Balancing the Grind with Tess Hong, Senior Partnerships Manager at MGI Entertainment

Tess Hong is the Senior Partnerships Manager at MGI Entertainment, an entertainment marketing agency working with brands, celebrities and influencers.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Hi, my name is Tess Hong, I was born and raised in Shanghai, China. I spent 2 years studying International Economics in the United States and also 2 years for Marketing Direction Tourism Management in Shanghai. 

I have been working for MGI and with MGI Founder Michael MacRitchie since 2014. I started as a marketing intern, and now I am the senior partnerships manager. My role is to support all projects and I liaise between the different project teams (Production, PR, Marketing, Experiences and Finance)

We have offices in Shanghai, Sydney and a satellite office in New York. I am based in Shanghai but I am still very hands on for Australian and international projects. Some of the projects I have helped execute include the Jorya Fashion Show in 2015 and when MGI secured Jessica Alba as an ambassador for the brand.

  • Particle Fever x Sanya Edition x Karolina Kurkova in 2019, 
  • Aussie skin care brand, Alpha-H China Launch x Mashama in 2020.
  • Ronaldinho x GST, Sunny Wang x Giorgio Visconti, Camilla
  • Working with fashion brands like Camilla to promote with Chinese fashion influencers living in Australia and in mainland China.
  • and our catalog of Ultimate Experiences.

 I am essentially the bridge between celebrities and brands. Clients and celebrities’ managers were willing to communicate with me because they know our team can deliver campaigns with tier 1 brands and celebrities.

Because of the COVID, I can only remotely support Australian projects and our pipeline of content.

I really missed my colleagues in Australia and Europe, but COVID made meeting them more difficult. Looking forward to open borders so that we are able to travel between Shanghai and Sydney, and also looking forward to traveling to US and Europe for experiencing a real Christmas.

Actually, I didn’t have an official English name before I joined MGI. Now it has been almost 7 years.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

A typical/ideal day right now looks like this:

With a coffee and an egg, I start my all-day work. 

Because of the COVID period, I have worked from home for 2 years. I used to start working at 10 am, but now I moved it to 9 am because of the time difference between China and Australia. 

My lunch time is around 1 to 2 PM. Sometimes I walk out for lunch and stay in a good cafe for work, and sometimes I just take anything left from last dinner if I am busy or the weather is bad. Also normally I like to enjoy bubble tea after lunch.

I couldn’t sleep early at night until at least 1:30 am. Sometimes it is more efficient for me to work at night if there is anything urgent to be done. I also spend my spare time playing badminton with friends as a workout. 

Everything is random and not much of a plan, I think my organized ability is all used in work.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

We are pretty flexible considering COVID and working remotely. We just need to complete the work and ensure that our projects get the appropriate love.

However, I prefer to work in an office environment more specifically in a good space.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance means a lot to me. I believe the best life is “now”. Therefore, I prefer enjoying the moment. Work is one of the important parts in life. This year I step into my 30s, and I feel different from my 20s both in mind and body. I have grown up a lot in MGI with the help of Michael, the best boss ever in the word. (I always said this to everyone), but I still want to achieve more at work.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Yes for sure, I spent more time at home, which means I have more time to accompany my family. In the past, I got up and rushed to leave home for work in the morning. After work, I would catch up with my friends, have dinner, walk around, watch a movie or just chat.

Now, I work from home, I have more time to stay with my family. However, no garden without weeds. Once I spend too much time at home, there will be minor conflicts with them. Now I am more patient with them and they become more open-minded, and notice that I am already in my 30s, not a child any more. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Yes, I love reading. It makes me calm.

  • The Neurotic Personality of Our Time by Karen Horney is the one I am currently reading.
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Everything by Agatha Christie, especially And Then There Were None

I also love watching movies, almost all the types, comedy, thriller, romance, horror, sci-fi, crime, documentary, etc. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Green Mile are my favorite ones.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

My phone, and bubble tea. Haha.

I need my phone to communicate with Michael and my colleagues via WeChat. I have to say WeChat is amazing. I think almost all Chinese people can not live without it.

We can know people’s recent situations through WeChat Moments even if we don’t talk too much. It shortens the distance between people. Moreover, I can’t live without Eleme and Taobao, we can deliver food immediately on Eleme and buy everything on Taobao, even the air of Hulun Buir. 

8) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I am already in my 30s, but I am still learning and exploring and have a long way to go. Please enjoy the moment. Work is important but nothing is bigger than health and family. Don’t be afraid of failure, adjust your state of mind, everything can be resolved eventually. Don’t identify yourself by any adjectives, just be yourself and accept yourself.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.