Who is Joana Wong? This is she:
I’m a brand strategist and this site is a home for thoughts regarding behavior and stories about my life. I just do this for fun. Well, okay, also for work because there’s truth in what they say –– “plugging out of work plugs you in.”
By freeing our mind from work, we are freed from processing ideas linearly, and this results in more inspired work.
I hope you find in here writing and stories that help you learn something new, or think of something in a different way, or just entertain you.
Or more so, things that entertain me. This is my attempt at claiming and defining my voice through stories through little moments that bring me joy, or questions I may not yet have the answers to but am developing a point of view towards, or just fun things I don’t want to forget.
A bit more about me: What made me go into strategy.
One. I’m a fifth generation Panamasian.
(Panama as in ––that country that made it to the World Cup for the first time in 2018 and celebrated its first Cup goal as if it had won the championship itself. That was a glorious day.)
Yup, this is my mom and I in Panama. My family has been in the country for 4 generations. (Side note: I probably look bummed because who wouldn’t, with that haircut? 4-year-old me needed a makeover.)
Adults would ask Pre-K version of me what I wanted to do as a grown up… and I never had an answer, while they would praise my classmates for saying “Doctor!” “Astronaut!” “Firefighter!” “Teacher!”
Since then, things have changed. I got a better haircut. I grew up didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school. So I moved to Asia. And then to the U.S.
Having been exposed to cultural clashes, I came to find behavior and figuring out how people are different, fascinating. Why was something so important for one society but not for another? What is motivating this person to act this way? It made me fall in love with understanding different perspectives, and behavioral frameworks.
Two. I love analyzing and solving problems.
I also like occupying my mind on other kinds of problems. During high school, I won a bronze medal for the national physics championship. I was also a chemistry TA during college even though I was an advertising major… I just loved and was good at problem solving, science, and research.
This probably paints a better picture of how much I love research: One day I was discussing my research capstone project with the Consumer Behavior professor and he said “I’m excited to see you’re more excited about your research project than my PhD students are of theirs.”
Often though, people need to be given the context of the importance of the numbers, to make them more relatable and interesting. Have the data tell an interesting story. Which is where creativity comes in.
Three. I love arts.
I would get in trouble at school because I would draw Sailor Moon characters instead of listening to class. After High School, SCAD and Ringling College of Art and Design accepted me in their illustration programs, but both were too expensive, and I didn’t think being an artist was going to pay the bills. (Leave that to Hollywood to show us all the struggling artist stereotypes.)
So instead, I ended up going to FSU to study advertising, thinking it was a better mix of business in a creative field.
I’m glad to have chosen advertising.
Because advertising led me to taking an account planning class. It was during this class where it all clicked: I found Strategy is my “ikigai,” or my “reason for being.”
COMING FULL CIRCLE
I’m drawn to solving problems, understanding what makes people tick, and being able to be creative through story telling. All critical things that attract me to brand strategy. It just wasn’t a popular “future career” choice around four-year-olds.
Hope you feel you know me now!
Interested in more? Here are other things I dig:
- Using Oxford Commas. The MLA Style Manual, Chicago Style Manual, and the U.S. Gov. Printing office think you should, too. (See what I did there?)
- Teaching. I used to be an English teacher for kids from 1st to 6th grade and have also taught Elementary Chinese to college students. I also used to be a lab instructor for Public Speaking. That was fun.
- Leaving the marshmallows for last. Lucky Charms, I’m talking about you.
I think that’s it, but if there’s something missing, I’m an open book. So drop me an email at at email@example.com if you’d like to know anything else or just say hi.
(Thanks to Laura Gallego and Joe CMB for the photo)