Former Head Organizer, Hong Kong
Corrina Shen Lam was born in Brunei but grew up in Toronto speaking Mandarin at home while attending Chinese churches of the Cantonese language. Her parents are originally from China, though they went to Taiwan to study before settling in Toronto by way of Brunei...
Does this make any sense at all? Anybody?
Being the only one of two Chinese kids in her school (the other was her brother), Corrina grew up as your typical "banana" until her epiphany called Chien Tan in 1991, otherwise known as the Loveboat. Until then, her only exposure to Chinese people was at dark, smoky clubs at CSA parties where it would blare the unofficial Chinese party anthem "Bizarre Love Triangle".
After graduating from the University of Toronto with a degree in Urban Studies and Political Science, Corrina studied Mandarin (or Putonghua as the purists will have it) at Beijing Normal University (versus Abnormal?) for a year to well, you know, pick up a real skill. She then took it up a notch by partaking in the Princeton in Beijing Program the following summer where students were asked to adhere to language pledge or risk expulsion.
Her year in China was eye-opening. Traveling throughout the country (and missing the "occasional" class), she realized that there was a country of 1.2 billion people whom she could have easily been or could have been her...
Armed with biao zhun Beijing Putonghua and accents to make most of her Taiwanese relatives cringe, she started her job search in China but ultimately decided to settle in the ultimate East Meets West environment and creature comforts of Hong Kong.
Not knowing what to do next with her life, Corrina set out to find out what she doesn't want to do. Thus, after crossing out consulting at Kurt Salmon Associates and a much too-long stint at Lehman Brothers, the only thing left was Marketing which she found she was better than average at doing.
After a few months at the now defunct Technology Division of Hagemeyer Cosa Liebermann, marketing such sexy items as plastic drums, meat slaughter equipment and die cut machines, Corrina finally landed her dream company, Coca-Cola - as a fluke - after sneaking up to their Times Square headquarters every chance she got (and dragging her fearful friends with her), hoping that that her "energy" would eventually lead to a position there.
Evidently, stunts like that actually work!
Corrina started out in a customer marketing role supporting the Hong Kong and Taiwan markets. This eventually led to a career as a Brand Manager for China and then Hong Kong for which Corrina not only made local Coke commercials, but traveled to major cities and small countries to learn what consumers thought of the brand and how to get more "stomach share" (now termed "throat share"... yuck!)
Corrina's passion for the fizzy brown drink extended to her downing Coke during her first pregnancy, much to the horror of her Hong Kong colleagues. For her second, her husband suggested she try Pepsi for a change to which she replied, "Honey, this is our children we are talking about... not the Pepsi Challenge!"
After taking a few years off to focus on her kids, Corrina is now considering getting back into the workforce full-time. Last year, she ran large-scale, $1 million conferences for Momentum, McCann-Erickson and Coke as "part-time" gigs but has since then vowed to herself and to her family to NEVER EVER to touch event management again in her natural lifetime, well, except for ORIENTED Happy Hours!