This Woman Runs The Future Of Social Media — Here’s What She Can Teach You

If you haven’t heard of LINE yet, chances are you will soon. With 180 million users worldwide and another 1.7 million joining every day, the free voice-and-text messaging app is poised to take America (and your phone) by storm in the next few years. At the helm of the organization is Jeanie Han, CEO of LINE Euro-Americas. With a PhD in marketing and more than a decade of corner-office experience as an executive at Paramount Pictures, Han knows how to succeed. Ahead, she shares her tips on how to be the best and brightest in your field.

You Can’t Go Wrong With Hands-On Experience
At the end of the day, experience always wins out over theory. Han explains: “I was getting my PhD, and one semester was teaching an MBA course. I was surrounded by business people, but I’d never actually worked in business because I’d gone straight through school. I told my professor that before I settled into academia, I wanted to experience the world and how it works. I got a job as a management consultant in the entertainment sector, and really loved it. A few months into doing a project for Dreamworks Pictures, Dreamworks management pulled me aside and asked if I wanted to come and work for them. And, that’s how my career in the movie business started. I never would have anticipated it."  

Photo: Courtesy of Jeanie Han.
Be Flexible
Newsflash: Your career probably won’t play out exactly the way you planned — and that’s a good thing, according to Han, who says her previous entertainment experience helped her segue into the tech field at LINE. “My previous career had made me an expert at content, and I knew I could use that skill while expanding on my knowledge of the growing mobile and tech fields. My dad was never the type of parent who made me finish everything on my plate growing up. He said, 'If you’re full or don’t like something, it’s fine to leave some of it behind, especially if it’s going to give you a stomach ache!' And, that’s such a good metaphor for your career path: Try things, taste different paths, but don’t feel you have to commit to one thing,” she says.       
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Forget Assumptions
Have you heard that certain fields are “hard,” “ruthless,” or “not good if you’re planning to start a family"? Forget whatever you’ve heard and go for it, urges Han. “Maybe, in the past, the tech world was a boys’ club, but that’s definitely not the case today. There are a lot of female executives rising up and women on our team who are incredibly smart. Be firm, be aggressive, know what you want, and don’t let assumptions guide you as to what you think you can and cannot do.”  

Nothing Is Ever A Waste
Starting out in a new field doesn’t mean everything you’ve done in the past is a waste; instead, think of your experience as giving you valuable insight into how to maximize your tasks now. “Looking back, I’m so grateful and happy that I changed my careers. Having a deep knowledge base in one field can only help you transition to another area,” says Han, explaining that having a few different industries on your resume isn’t a dealbreaker.
Be Nice (Yes, It Is That Simple!)
CEOs may have a reputation of being ruthless, but Han insists that attitude won’t go far — and it may even be detrimental to your path up the corporate ladder. “When I look back at my career, the people who’ve always inspired me have been the leaders who’ve been smart and inspired by what they do…but also the ones who’ve been kind to others. That’s what I try to be as a leader to my own team. I want to set up my team to succeed,” Han says.  

Find A Mentor Who Pushes You
Yes, your mentor should be impressive in an "I want to be you someday" type of way, but more importantly, your mentor should take an interest in you. “A great mentor sees and appreciates strengths in others, sometimes before the person knows it’s there,” says Han. In other words, for maximum benefit to both of you, make sure your relationship is one of mutual admiration.  

Know That Sometimes, You’re Going To Be Burning The Midnight Oil
Work-life balance is essential, but occasionally, work demands that you be on call, and according to Han, that’s not a bad thing. “When you’re passionate about what you do, you honestly don’t mind spending the majority of your time thinking about work. I always think I’m open 24/7. I’m talking to Asia at three in the morning; I’ll wake up at 5 a.m. and head to the office, and I honestly get antsy when we have long weekends. I’m not just saying that; I feel like when you love what you do, the passion drives you.”             
But, That’s No Excuse To Ignore Your Health
To be clear, Han isn’t saying you should work yourself to exhaustion — just that you shouldn’t feel guilty if you occasionally find yourself wrapped up in a work project. To make it work, you must also take care of your own needs. “I always think that, to have a clear mind, you need a strong body,” says Han. “Making time to work out is absolutely essential.”      

Use Your Commute To Rock Out & De-Stress
One way to avoid getting burned out? Make the commute all about you. “I listen to hip-hop music on my commute to and from work. It’s fun; it puts me in a different mind space,” Han says.        
Put The Meaning Back Into Messaging
It’s time to stop overthinking texts, people! Ultimately, the best way to communicate over text, either personally or professionally, is to say what you mean. One of the things that sets LINE apart from other messaging apps is the tens of thousands of stickers and emoji available for download, which Han says allows users to put meaning back into their messages. “What we’re passionate about is creating a visual language where people can really express themselves. We want to put the fun and emotion back into messaging, the way it used to be when people received handwritten correspondence in the mail,” she explains.      

Stop Freaking Out. Seriously.
“When I was 25, I was so anxious about my career. I wondered what I’d be doing when I was 30, or when I was 40…and none of my plans actually came through. I thought I’d be in academia. I never imagined I’d be in this space," says Han. "My advice would be just not to worry about the details — to focus on passion and what you’re good at. Be flexible, don’t be afraid to make changes, and do good work. I’m so happy [with] where I landed.” So, what are you waiting for?   
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