‘PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES’
That’s what you’ll see in the ‘Future Career’ caption underneath my 8th-grade yearbook photo.
I have a strange feeling that the laws of attraction may have been hard at work 8 years later.
That’s when I landed my first job in the “real world”. As Attaché (fancy title for staff of an ambassador), I was aide to former African presidents. I kid you not — those larger-than-life individuals who make history…the type of history that makes textbooks….the very same textbooks that I had read not too long before.
I stepped foot on soil in far away places and experienced experiences I never imagined. Who’d ever thought that I’d be coordinating a press conference in Johannesburg, and then find myself sipping tea on the former Ghanian president’s estate in Accra that same day? Seriously.
Getting to do all of this as a 22-year-old, I felt like I was making in-roads to achieving Commander-in-Chief status, for sure.
YOU SOMETIMES GET OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN AND UNDERSTAND.
As a result of my experiences, I felt a connection to Africa’s promise and potential, and I still do to this day. In my studies, I was presented with both sides of the story – the good and the not-so-good. Then I got to see it with open eyes.
OFTEN TIMES, YOU DON’T.
Let’s be real, though. Not all of us are lucky enough to get the opportunities I did. As a result, we may associate Africa with only negative descriptors: corruption, poverty, greed.
I’m bringing all of this up for a reason, and it’s not to make you think I’m some big shot. Because I’m not. Nor am I motivated by the desire to influence perceptions about Africa, or segway into my plans for foreign policy if I do decide to run for president some day.
The point is that in life, opportunities may expose themselves. Opportunities to see new things. Opportunities to connect literally face-to-face with people in different lands separated by long stretches of ocean blue or even with those in the same community separated by differences in opinion. And these opportunities are package deals that offer even more opportunities for trust and understanding, seeing the world — and everything in it — differently.
Often times, these opportunities don’t expose themselves as easily, or at all. When this is the case, all of that trust and understanding tragically never see the light of day.
THAT SERVES AS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND JAICG.
Sometimes, we have to put forth effort to make it happen.
Our mission is to enhance trust and understanding between the public and the organizations that bring value to their lives. We’re exposing opportunities for both sides using public relations. Simple.
JAI IS A LAOTIAN WORD FOR HEART. JAI IS ALSO MY 11 YEAR-OLD NIECE.
In the PR world, we’re pretty much like my niece Jai — discovering new adventures and exploring them with the same tenacity and unrelenting curiosity she possesses. And with everything we do, having heart is a must.
As for a future presidential bid, anything’s possible. In the meantime, my team and I are focusing our hearts on effecting change and progress in another way: