From growing up without a television in a tiny town in western Queensland, to working for one of the most well known media brands in the world, Amy Kunrojpanya shows that humble beginnings don’t necessarily dictate your career trajectory.
Amy is the vice-president of communications for Netflix across the Asia Pacific region, taking up her appointment just as the Covid-19 pandemic started to spread and also just after having her first baby.
But given her background managing complex public affairs and communications for some of the world’s biggest brands ranging from global agriculture company, Syngenta, to Coca-Cola, Google, and Uber, Amy has taken those challenges in her stride.
“In my line of work, a crisis actually just presents you with an opportunity in different packaging”
“In my line of work, a crisis actually just presents you with an opportunity in different packaging,” Amy said.
Speaking from her Netflix base and now home in Singapore, Amy said her Griffith studies and her ability to speak eight languages were the key starting points to building the communications career that has taken her around the world.
“I was a scholarship baby. I have the Australian government and the Australian taxpayers to thank for a lot of my initial inroads in education, both in Australia and overseas,” Amy said.
“And I look at that as such a tremendous jumping off point.
“Netflix has got some very big plans for Asia that I’m incredibly excited to be part of.
“In particular, for me, I’ve had the privilege of being exposed to across the region, this idea that more people deserve to see their lives and their cultures reflected on screen, which is just so incredibly motivating.
“And I really want to look at, how do we find those untold stories and shine a light on them?
“It’s been very humbling to be part of because this passion that we have for storytelling has really, I think, taken on a new meaning for a lot of people when we’re in the absence of the kind of conversations that create that connection that we would have in normal life.”
Amy remembers when she finished her studies for her Bachelor of Asian studies and International relations at Griffith Business School, she hoped for a career in the diplomatic service.
“I definitely think if you’d spoken to me 20 years ago, I would not have assumed I would be sitting in the position that I’m in today,” she said.
“So I would say to you that from a career perspective, a lot of it has been about saying yes when an opportunity came my way, even sometimes when I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to turn out, and I think, in particular, how I’ve seen that work out.
“I think being open to the idea that actually there could be a curve ball, but it’s exactly where you need to go, those detours on the road can often get you to where you’re meant to be. I think it’s a learned and lived experience for me.”
She said that grounding in a broad Humanities education has been critical to her ongoing success.
“When I started learning different languages, I really thought it was going to be about me as the communicator. I’m going to be able to say what I want to say and people will understand me,” she said.
“And the more I’ve been exposed to different parts of the world, to different communities around the world, the more I’ve realised that it’s actually much more about me being able to understand what other people have to say.
“I’ve been very fortunate with work opportunities, that I’m often working across countries and therefore get to use multiple languages at any given time in my day job.”
Amy said continued higher education has been key to her success, with studies at Boston College and Harvard Business School.
And all this while contributing her growing global expertise in voluntary roles with a number of humanitarian organisations focused on anti-human trafficking and womens rights.
She said the main reason she makes time for her voluntary work on top of her extensive commitments, is simple – “Joy”.
“I wanted to find a source of joy and a source of meaning outside of my work,” she said.
“Doing something that felt like it wasn’t about me, it was about a greater good, and it was particularly about serving a community that might have been under-resourced or under-appreciated. It kept me humble. It kept me honest about priorities. And I think also, from a language perspective, it stretched me in good and uncomfortable ways.
“I look at that, really, as a privilege, to be honest.”
Amy says despite living in the incredibly dense and sophisticated metropolis of Singapore, there’s still a bit of the country Mundubbera girl in her that informs her decisions.
“Always. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl,” she said.
“I grew up in a farming community, and looking at that and looking at where I am today, I know that there’s just such a big leap from that.
“I think not taking anything for granted, and as I said, doing the hard work, it really does take you a very long way from where you start.
Hear more of Amy Kunrojpanya’s story on the Griffith University podcast Remarkable Tales: