Chairwoman of CIAT Advertising and Trade Fair JSC, Dr Doan Thi Kim Hong, has been recognised at home and abroad for her contributions to the country and society. Hong, who was Mrs Congeniality at the Mrs World 2005 Pageant in India, shared her thoughts with reporter Bao Lan on the eve of being presented Mrs World Orgnaisation's title " First Mrs World" this Wednesday.
|Hong autographs books and pictures as gifts for children. — Photo vnexpress
2012 was a year full of difficulties for enterprises. How did you and your CIAT Advertising and Trade Fair JSC overcome the challenges?
|Dr Doan Thi Kim Hong
As we all know, the shadow of the global economic downturn has affected Vietnamese enterprises. More than 50,000 enterprises in Viet Nam suffered bankruptcy or were dissolved. The number of enterprises to go bankrupt in the last two years was reportedly equal to the total over the previous 10 years.
The tightening monetary policy, which aimed to control inflation, led to a significant decrease in domestic demand, huge inventories and high interest rates, resulting in difficulties for enterprises in capital and production.
All of those things made 2012 a tough year for advertising enterprises. The same for the events industry which was organised to the utmost to lower expenses. Incomes of many enterprises dropped to 50 per cent of previous years.
As CIAT has five subsidiaries involved in advertising, event planning, domestic and international beauty contest organising, exhibitions and real estate, we also faced difficulties. However, the management board and I managed to overcome the problems by restructuring staff and rebalancing income and expenditure. As experts in event planning and advertising and marketing, we could save expenses to the maxium.
Besides, we adjusted our targets and focused on important ones to avoid waste while creating favourable conditions for the targets.
You were presented a Governmental certificate of merit for your contributions to promoting the beauty of ethnic groups and you became the first person to receive the "First Mrs World", not to mention the fact your company is going to receive the Order of Labour, third-class?
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to David Marmel, the President of the Mrs World Organisation, for holding the Mrs World Pageant, as well as all individuals and organisations in Viet Nam for supporting me to attend the contest in 2005 in India. I was awarded the title of Mrs Congeniality at that time.
The title has created many opportunities for me to work and contribute to my country. Work has been essential to my life. Every working day, I contribute to people and society. In return, I get affection and happiness from people around me.
Being a public figure and a successful businesswoman at the same time, what is the greatest thing you have gained from your work so far?
No matter whether I am a beauty or a manager, I always think that I should work passionately and enthusiastically. I always put all my heart and soul into my work.
I am sincerely thankful to everyone around me. They have worked and supported me loyally and whole-heartedly.
Events management is relatively new in Viet Nam. What's the potential?
In many countries, especially developed ones, marketing and advertising events has become important and integral to building trademarks of enterprises, products and social organisations. A successful event will bring a trademark to the public and help the company confirm its position in the market.
In Viet Nam, it is a new business. However, Vietnamese enterprises have paid more attention to trademark building in recent years. Besides, the economy is integrating widely and deeply into the global economy, urging us to be ready in all fields. Matching the business methods of foreign enterprises and international economic groups is essential. I believe that in the next 10 years or more, events will strongly develop and become an important strategy of all economic sectors, attracting all social classes.
Your company's business is all about organising beauty contests, investment promotion conferences and advertising events. What is your target in the long run?
For 15 years CIAT has been operating as a multi-sector company. It has confirmed its trademark in the market.
CIAT has been successful in organising beauty contests and through such events, we would like to look for outstanding people to represent Viet Nam at international contests, and then seek opportunities to promote our culture and history to foreign friends.
At trade promotion conferences with Vietnamese and foreign enterprises, I have been well recognised as a beauty contest winner. This has helped me create a bridge linking domestic and foreign enterprises so they can exchange experiences and opinions in managing businesses. This contributes to the economic development of Viet Nam.
You are also a jury member at other beauty contests. What makes a beauty contest successful?
I think success and glory are only for those who really dare to face challenges to confirm themselves. Sometimes they have to sacrifice and trade by their intellect and hard-work. Failure will come to those who do not know to treasure such values.
So to make a beauty contest meaningful, everyone, from the organisers to the contestants must compete equally and work with all their heart in the interests of the community and the society.
What are CIAT's plans this year?
In 2013, we will continue to promote the third Miss Ethnic Vietnamese Pageant, which will honour the traditional values and recognise the talent, intelligence and beauty of women from different ethnic groups, while affirming solidarity among them. We will also work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and localities to organise conferences and fairs to promote trade.
In the role of a beauty contest winner, I will continue to introduce and welcome international friends and investors to Viet Nam.
Also, I will co-ordinate with the Mrs World Organisation and other winners of the pageant to mobilise a charity fund under the aegis of the organisation to support poor women and children and those with disabilities. Also, I will join with the organisation in preparation for the Mrs World Pageant this year in China and will promote for Viet Nam as the location for the pageant next year.
How do you want people to see you, as a Mrs World or a businesswoman?
People can see me in whatever way they choose.
There is nothing to achieve without effort and challenges.
Though I have succeeded in managing CIAT, I always remind myself to continue to learn and contribute more to the community and keep my home and working lives stable and developed.
How do you balance between family and work?
As a society develops, people's needs also increase. As a result, it is more difficult for a modern woman to balance her family and her work.
Being a public figure does not let me out of my role as a woman in the family. My day starts with preparing breakfast for the family and driving children to school. I always spend one hour on yoga before spending the rest of the day at work. A well planned timetable and schedule helps protect my looks and health to work more for my family and company. — VNS