Tan Sock Hwee recently departed her role as Asia-Pacific director of comms at logistics giant UPS to take up a position at the company's global HQ in Atlanta. She is four weeks into her new job as director of international comms.
It's a long way from Singapore to Atlanta. Any culture shock so far?
The hardest thing is that the weather has been very weird. The first week it was snowing so it's a situation we're not used to. In Singapore and Shanghai you live in apartments. Here, we are in a house. Just figuring out how to run an American home has been interesting.
Tell us a little about your new role.
This is a new role, as director of international comms. It's really so I can look at our comms needs outside the US, grow the brand and deliver that awareness outside the US. UPS is very well known in the US and weaved into the fabric of the society – it's my vision to make that happen outside the US too. Personally, I've always been curious about life in the US – I thought it would be a good opportunity to make the move. It's a good experience to move countries.
You used one agency, Ogilvy PR, across Asia-Pacific. In other regions you use a variety of agencies on a local market basis. Which approach do you prefer?
There are obviously benefits to having a network the way we did in Asia. That said, in terms of execution and collaboration, the other approach works for us in other parts of the world. We don't see it as something we need to change. That's how we've found it to work most effectively, by appointing agencies locally.
Name one thing Atlanta does better than Singapore, and vice versa.
I love shopping here. The variety of goods, the information you get about services and goods you purchase. The US is so developed as a consumer culture. You could be buying something from Target and still return it within a specific time – I love that. I miss the efficiency of Singapore – it is a place that runs like clockwork.
What is the one media channel you could not live without?
That's a funny question because we don't have an internet connection in my house. I thought I would die without Facebook, but I think I've survived in a way. I haven't had TV either. If I was all hooked up, aside from Facebook, it would be the New York Times online and the BBC online.