SFU alumnus narrowly misses “best job in the world“

Recent grad Salina Siu made the top 25 for Tourism Australia’s Chief Funster

By Alison Roach
Photo courtesy of Salina Siu

When Tourism Australia announced they were holding a contest for six dream jobs, they received 620,000 applications from 196 countries. The most popular of the six positions was Chief Funster, with over 20 per cent of applications going for the position.
The Chief Funster job is a year-long position where the winner will review festivals and events, tweet and blog about their experiences, and be a “Sydney VIP,” all while getting paid to live and play in Australia.

Among all those hopefuls was Salina Siu, a 24-year-old SFU grad with a passion for social media, marketing, and event organization. Sui graduated last October with a degree in business and a minor in publishing. “I took a lot of marketing classes, I took a social media class, so that stuff helped me develop my skills for trying to run for Chief Funster,” said Siu.
Siu made it past the first two rounds of cuts in the competition and into the top 25 before missing out on the top three. Two of the applicants still in the running are American, while the third is from the UK.

Applicants for the Chief Funster position were required to post a 30-second video introducing themselves and why they were right for the job. Siu was told about the competition by a friend, and decided to give it a shot. “I obviously wanted to try, even though I didn’t want to get my hopes up because I was sure it was a very difficult competition, but I thought I would submit the video and see what happens,” Siu said with a laugh.
Siu herself has a YouTube channel, where she gives do-it-yourself tutorials on t-shirt cutting and alterations, using only a pair of scissors. Siu explained that she actually didn’t know much about YouTube before she started, but noticed a lack in those type of videos and wanted to learn how to make videos herself.
Two years later, Siu has over 30 videos and 60,000 subscribers internationally. “That was kind of the kickstart to me thinking ‘wow, social media can do a lot.’ It’s really grown into a community,” she said.
The second round of the competition asked the remaining applicants to get as much PR and high-profile endorsements as possible in two weeks. “I had to write a press release, I had to get people to help me contact newspapers and try to get media appearances. That was really good experience for me, learning about PR,” Siu explained.
Siu appeared on CTV, 104.9 SONiC radio station, the Global News website, and several local newspapers. She also managed to score endorsements from Global BC meteorologist Wesla Wong, and SFU President Andrew Petter, who created a video in support of Siu. “I’m really glad we have such a great president who is willing to do silly things . . . Even though I’m an alumnus now too,” said Siu, “I never knew how fun he was!”
Even though Siu’s time in the contest has now ended, she isn’t going to let the opportunity go to waste. “I got so many PR appearances that it’s definitely going to help me in the future. It’s going to help my portfolio, and it’s going to be online still. I’m really happy for that, for what I’ve accomplished,” said Siu.
For now, Siu is focusing on her own projects back home. She’s currently working on a social media conference called “OMG Social Media,” along with fellow SFU students Lesley Yuen, Cindy Cheng, Grace Yang, and Christina Buiza. The aim of the conference is to give small business owners who are not well-versed in social media an overview of what they need to know in a world of tweets and blogs.
The day-long event will be held on Aug. 15, at SFU Segal Graduate School of Business downtown, include speakers and experts on social media, and host 100 attendees.
Beyond that, Siu plans on continuing to grow her YouTube channel, and to plan for travelling in the future. “I definitely want to stay in social media and marketing because that’s my passion, [and] I do definitely want to travel, even though I’m not going to be able to go on this trip,” Siu said. “I do one day hope to go to Australia, and see the world.”