Mia Hemmi is an Account Director at Hakuhodo Inc, an integrated advertising and communication agency headquartered in Japan. She earned an Advanced Certificate for Executives in Management, Innovation & Technology (ACE) from MIT Sloan in 2016.
Where are you from, and what brought you to the US?
I am from Tokyo, Japan. My husband had relocated himself to participate in a program at Harvard starting in July (2016). At the time, I had been on a childcare leave, so I decided to join him in Cambridge to commit to an academic adventure.
Can you tell us a little bit about your professional experience and your role at Hakuhodo?
Hakuhodo is one of the largest advertising/marketing communications agencies in Japan. Our mission is to "Invent the Future" in partnership with our thousands of clients from governmental organizations to companies of countless industries, including media, to create new values and movements through branding work based on our "Sei-katsu-sha" (a Japanese expression of a holistic person--an individual with a lifestyle, aspirations and dreams, in contrast to "consumer") insight. Long story short, we do practically anything that relates to "communication," to leverage the value of ideas, products, and services at all business levels.
2017 will be my twentieth year at the Hakuhodo DY Group, and I have been in the Account Services Department (aka Client Services/Sales) through my entire career. We work as "producers" in the front-line as strategic consultants to clients, managing and facilitating all projects as leaders by aligning key staffs internally (market research, events/promotions, PR, creative, media, selected depending on project) and teaming with third-party potential supporters to provide the best solutions to clients. My clients are of industries including foods/beverages, retailers, airlines, online services, government, sport event organizers, etc., which all operate as global brands or international entities, so the work constantly requires the understanding of the global markets of the respective industries. Aside from the general domestic services, my forte has been in the Business Development area analyzing cross-cultural opportunities, supporting Japanese clients to build businesses in foreign markets, and foreign companies that build businesses in Japan. The experience has led me to examine the managerial and operational side of the businesses, and I have been fortunate to be able to participate in projects of multiples of industries at the hands-on level. I must say I was a total workaholic working 24/7, with business travels abroad two-thirds of the year, until my son was born.