Mei-Mei's career highlights
Aspiring writer around age 12
First press pass as a cub reporter for The Commercial-News in Danville, IL, a Gannett paper where she met her future husband, Randy Kirk
One of Mei-Mei's first bylines as a cub reporter at The Commercial-News in Danville, IL in 1981.
Mei-Mei was one of the original "loaners" from Gannett papers who went to Washington DC to help start up USA Today in 1982.
USA Today commemorative gift to employees on its fifth birthday in 1987.
With Estee Lauder as a reporter for USA Today around 1985
Flying high as executive editor of the Post Register in Idaho Falls, ID
With Connie Chung, James Hattori, Bill Woo, Ken Kashiwahara and Dinah Eng of the Asian American Journalists Association around 1990
Making the big transition from afternoon to morning publication for The Seattle Times as VP of Circulation in 2000
Mei-Mei was head of circulation at The Seattle Times when the tragedies of 9/11 occurred. She helped plan and produce special editions for The Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that afternoon.
Mei-Mei was named the top sales executive for large newspapers by the Newspaper Association of America in 2033
As The Seattle Times VP of Advertising, working out with the Seagals in 2007 when the Seahawks made it to the Super Bowl
Seattle Times advertising team with NBA star Lenny Wilkens in 2007
To alleviate stress and build teamship, Mei-Mei wrote and produced a Monty Python spoof (before Spamalot) for the Seattle Times circulation leadership in 2004.
Former News-Press president Carol Hudler hired Mei-Mei and introduced her to the community in spring of 2010.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott visits The News-Press with Executive Terry Eberle.
Commencement speaker for Hodges University in 2011, a tremendous honor.
Mei-Mei developed a series of regional summits focusing on education, workforce and economic development while at The News-Press.
The News-Press coverage of FGCU's Cinderella "Dunk City" basketball team in 2013 was featured by ESPN and others.
The News-Press supported many causes and events, like the annual Grande Dame tea that Mei-Mei emceed, with proceeds supporting the PACE center for girls.
Magic Johnson gets an arm rest when in Fort Myers to support the Quality Life Center.
The Bushes hold an annual Celebration of Reading in Southwest Florida and include VIP portraits. In 2012, Mei-Mei and Randy get shot with perhaps the next POTUS.
With Gracia Martore, CEO of Gannett until 2015, then CEO of TEGNA when Gannett separated its newspaper and broadcast divisions.
As President of The News-Press in Fort Myers, FL, Mei-Mei was one of three finalists for manager of the year in 2014 for the Gannett company.
To help develop leadership skills and knowledge to be prepared for greater opportunities, Mei-Mei created a publisher's summer school series of classes in 2013 at The News-Press. Here are the graduates.
Mei-Mei created Workforce Now, a unique research collaboration between FGCU, SFW and Hodges Universities to identify current and future workforce needs. Here with Chris Westley of FGCU, Aysegul Timur of Hodges and John Meyer of FSW. Not pictured: Gary Jackson of FGCU.
Mei-Mei received the Apex award in 2013 from the Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Women in Business.
The News-Press leadership team with boss Michael Kane, president of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
On Nov. 22, 2014, the News-Press celebrated 130 years without ever missing a day of publication.
Born in Canton, China, Mei-Mei and her parents immigrated to Chicago when she was 7. As English is her second language, she never dreamt of a career in journalism. She has often said, “I am the American dream come true.”
Her unusual mix of executive experience in news, circulation, advertising and consumer marketing culminated in her leading The News-Press, based in Fort Myers, FL., as President and Publisher from 2010-2015, and becoming Florida Regional President for Gannett in 2013.
During her tenure there, she was lauded for being a bold catalyst for community advancement, sparking a regional focus on education, workforce and economic development. She earned a variety of local and regional awards along with three Gannett honors: finalist for 2014 manager of the year; Award for Diversity and Leadership received in 2012; President’s Ring for 2010 achievements.
Throughout her career, she was among the few Asian Americans at the top levels including as executive editor of the Post-Register in Idaho Falls, ID.
She served as an industry leader on the importance of diversity, including as an officer in the Asian American Journalists Association and the (now defunct) National Association of Minority Media Executives. She famously told a conference of publishers, "You all look alike."
She was among the first Gannett “loaners” to help start up USA Today in 1982, and wrote the first cover story for the (now defunct) USA Weekend magazine. In 2013, she oversaw the integration of USA Today content into The News-Press, which was among the first four papers to lead the way for the Gannett content strategy.
She managed through the industry’s last major newspaper strike in 2000 as the Vice President of Circulation at The Seattle Times, publishing and delivering every day during the 49-day labor action.
She met her husband, Randy Kirk, at the Commercial-News in Danville, IL, when she was a cub reporter and he was the assistant managing editor. They celebrated their 33rd anniversary in 2015.