Industry groups lose two as external opportunities beckon

Feb 16, 2022 at 02:44 pm by admin

Two of the personalities behind news media’s biggest member organisations are leaving the industry for new challenges.

WAN-Ifra Asia director Joon-Nie Lau – a lawyer by training and member of the Singapore Bar – has returned to law as deputy chief executive of a Singapore legal centre, while INMA membership and sponsorship director Kris Williams is joining Texas-based Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association as executive director.

Lau’s replacement will be Singaporean Kah Whye Lee, who previously headed Reuters’ Asia-Pacific media business, having entered the industry through Times Publishing Group’s international printing division. Most recently he ran his own media consulting and research firm.

Williams’ departure at INMA has prompted a “shuffling” of membership and sponsorship responsibilities, with project manager Brooke Dillier – who was the association’s membership and marketing manager from 2005-2006 – becoming membership director.

Customer relations manager Dori Trujillo becomes membership engagement manager – with responsibilities including sponsorship management – while Marni Drew joined INMA in January as marketing communications manager after time with Matthews International and Ecova.

Kris Williams worked in membership and communications management for the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Association for Respiratory Care prior to joining INMA. She was presented with a framed mock-up of the website celebrating her ten years with the organisation, at a farewell lunch in Dallas.

INMA executive director and chief executive Earl Wilkinson said she had made an invaluable contribution to INMA’s growth in the past decade, as one its longest-tenured employees.

Based in Irving, Texas, the EMRA represents resident physicians-in-training in emergency medicine.

Joon-Nie Lau told GXpress she looked forward to reconnecting with former law school classmates and industry contacts, who are now senior members of the profession.

She covered the evolution and digital transformation of the legal system and profession, and emergence of arbitration and mediation in Singapore extensively as a law and technology reporter.

“I remain linked to the media industry through my volunteer, mentoring and advisory roles at the Singapore Press Club, Asian American Journalists Association, Hacks/Hackers Singapore and Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film & Media Studies,” she said.

She joined WAN-Ifra in 2016. During seven years at Nanyang Technological University’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, she had four years as assistant director of Newsplex Asia. Her pioneering career also included time with MediaCorp News which she first joined in 1998 as an interactive producer, from its predecessor the Television Corporation of Singapore. She is vice-president of the Singapore Press Club.

Her successor, Lee Kah Whye holds an engineering degree from the National University of Singapore, to which he has recently returned to complete programmes in digital marketing, market research, and data analytics and coding

He said it was “a real privilege” to have the opportunity to contribute “in a meaningful way” to an industry in which he had spent 30 years. “I’m truly humbled by the confidence and trust that WAN-Ifra’s management has placed in me in leading the APAC team,” he said.

Chief operating officer Thomas Jacob said Lee’s leadership would provide “further momentum” to efforts to support the industry in its transformation to sustainable businesses.

For both organisations, roles have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with “live events” giving way to virtual ones and reducing much of the face-to-face contact which previously went with the job.

Pictured (top left): Joon-Nie Lau at Hong Kong airport with journalist Yuzuha Oka – who she mentored under an AAJA Mentor Match programme – following the AAJA's N3Con conference in 2019


Sections: Newsmedia industry


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