Hsiao-Ching Chou is the Director of Communications at ISB. After earning her degree in journalism from the University of Missouri- Columbia, she completed an internship at the Denver Post, writing lifestyle pieces and occasionally food articles, drawing on her experiences growing up in the restaurant business. Eventually, she became the food writer for the Denver Post, and later the Seattle PI. It was her desire for a quieter lifestyle that drove Ms. Chou to start her own PR company.
When Ms. Chou's company was first starting up, social media didn’t carry near the weight it does today. Still, it’s something she has always found interesting and important. She emphasizes the importance of knowing how to use social media. She says all modern professionals “need to speak tech”.
Of making it in the world of communications, Ms. Chou says that if you make yourself a resource, media will begin to reach out to you. The most important thing, she says, is to build relationships. It doesn’t matter whether it is online or face-to-face; you never know when your connections will be useful. If you remain open to helping others and “pay it forward” it will come back around.
Coming in to her position at ISB, Ms. Chou had little familiarity with science and from the start knew she would have to think of creative ways to relate to scientists and use in-common concepts. She says that there are some researchers who are modest, and others who try to be in the public eye as much as possible. Those at ISB, she says, are of the former stock. While at times it can be frustrating when they don’t get the credit they deserve, she would choose what she calls “substance over style and flash” any day. She doesn’t believe in changing people to try to get press, and says that she is happy to “celebrate the substance”.
Any advice for future professionals? In the modern world, Ms. Chou tells us, “We all have to do a little PR for ourselves”.