ABOUT ANNIE KUO

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I have roots in Texas, the Friendly State (the Houston Rockets are my jam), and Thailand, the Land of Smiles, where I went to high school. I graduated from Agnes Scott, a women’s college in Georgia, with a double major in international relations and Spanish. People are often surprised to learn that I have multiple pairs of cowboy boots and two new-country stations preset on the car radio, but we Asian Texans are a real thing…  I can do a mean country karaoke!

Whether about town or out of town, I’m in constant motion, which is why colleagues once gave me the superlative “Most likely to give birth on a plane” (… I almost did in a car). Apparently I inherited the wanderlust from my mother, who was a Pan Am flight attendant. I have loved to travel, both alone and in groups, since announcing as a toddler that I wanted to “go bye-bye” with the mailman.

My first career involved managing performing artists in jazz and drum performance. One surprised me with a song (“Anazao” was my alias! See if you can hear the Oriental melody ;). As operations manager, I launched an Asian American arts organization into a national touring company. Within the first year, I booked the ensemble at 14 venues in 5 new regions — including a performance at the Kennedy Center. The artists were appreciative but also very tired… to which I said, “Muhahaha… Be careful what you wish for!”  (Go big or go home!)

Audience development was my favorite part of the job, so I got a public relations certificate and cut my teeth on public affairs and consumer brands in the agency world. At Edelman, and later at Ogilvy, I helped blue-chip clients build strong brands and raise awareness about compelling issues and products. Some of my first health care clients were Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, Pacific Health Summit, McKesson, and Susan G. Komen.

Along the way, I got a degree from Northwestern University in integrated marketing communications (IMC). In 2008, I was the editor-in-chief of the IMC journal.

Awards from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) have re-affirmed my career choice. In addition to multiple project awards, I have been recognized by the PRSA Puget Sound Chapter with the Outstanding Young Professional Award (2006) and the Hugh Smith Community Service Award (2018).

A member of the Asian American Journalists Association, I am a freelance journalist and enjoy exploring a variety of subjects. I was a prolific writer as a little girl, which is why I’m lucky that marketing communications is my career. There is a lot of writing and speaking in public relations!

I was also very lucky to become a mother in 2011, though it wasn’t the most straightforward path. After those experiences, I dove into the world of reproductive medicine, first as a volunteer and then as a communications consultant. This work has helped me realize my professional calling in women’s health. In early 2019 I was appointed the first Director of Public Relations for the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at UW Medicine.

I am a legislative advocate with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association (I co-author the Create Change blog on RESOLVE’s website and have co-led the Advocacy Day training for three years). I am also an active Outreach Committee member on the UW Men’s Health Campaign Council, and public relations manager of the Seattle Asian American Film Festival.  Currently, I’m exploring ways to increase health equity among Asian Americans through various media. If any of these themes resonate with you, I hope you will reach out and connect.

Thanks for visiting.  See you out there!