WHEN MY CLIENTS ask me why they should engage with Asia, we talk maths. I tell them about the numbers of potential end users they could be dealing with.
I give them raw data from reliable sources. We discuss opportunities, both real and prospective. We teleconference with potential partners. We brainstorm. We aspire. All this in the name of improving trade, of extending brands and values into new markets and of developing new partnerships. Brain surgery it is not. Future-proofing it is.
And this is exactly what I tell my Asia Literacy students at Albany Senior High School (ASHS) where I am an Asia Literacy Ambassador: that Asia is our future; that unless we harness our proximity to Asia and start developing meaningful relationships now, we’ll miss the boat. That living and working in the Asian zeitgeist is possibly one of the most exciting things they could possibly do with their lives.
Being an Asia Literacy Ambassador is about forging a partnership between my business, Hanson Executive Management (HEM) and high schools in the Great Southern region of Western Australia so as to “stimulate and increase student and school community demand for Asia literacy.” What? In common parlance, that means helping students to think about Asia as part of their future.
Here’s the official blurb: “This project enables the establishment of meaningful, long-term partnerships between skilled professionals (Ambassadors) and secondary schools across Australia. Ambassadors volunteer their time to assist school communities to better understand the diverse career and life opportunities available to employees who are knowledgeable about Asia and have the skills and dispositions needed to effectively engage with the people and cultures of Asia, offshore and domestically.”
So there you have it. HEM’s Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy is all about helping drive the local economy in a northerly direction. I do this because it is important for my business to give back the community that supports us and because I want local kids to think about life beyond national boundaries and local preconceptions.
What ASHS year 11 + 12 media students did as part of their Asia Literacy project was this. They were tasked to produce a print-ready story for publication in a luxury/high society magazine in SE Asia. They formed three groups and produced (researched, wrote, edited and designed) full-length feature stories on collecting; green luxury cars; and hot trends. What they produced will be in print soon and as soon as it is I will post a link. You’ll be surprised what nine students from country WA can come up with and I’ll give you the heads up: they did a better job than some of the journalists I have hired over the years.
So look out for these fantastically talented Albany-based kids. They’ll be featured here soon. And look out Asian tigers. They’re on their way to you.