, I was responsible for managing a large portfolio of businesses across Asia Pacific for a global IT services company. Because my employer did not have strong brand recognition in China, I needed a PR agency that could help raise our profile in the mainland. And I knew just the firm.
Lou and I stayed in touch after we graduated college. I knew that he had opened a PR agency and was growing its Asia presence. In fact, we’d catch up when he came through Hong Kong on his way to or from Singapore. In 1999, my team and I conducted a formal evaluation process and selected The Hoffman Agency to help us build awareness within our target market in China.
As you’ve heard, my connection to The Hoffman Agency goes beyond business. In fact, when my daughter Lindsey was looking for her first internship, we reached out to Lou to explore options at his firm. With that door opened, Lindsey interviewed and ultimately was hired as an intern at the agency’s Beijing office. This experience was instrumental in Lindsey’s career development. She eventually chose a career in International Development.
Although Lou and I correspond several times a year, we don’t see each other that often — it’s probably been about five years since we’ve gotten together. But recently when I was in town, Lou and Heather invited me out for dinner at a restaurant called “The Table.” It was great talking old times, though I couldn’t help but notice no one ordered the chicken.