Karin Lohitnavy: The Master Connector

WOMEN

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As any other naughty three year old Karin spent most of her time running around the place and also annoyed some of her mother’s customers. Some would ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up she would immediately respond, “I want to be a boss.” Oh, and that she did. Karin Lohitnavy is the Founder and CEO of Midas PR, previously owning another company in Luxembourg for 9 years and aspires to empower others around her.

Her family (mother and grandmothers) were all entrepreneurs and recounts having admired, and learned from several other leaders: Jay Walton, a TV anchor from Australia who was still hosting her own TV show in Thailand and Australia when she was in her eighties, K. Naphalai Areesorn from Thailand Tatler and the renowned branding coach Brenda Bence who lead her to discover and embrace herself as a personal brand.

"Challenges are always a great way to grow, so that is always a good thing. And even if you have setbacks it gives you the opportunity to test yourself and the team supporting you. The harder it is the more enjoyable is the success"

Accelerating Growth

Founded in 2007, Bangkok-based Midas PR strives to ‘Make you stand out’. This is done by providing each of their clients with bold, tailor-made communication strategies and delivering results that always exceed expectations and KPIs. What makes Midas PR different; their team is multi-cultural, dynamic, creative and innovative. Currently, 11 nationalities are represented and 13 languages are spoken in the office. If clients want to reach out internationally, Midas PR as a true polyglot can communicate their message effectively around the world. Also, having worked in other countries helps the team to come up with creative ideas. Combining knowledge they gained abroad with local insights makes Midas PR’s approach different from both the local and international agencies. Furthermore, Midas PR is part of PROI Worldwide enabling them to have a strong footprint in ASEAN and also globally . “PROI brings together local expertise and knowledge of unique circumstances of each country- and I believe that acknowledging and respecting the differences instead of focusing on superficial similarities is the key to success in regional PR campaigns,” says Karin Lohitnavy.

As for Karin’s title of ‘Master Connector’ it is a result of her vastly influential contact base and is certainly no overstatement. Born in Belgium her family moved from Brussels to England and later to Luxembourg giving her very strong communications and language skills. She was educated in England, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Greece, and France. Karin has a double degree in Social and Political Science from a French University speaking fluent English, French, Greek, German, Italian, Luxembourgish, Spanish, Italian and Latin. She was quickly bored of being boxed up in the confines of ridiculously small interpretation cubicles as a conference interpreter and it was then she decided to create her first company that still exists in Luxembourg. Her multi-cultural beginnings allowed Karin to make powerful contacts along the way, connecting people with their counterparts and subsequently opening doors full of opportunities for her clients. Later, she took a leap of faith and moved to Bangkok in 2004 as she felt Asia was going to be the new hot spot in terms of business, arts, and economy. Analyzing the market, refining her PR approach by working in Thailand for two years in another PR agency and making strong networks laid the foundation for her Thai PR success recently celebrating 12 years of existence in February.

Karin has a family full of strong women leaders whom she looks up to like her role models. “I’ve been raised to think I could do anything I wanted, so I never thought I couldn’t do what I set out to do. In fact, I have always considered being a woman as an advantage rather than a challenge,” says Karin.

In the course of her career she also dealt with unique challenges one faces as a women leader. “I don’t think there is any woman who has escaped gender bias or discrimnitation” says Karin who remembers how her business partner at her first venture (in Luxembourg) would often make hurtful comments like “You wouldn’t succeed without me being here.” Karin remained candid, determined and dedicated to her goal. “The important thing is to believe in oneself and not let yourself be influenced by negativity. This particularly applies when you are starting out, some men try to use and abuse their power, you need to be able to resist and call their bluff and they will back off,” affirms Karin. While her unique outlook makes her unstoppable. “Challenges are always a great way to grow, so that is always a good thing. And even if you have setbacks it gives you the opportunity to test yourself and the team supporting you. The harder it is the more enjoyable is the success,” says Karin. Having said that, it has never been lost on her that all the successes have come by way of a team effort and by leading with compassion. She asserts while telling one leadership lesson her journey has taught her, “It’s important to stay humble, as a leader you don’t need to know everything, that’s why you are hiring people who are more talented than you in key roles, so you have to know when to let go of your role to let them lead the way.”

Because of her passion for charity, Karin is proud to support the Bangkok Charity Orchestra, Together We Can Change The World Charitable Organization and Adventchores. She is the Past President of the Rotary Club of Bangkapi (2014-2015) and continues to do tireless work to raise funds for children in need and other worthwhile causes. She is also a member of BNI Inspire- one of the two English language Chapters in Bangkok and attends as many networking or leadership events for women leaders like the Women Leadership conference in Mumbai in 2018/2019, the Women in Business series in Bangkok throughout 2017/18, LeanIn etc. As an active business networker in Bangkok and beyond, Karin is also a co-founder of the Bangkok Young Professionals Group, took over Networking for Success and created Business Golf Network (previously also created one in Luxembourg). This she says is vital, teaching and supporting those around you. “To move forwards you need to learn to give before wanting to take,” shares Karin having mentored many aspiring people throughout her career. “In Public Relations and journalism, there are many great women that are an inspiration to all of us. Hopefully, I will one day be one of them; in 12 years of business our company has created 8 woman entrepreneurs that’s not a bad track record,” smiles Karin.

Walk your Talk

A few areas still remains a work in progress: gender equality and inclusion. Personally, Karin says she would prefer to be placed in the same category as her male counterparts. “I don’t want to feel as though we are being judged in a lesser category and playing with a higher handicap because we are women,” adds Karin. Indeed, all leaders should be considered equal whether male or female. Karin believes this to be a big milestone when all leaders will be fairly judged with the same criteria and opportunities.

Karin Lohitnavy, Founder & CEO, Midas PR

Ultimately, Karin says her advice to all aspiring women or men aiming for a leadership position are first and foremost to walk your talk: “Show the team you are a leader, be the first to arrive at the office, work hard, be fair with your team, give credit to those who work hard, never take the credit yourself. Help your team along the way so they move forward with you. Don’t be afraid to say when you don’t know or show weakness to let your team help you.” Lastly, she adds, “have fun, life is too short not to enjoy yourself at work!!”

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