Michelle Cronin-Bruce: I’m a naturally curious person so I always enjoy observing other people’s cultures and social norms.
It’s true that hard work, talent and experience are important to help secure a job. But it’s curiosity which is the catalyst to help us go further. It fuels innovation to tackle challenges and create opportunities for us to progress, potentially turning ordinary jobs into successful careers.
Moving to Hong Kong 12 years ago, Michelle Cronin-Bruce is an experienced marketing professional. Despite her work experience, she’s never complacent and has a curious mind – the engine that drives her to seek answers and learn new ideas.
She recently shared how she turned into a Hongkonger with Advance.
Interview by Tammy Lee, Marketing & Communications Officer, Advance
What made you move to Hong Kong?
We moved to Hong Kong in 2007 after my husband’s company at the time offered Asia placements for their teams. We went on a “go-see” trip to Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong and just fell in love with Hong Kong. We came for a two-year posting and nearly twelve years later we are still here.
You’ve worked across a number of industries from banking, retail, property development and more recently marketing to ultra-high net worth clients. Which of those industries did you enjoy the most and why?
I enjoyed them all for different reasons. At JP Morgan I led a team across Asia for the first time, which gave me great exposure and training in working across multiple cultures and time zones.
At Indigo Living I led a marketing and creative team in the Middle East, which was a new market for me to understand and explore.
At Taubman Asia I spent a great deal of time in China and Korea working with Joint Venture partners, which was at times challenging but overall rewarding to see a retail development come to life from a blank page.
Lastly at Quintessentially, I got to understand ultra-high-net-worth clients’ expectations and behaviours – I learnt a lot!
I’m a naturally curious person so I always enjoy observing other people’s cultures and social norms. I’ve met some great people throughout my time working abroad.
What's the most and least interesting parts of your job?
Understanding customer behaviour has always been fascinating to me. I love to find out why people behave the way they do – whether it be to engage, purchase or respond in a certain way.
Budgeting and managing finance is my least favorite aspect of my role but completely necessary to manage marketing of course.
What are the main differences between Sydney and Hong Kong's work cultures?
Hong Kong never sleeps and being on evening or early morning calls is the norm if you have a US or European headquarters. It’s a 24/7 environment – I once had a US meeting scheduled for 3am Hong Kong time and I was a presenter!
What was it about Hong Kong that attracted you?
Hong Kong offers a great location for travelling and exploring the region. We’re a few hours flight away from most Asian major cities and just that much closer to Europe or the US than Australia. It also offers affordable childcare options for working parents and we are fortunate enough to be able to employ home help. That fact is a major drawcard for working parents, especially with younger children.
Having spent 12 years living in Hong Kong, how much of a “Hongkonger” are you?
I would say very! Being a permanent resident makes me feel even more connected to the city. I care about local issues and follow government policy and development for the city. Having said that, I’ll always be Australian.
If you could change one thing about Hong Kong, what would it be?
More green spaces where children and families can play. Hong Kong also has a long way to go in cleaning up its walking trails and oceans of discarded waste and plastic. Easily accessible recycling has improved since we’ve been here, but the city needs to educate its residents and young people about caring for the environment.
What do you miss most about Australia?
See above – green grass, blue skies, clean oceans and of course my family and friends. Oh, and lastly, great coffee!