Jim Lin’s background encompasses over 20 years of digital marketing, public relations, and business development experience in B2B, government, ecommerce and consumer environments. He has provided both digital strategic counsel and creative planning for clients in the ever-evolving realm of digital platforms, social influencers and content. His specialty is bringing brand experiences to life by converging these elements to spark conversation that builds engagement and ultimately drives action. One unique area of expertise that Jim has leveraged for clients has been building executives’ social media presence through coaching, content, and engagement.
Finish this sentence: I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for ________________.
My wife Shannon! She has more confidence in me than even I have, and her support and encouragement in everything I have done has given me the nudge I need in order to take major leaps of faith in my career and our lives. We are each other’s biggest fans and our mutual admiration and respect has been such a source of inspiration for everything we do. Most importantly, we have this motto that it’s not a good day until one of us makes the other laugh until we cry, and I can say we’ve had good days since day one!
Resumes highlight professional and educational achievements. Which one of your life or personal experiences deserves to be on your resume?
Being a dad. It’s not like something I would boast about; rather, it has reshaped my entire perspective on life and the world around me. Without my role as a dad, I would be a completely different person. With fatherhood (and step-fatherhood since I blended my family), I realized for the first time that what I did (and didn’t do) mattered. When you feel like you matter on the micro-level, only then do you realize that what you do also matters at the macro-level. The whole idea around the impact one can make on others is transformative; to go from me-centered to we-centered is something that has made me a more intentional person.
What qualities do you look for when hiring someone on your team? What qualities do you avoid?
I look for differentiation first. What does this person do, or how does this person think that makes them different? It could be a skill, a passion, a POV on the industry, or a way of approaching challenges. Honestly, on paper, most people you interview are fairly similar. It’s not until you meet them in person and understand how they are different that you realize how they can enhance your team. In order to build a great team, everyone needs to bring something unique to the table that no one else has. I avoid rigidity. Oftentimes, candidates are really set on doing one set of things. They may be the best at it, but if someone isn’t open to exploring outside their comfort zone, I tend to pass on them.
“Quite simply, life (and work) is better when you embrace anything different — when you accept that there should be no ‘norms.’ ”
What’s one piece of career advice you wish you could give to your younger self?
Never say never. What you are willing or wanting to do varies throughout your life and the contexts in which life happens. In the mid-nineties, I told myself I would never go back to the agency life. But that was a time when PR was about media relations and press releases. However, the context of PR has changed drastically in the past 20 years. It has now become conversation, engagement and people-centered – exactly what I love. I dove headfirst back in the PR agency life a decade ago and never looked back. Coincidentally, it was that fateful DM from you (Work Wider Founder Michele Lanza) in 2012 that made me rethink this “never” thing and come back!
Diversity, equity and inclusion is front and center right now. How do you express your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in your personal and professional life?
Quite simply, life (and work) is better when you embrace anything different – when you accept that there should be no “norms.” DEI simply becomes an ideal when you incorporate the commitment to yourself that your own life will be better when you constantly seek new perspectives, gravitate toward what’s unfamiliar to you, and appreciate uniqueness in all that you or anyone else does. When you do this, DEI doesn’t become some achievement you strive for, but rather an intrinsic wiring that you naturally gravitate towards. In doing so, it simply becomes what you are, versus a box you are trying to check.
What’s one tangible step every employer should take to help build a more representative organization?
As I mentioned above, seek differentiation. Understand that in the big business picture, differentiation helps every organization. We are living in a diverse society and, therefore, marketplace. Sameness makes any organization vulnerable, once the sameness and its environment no longer match. Yes, DEI is the right thing to do, but you can’t always rely on an organization to do the “right” thing all the time. I’m a realist in that way. However, I do know that all organizations want to succeed. When you connect success with the effective representation of all whom you serve, you don’t have to rely on hoping everyone in your organization does the right thing. You simply do it. It becomes natural. The best part is that representation simply makes the organization a better, more interesting and more unique place to be. More perspectives always, without doubt, brings better ideas. I challenge you to give me one example of an organization that doesn’t want better ideas, all the time!