Angie Hu is vice president of corporate communications for Synchrony. With a varied skillset across the spectrum of communications, Angie has a track record of bringing in top-tier media results and pathways for influential thought leaders to share their stories. In addition to her role at Synchrony, Angie has been a force in public relations and public affairs for over a decade. Her accomplishments include the fact that she was the first Asian American woman on U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s comms team. Her work focuses on delivering high-impact comms results while concurrently advancing the strategy of her organization.
For her work in building the comms function at Synchrony, Angie has been recognized as one of Ragan’s 2023 Game Changers, sponsored by Omnicom. We recently caught up with Angie to learn more about her thoughts on the industry’s future, the challenges communicators might soon face, and much more.
What is one challenge communicators should be prepared to face in the next year, and what is one opportunity they may be able to embrace?
There are certainly challenges around societal issues. We should work to prioritize what’s pressing in a really agile way so we can get ahead of the messaging.
It’s an exciting time to work in communications. The future of comms around judgment, emotional intelligence and communicators having a seat at the decision-making table are exciting prospects. The biggest opportunity is for communicators to continue their roles as decision-makers in the organizations they work in.
What do you think will be the most important skills for communicators to master in the next five years?
AI has the potential to improve the way communicators work when used responsibly, enabling leaders to save time and innovate. Getting started with GenAI tools and learning how they could create value will be pivotal in the near and long term. As GenAI is poised to change industries, fundamental skills around human judgment, trust, emotional intelligence, and relationship building will be more important now than ever.
What is a mistake you’ve made in your career, and what did you learn from it?
Early in my career, I would reach out to local news desks, pitching them story ideas and trying to convince them to cover our press conferences. Those initial conversations were not very successful. I realized I was pushing my own narrow agenda ahead of what the assignment editors needed. It was a good lesson on the importance of being adaptable, creative, and developing relationships quickly. I learned how to align my message to the topics that mattered most, using the right perspectives and info at the right time to be a resource and land coverage.
What’s your best tip or piece of advice for communicators looking to pursue leadership roles?
I’m grateful to work with and for leaders who guide and empower their people. At Synchrony, our leaders listen and respond in real-time, adopt a coaching mindset and drive trust and accountability. In an evolving, fast-paced environment, it’s critical to align on goals, adapt to new priorities and trust that your team and colleagues will deliver.
Is there something you think all communicators need to be thinking about as the world changes around us?
My advice would be to stay curious, hone your critical thinking and writing skills, and know your audience. Learning the business early and demonstrating results will help accelerate your path to becoming a strategic partner. I also recommend having conversations with people in the industry to understand the different areas and types of communications roles, skillsets and cultures.
Don’t miss your chance to celebrate Hu and more Ragan’s 2023 Game Changers at our Future of Communications Conference, Nov. 6–8 in Austin, as well as our satellite Comms Week events in cities across the U.S. and U.K.