Staff Reporters
Nov 10, 2021

40 Under 40 2021: Elizabeth Chu, Sandpiper Communications

Delivering in a dual role for a fast-growing agency, Chu also advocates for out-of-the-box hires and has made major contributions to building internal culture.

40 Under 40 2021: Elizabeth Chu, Sandpiper Communications
Proven performers with plentiful potential in the APAC marcomms industry

Elizabeth Chu

Deputy general manager, Singapore; APAC regional head of financial services
Sandpiper Communications

Elizabath Chu caught the PR bug handling a crisis for a fictitious oil and gas company during a university exercise, but she has been making an impact in the real world ever since. In a 12-year career that has seen her rise from account coordinator to a dual role as deputy GM of the Singapore office and head of the regional financial-services practice at Sandpiper, Chu has earned a reputation for delivering against objectives and taking on additional projects.

Chu is so organised that colleagues jokingly refer to her as 'Monica' (she also shares a rep for being a clean freak with the Friends character). She scored a promotion to the deputy GM role in early 2021 in recognition of her contributions to a year of stellar growth. As employee No. 5, she was a founding member of the Singapore team, and has helped it grow to 30 people, doubling headcount and increasing revenue by 31% in the last 12 months. Meanwhile the financial-services practice she heads up regionally—the agency's largest division—hit its fiscal-year revenue target four months ahead of schedule and was forecast to increase by more than 30% year over year. 

On top of all that, Chu volunteered to lead an expansion into China. Leaving her family behind to move to Shanghai, she secured clients and recruited talent—and added more than US$500,000 in revenue. 

Characterised as a tough but fair leader who is "an absolute star" and "irreplaceable", Chu is also recognised as having a strong commitment to "doing right by herself and her team". Case in point, a culture programme that she conceived during the pandemic to aid in mental-health and instill core values virtually. This includes get-togethers, "acts of kindness" such as sending plants and gifts, and a monthly Friday-afternoon hangout where the office is split into groups of six, bringing together people from different practices and different levels of seniority to chat—followed by downtime at 4:30 to spend time on themselves. 

In addition, Chu is known for her advocacy of out-of-the-box hires. She has challenged unconscious biases to give chances to people who might not look like PR professionals on paper but have turned out to be some of the agency's most successful hires. In addition, Chu champions underdogs and makes sure that more introverted colleagues aren't overlooked.

Proven performers with plentiful potential in the APAC marcomms industry


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