100 Creatives 2014: Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's Publicity and Promotions Guru
Henry Yau's job description doesn't really cover all of various duties and responsibilities he has as Public Relations & Promotions Director for the Children's Museum of Houston. Sure, the part about maintaining the museum's visibility in the community is covered, like working with the museum's leadership, overseeing promotional campaigns and handling the press (making sure we spell the name right: it's Children's, not Childrens), but there are lots of activities that aren't listed. For example, dressing up as a mad scientist for an appearance on an early morning television news show (see above) or organizing a pie-in-the-face contest to celebrate the number Pi or overseeing a superhero selfie session.
All photos courtesy of Henry Yau This is Henry Yau at work.
Yau was born and raised in Venezuela to Chinese parents. He came to the United States as a teen, landing in Houston when he was in 10th grade. After studying broadcast journalism, Yau was working an overnight shift. "I didn't like it very much. My friends would be going out to happy hour and I would be going to bed. One day a friend told me about a position at the Children's Museum. The job description was very vague; it said something about writing press releases and taking pictures. I thought, 'Well, I can do that.' Little did I know that that was the tip [of the job] - there's so much that goes on in a non-profit."
What He Does: "I primarily deal with media. And I deal with all the fires that come up in social media or events.
"If I had a chance to rename my job my title would probably be media magician," he laughs. "I try to bring the media into the museum to make sure that they know about what we're doing. But once I do that, that's not the end of my contact with them. I work with media all the way to the very end of the article or broadcast. And even after that."
Why He Likes It: "I feel valued here. I'm asked my opinion, asked for my input. And I feel like I'm listened to. I like that. And I get to do so many different things. How can you get bored? You're doing something different every hour."
What Inspires Him: "People see us as an entertainment destination, but really we have so much outreach that we do. Working on all the various activities and events, I get to see the effect of our work and how what we do affects families, communities." There's no doubt that the work Yau and his associates are doing is having an effect on the community. The Children's Museum of Houston was recently named America's No. 1 Children's Museum by Parent's magazine.
If Not This, Then What: "I love to travel. I've actually traveled to 24 countries since 2002. I like to explore different cultures. I try to visit at least one new country every year. Most recently I went to Easter Island and Bangkok. I'd love to visit Burma. I would make traveling my job."
If Not Here, Then Where: "There are so many places that I'd like to visit. I don't know that I would want to be in just one spot. I'd be a nomad. I would travel from country to country.
"I like Houston, of course, there's a reason I'm still here. And what makes Houston special to me is its people. Of all of the places I've been, I think Houston has people who really care about each other."
What's Next: "What isn't?" Yau laughs. "We're always doing lots, from tiny events to [museum] expansion. There's one [thing] that's confidential and I can't talk about it; it's super secret. One that I can talk about is our expansion into Ft. Bend Discovery Center in 2016. We're all looking forward to that."
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