Powerful advices from a master
Powerful advices from a master
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‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.’

— Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist.

Be a brand, not a commodity.

Be Jack of all trades, master of all.

If you are young, be beautiful but clever, too.

These were some of the most powerful messages I took home recently from an inspirational talk given by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sarawak Media Group, Suhaimi Sulaiman.

The Sarawak Media Group is the brand owner of TVS and Suhaimi, 60, is a leading media personality who previously served as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Astro Awani and Bernama chairman.

The talk entitled ‘Pushing Boundaries & Staying Relevant in The Changing Media Industry” was for staff of New Sarawak Tribune and Suara Sarawak. It was held at the Sarawak Media Authority Hall, Yayasan Building in Kuching in the morning of June 29.

CEO of New Sarawak Tribune and SuaraSarawak, Dr Jeniri Amir, in his welcoming speech, hoped Suhaimi’s talk would not inspire us all but also benefit the newsroom.

I am glad I attended it. Suhaimi, who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA and an MBA from City University, Believue, Washington, speaks well in English and has a pleasant voice.

It has been a long time since I attended any inspirational talk. I am a member of the Kuching Connections Toastmasters Club and in the past, I loved going to the club’s meetings just to listen to inspirational speeches.

Sometimes, when we are out and down or life is mediocre, we need inspirational talks to motivate us to think clearly, see opportunities and forge ahead with more confidence.

I loved the slides that Suhaimi used to emphasise his points; the photos and graphics were interesting to look at and the texts minimum.

I liked the approach he took to present his talk. His friendly demeanour made me feel as if he was a dear old friend generously sharing the secrets of his success as a leading media personality.

As a media veteran, I am very much aware that journalists need certain qualities to succeed in their career. These qualities include a way with words, good knowledge and communication skills, professionalism and confidence, persistence and discipline as well as ethics.

But to be a brand, not a commodity and to be Jack of all trades, master of all? Well, the ideas were interesting and thought provoking.

And for the young to be beautiful and clever at the same time? Well, very wise advice, indeed. Life is already good if you are young and beautiful. It will be even better if you are young, beautiful and clever too.

Anyway, back to Suhaimi.

In order to be a brand, a journalists must be a specialist in particular subject matters, he said.

And how did he become one?

“Well, I learn from everybody. I learn from columns, I learn other people including my juniors,” he revealed.

He also has scrapbooks for newspaper cuttings.

“It is a good habit. The person with the most information is the most powerful person. Always be a subject matter expert,” he said.

Suhaimi added a successful journalist must also be a good time manager.

“I was trained to be punctual. Don’t let people wait for you. Work on your speed and accuracy,” he advised.

An important question that journalists should ask themselves, he pointed out, was “Will I be relevant tomorrow?”

He also advised them not to break ties with what or who had helped them build their careers.

Suhaimi stressed that journalists should also think like entrepreneurs as well. They should fulfil needs and wants of customers, leaders, audiences, stakeholders and curious minds.

“Provide end-to-end solutions. Provide the best experience in consuming your products and services.

“See yourself as a brand. Be the best journalist brand,” he said.

Suhaimi also suggested that journalists find their niches.

‘A niche is what others don’t have but you have,” he explained.

He stressed the importance of lifelong learning and urged journalists to constantly evaluate their journeys in life.

Suhaimi, who will be leaving Sarawak soon, said he would miss the state a lot.

“The people here are nice and I am blessed to have worked with many young people here.”

But why is he leaving?

“I want to grow and have the chance to build new empires. I want to do something as an entrepreneur in my own free time.”

Thank you, Suhaimi, for the inspirational talk. Thanks to you, I am now looking at life with new eyes.

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New Sarawak Tribune is a Sarawakian news portal that highlights Sarawak-centric news and other stories of relevance to Sarawak.

Today, New Sarawak Tribune focuses on happenings in Sarawak’s cities, towns and small places no matter how remote these are and events of relevance in other states of Malaysia and other countries.