“Hinrich Global Trade Leaders thrive on curiosity about the world. They find happiness in their consistent search for knowledge and its rewarding outcome.”
In quest of knowledge
“Success, for me is happiness,” said Lauren Kyger, for whom seeking knowledge every day is almost a craving and part of her daily sustenance. “It’s important for me to go to bed each night with the satisfaction that I have learned one new thing about the world that day!”
A conversation with Lauren leaves happiness in its trail. Brimming with positivity and a passionate urge to bring the world closer together, this Hinrich Global Trade Leader believes that sharing information and communication is the key to resolving differences. She strongly believes trade industry is the fulcrum that can support inclusion objectives common to countries across the world. A healthy curiosity about the world aids her in the quest to find global perspectives on international trade relations, economies and cultures.
Lauren is a Hinrich Global Trade Leader who completed her master’s degree in Global Business Journalism at Tsinghua University, China. Journalism, business and China have always been Lauren’s three big interests: it has been her dream to fuse them into her professional goals. “I think signing up for a Chinese 101 class in high school proved to be a turning point in my life. There were the usual French and Spanish classes available, but I was looking for something different and exciting.”
Little did Lauren know that her love for the Chinese language and culture would be a story that will find an exciting trajectory.
Mandarin stayed with her through Arizona State University, where she pursued a major in Journalism and a minor in Chinese language. Lauren graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2013. Her focus was business journalism.
Prior to her sojourn to China as a Hinrich Global Trade Leader Scholar, she proved her mettle as an investigative journalist in Washington, D.C., by contributing to an award-winning investigative series as a finance reporting intern.
In her own words, “Hinrich Foundation started me on this path that I am on today!” Her dream to combine her three major interests came to life when the Foundation gave her the opportunity to complete her postgraduate degree in Global Business Journalism at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2016.
Lauren’s master’s thesis on media coverage of China’s growing outbound foreign direct investment (FDI) won the top award for outstanding thesis in her program. She was also named an honorary graduate of Tsinghua University, which is a prestigious award recognizing academic excellence.
A natural-born storyteller
Lauren views herself as an “explainer.” As a Research Associate for the Hinrich Foundation, she comes across as a powerful storyteller.
In her current role, Lauren seeks to spread the word about international trade and how it impacts economies and people’s daily lives. She firmly believes in the Hinrich Foundation’s ideals to promote sustainable global trade through international trade research, trade career development and export trade assistance across developing Asia.
“Trade interconnects us all and has a huge impact on the world today. It brings different cultures together and helps promotes peace between nations.”
Lauren invests a lot of her quality time focused on US-China trade relations. “As an American who has lived, studied and worked in China, I have been fortunate enough to develop an international skill set and perspective,” said Lauren. She hopes to use that unique perspective to help provide a deeper understanding of the US-China trade relationship.
Lauren’s training as an investigative journalist has held her in good stead while doing investigative research on international trade. Her forte lies in explaining finer points of international trade topics in easy, digestible stories so that consumers can understand the true impact and value of trade, despite belonging to a specific culture or country.
After the Meltdown
Lauren recalls her contribution on the “After the Meltdown” investigative series as a significant achievement. The series detailed the aftermath of the US financial crisis of 2007-2008.
Lauren worked on the series as a finance reporting intern for the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization based in Washington, D.C. It was a winning moment for her when she and her fellow reporters won the 2013 George Polk award for Business Reporting and a 2013 Sigma Delta Chi award for excellence in journalism from The Society of Professional Journalists for the same series. Not one to rest on her laurels, she left for the land of her dreams, China, to see what more she would learn.
“What I learned from my time as an investigative journalist was that if I was persistent, and I had an ear to the ground, there was nothing that I couldn’t accomplish.”
Building bridges across US-China trade relations
During her internship as a Research Assistant at the Hinrich Foundation, Lauren conducted research on a broad range of topics related to global trade and investment, focusing specifically on the FDI environment in China. In addition to executing research projects and writing policy briefs, Lauren created a website dedicated to FDI.
In her current role as Research Associate, Lauren conducts research and provides support for the Hinrich Foundation’s International Trade Research program. The program’s key initiatives include the Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index, FDI in China research and the TradeVistas website partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). TradeVistas is an online resource that provides fact-based context in which to understand international trade.
Lauren reports to Stephen Olson, her mentor, and has had the privilege of co-authoring a whitepaper on how US companies and China have grown increasingly dependent on each other through FDI.
Teamwork across time zones
“Teamwork is all about communication.” Lauren feels that teamwork is all about developing relationships with clear intent and communication. “The teams I work with are scattered all over Asia and I am based in the US, but when it comes to deliverables, we are able to put things in perspective and come together as one team.”
Lauren finds the concept of teamwork across time zones fascinating and feels the purpose of trade industry has evolved from the age-old system of barter to this unique synergy of bringing people, cultures and products together.
“Personally and professionally, I strongly believe that you can achieve anything if you work hard and believe in yourself,” said Lauren.
Love and gratitude for family and the world around her form the core of her belief-system. The mention of her loving family has her tearing up and she attributes their faith in her and support to be the guiding light that brightened her journey from the small town of Holliston in Massachusetts, to Beijing, to her current location in New York. She is immensely proud of her small-town roots and very pragmatic in the way she views her accomplishments.
Lauren is extremely thankful to the Hinrich Foundation for opening the door to the path toward success.
“First, my gratitude goes to my parents for shaping my values and helping me believe that a small-town girl from Holliston could go live and study in China and have an international career. And second, I am immensely grateful to the Hinrich Foundation for opening so many doors, including an important door into the real world where I could use my skills and make a difference!”
Impacting the world
Amid all of her winning traits of ambition, perseverance and unassuming brilliance, perhaps what drives Lauren hardest is her insatiable curiosity. Her vision is to keep researching interesting trade topics day in and day out and keep writing about them. She wants to keep shedding light on the processes and ways and means of international trade, and to go on telling her stories in a way that brings people of various cultures together.
“Just simple explanations of how trade affects people and their livelihoods can influence their way of thinking and cultivate greater understanding amongst countries,” Lauren emphasized.
Treat every opportunity as a gift
As always, Lauren’s nugget of advice comes wrapped within a story. “My grandparents always say, the harder you work, the luckier you get!” It has been her mantra since she was in high-school and she continues to follow it.
Lauren thinks every opportunity is a priceless gift and as such, it is important to treat it with utmost care. “As young people, its important to continue learning more about the world around us and transforming ourselves into better people, in order to make the world a better place!”
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