Global Perspectives series: Public Affairs best practices & Trends

SEAP is organising and event in partnership with our profession representatives from ASIA and the US to have a better understanding of how the profession is progressing in different parts of the world, and to exchange best practices that can lead to an improved representation of the sector across the world. This is an opportunity to build the bridges between different continents and forge new partnerships while exchanging valuable information.

To this end, SEAP has invited senior experts from the US and ASIA to have an open discussion about the industry.

Date and time: 4 April at 2pm (CET)  REGISTER on EVENTBRITE

If you’re not a member of SEAP, please get in touch with us via email:


Jocelyn Hong (US Perspective)

President of President of the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics (NILE)

Jocelyn Hong, is a recognized leader in getting her clients the results they seek at the federal level. With over 20 years of experience as a bi-partisan lobbyist. She has successfully pushed through many pieces of stand-alone legislation for her clients and fought against surprise amendments brought up during the debate of complex bills.
She is the chair of the H Street Group, an informal organization of over 100 Asian American lobbyists. Jocelyn is a founding board member of the Asian American Action Fund, which is dedicated to supporting Asian Americans for elected office.
Jocelyn started her career in Washington as staff for U.S. Senator John Glenn and a U.S. Congressman who served on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder.
Recognized by her peers, Jocelyn received the 2021 and 2020 Top Lobbyist Award by The National Institute For Lobbying & Ethics and has been selected to serve as its president for 2022.

Jocelyn Hong

Steven R. Okun (ASIA Perspective)

A leader on corporate public affairs, communications, sustainability, and stakeholder engagement in Asia Pacific, Steven Okun serves as CEO of
APAC Advisors, an ESG consultancy in the private capital sector, and as Senior Advisor for global strategic consultancy McLarty Associates.

In his roles, he empowers clients, ranging from global corporations and financial service firms to social enterprises and NGOs, by providing counsel
on expanding and protecting a company’s license to operate across all markets through engagement with key stakeholders and how best to navigate the collision of business, government, and media.

The AmChams of Asia Pacific, the umbrella organization of 27 American Chambers of Commerce promoting trade and investment between Asia-
Pacific and the United States, elected Steven as its Chair for 2022-23.

As KKR’s first Director of Asia Public Affairs from 2011-2017, his responsibilities encompassed government affairs, communications, stakeholder engagement, and sustainability.

From 2003-2010, he created and led Asia public affairs for UPS.

Since 2017, Steven serves as the Senior Advisor in Southeast Asia for the Global Private Capital Association.

Awarded a Special Service Commendation in the Clinton Administration for his service as Deputy General Counsel at the Department of Transportation, he served in the US government from 1994-1999.

He represents the views of the business community across global media, including CNBC, CNA, and TRT, contributes commentary to The Straits
Times, and does a weekly international segment for Singapore’s MONEYFM.

He received his B.A. from the University of Virginia and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Steven Okun


Shakilla Shahjihan (ASIA Perspective)

Shakilla Shahjihan is Divisional Vice President, Government Affairs at Abbott based in Singapore. She and her team members across
strategic markets in the region lead external stakeholder engagement to help drive business priorities.

With over 5 years of working experience in Abbott, she is a trusted business partner of Abbott’s nutrition, devices, diagnostics and pharmaceuticals businesses. She joined Abbott as Director, Government Affairs.

Prior to Abbott, Shakilla was Monsanto’s Corporate Affairs Lead for Asia Pacific where she led a capable team to drive acceptance for
technology in Agriculture. Shakilla joined Monsanto in 2008 as Regional Marketing Lead. She was then promoted to Country Lead, Thailand where she was leading Monsanto Thailand’s business for 2 years, based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Shakilla’s experience in the healthcare industry includes her role as Regional Government Affairs Manager for South East Asia in Boston Scientific; and various positions in sales, marketing and corporate affairs in Merck Sharp & Dohme.

She chairs Women Leaders of Abbott (WLA) Asia. She is Honorary Secretary of the Board of Governors in AmCham Singapore. She chairs the Government Affairs Committee of APACMED (Asia Pacific Medical Technology Association); and is an active participant of the Management Committee of APIYCNA (Asia Pacific Infant and Young Children Nutrition Association).

Shakilla holds a Bachelor of Science degree and an Executive MBA from the National University of Singapore.

Her passion is to help young women discover their full potential. She is a mentor at the Asian University for Women. She also enjoys discovering new places, the arts and yoga.

Shakilla Shahjihan

Paul Varakas, SEAP President (European perspective)

Paul Varakas is the Director General of the European Cigar Manufacturers Association (ECMA). In this role, Paul represents cigar manufacturers towards EU institutions and in national capitals. Before joining ECMA, he worked as an Account Director at Red Flag leading pan-European communications, regulatory and government affairs campaigns for global and European clients. He also has experience in the European Hunting Federation and the Council of the European Union. In addition, Paul holds a M.A. in EU Studies from UCL/St Louis University (Brussels). A French national, he speaks English, French and Spanish and is currently learning Finnish.

Paul Varakas


Moderated by
Yiannis Korkovelos, SEAP Board Member

Yiannis is a Greek national based in Brussels working in public policy and European affairs, leading engagements with government officials, non-government stakeholders such as business chambers, trade associations and other non-profit organizations. Prior to that, Yiannis was based in Singapore for six years having worked at the European Chamber of Commerce, responsible for the coordination of policy positions and industry advocacy maintaining relations with stakeholders and policy makers from Singapore, ASEAN and the EU. Yiannis is a Committee member of ALLILONnet, an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit initiative offering mentoring to young Greeks around the world. He holds a MSc from the London School of Economics in Political Economy of Europe and a BA in Politics & Economics from Sussex University. He speaks fluently English, French and Greek.

Yiannis Korkovelos


Welcome remarks


Society Of European Public Affairs Professionals (SEAP)
Panel discussion Moderator: SEAP
10mins American perspective, The National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics (NILE)

  • The role of NILE
  • How PA in the US is transforming & 3 key trends


10mins Asia Perspective

  • 3 key trends in PA in Asia
  • Tips: learnings for successful campaigns in Asian contact


10mins European Perspective, Society of European Public Affairs (SEAP)

  • The role of SEAP
  • 3 key trends in PA in Brussels/EU






Register on Eventbrite

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Date / Heure
Date(s) - 04/04/2022
14 h 00 min - 15 h 00 min

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