If Edelman China President Mark Hass had one piece of advice to give to young college students of today, he would say ” to be open to the unexpected, and …[to be] alert to opportunity and happiness, even if they are not in the form you once expected.”
Hass’ untraditional climb to the top of the PR ladder serves as a reminder for the thousands of college 20-something hopefuls who are wary about their less predictable professional future.
Wanting to do something good for the world, Hass graduated college and began his career as a journalist back when “regional dailies in the U.S. were practicing aggressive and meaningful journalism”.. A believer of the words written on the sides of old newspaper buildings, that “ journalism should be a troubler of the public conscience…[that] it should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable…”, Hass chose the field because he believed it was the best way he could have an impact on society and make the world a better place. Following graduate school, Hass started at a medium-sized daily paper making his way up before ending his career as senior editor at the Detroit News, where his staff won a Pulitzer prize.
After 15 years as a reporter and editor, Hass became intrigued by the potential of the internet and wanted transferred his passion for news into understanding this new communication medium. As no jobs at the time allowed Hass to leverage his journalistic skills into exploring the internet, Hass founded Hass Associates 1994 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a company which helped large organizations with their internet communication. Hass’ interest came at an opportune time as interest in the internet grew, large companies such as Toyota, Daimler Benz and Chrysler hired Hass to help them figure out how to use the internet to attract consumers. Without having planned it, Hass entered the field of public relations.
Eight years later, global PR firm Manning Selvage and Lee acquired Hass’ company and appointed him CEO for six years where the PR firm saw profits more than double and branches expand to 25 more locations around the world. Hass left the company in 2008 to once again, start another company, this time called MH Group Communications, which specializes in improving corporate communication and stakeholder engagement though digital media.
Long-time friend Richard Edelman was looking to expand Edelman’s presence in the Asian market. With little experience in China business, Edelman lured Hass to what he called “ an irresistible offer” to manage Edelman China in February 2010. While skeptics pointed out that Hass did not have any background working in China, Edelman dismissed these claims saying that Hass’ entrepreneurial mind and success in managing over $100 million corporation is just what Edelman needs to thrive in China’s dynamic economy. Mark Hass Communication is now integrated with Edelman Digital and Hass acts as President of Edelman China.
As the economy and fast-paced changes in journalism leave college students apprehensive about their less predictable career path, a look at Hass’ path to Edelman China serves as a prime example of a person who succeeded by having faith, following their gut and being open to opportunities that arise—a realistic but open state of mind any college graduate should adopt when pursuing a dream career.
Read what Mark Hass’ insights on business and communications in China at http://www.dispatchesfromchina.com/ or follow him on Twitter @MarkHass