AMCHAM Thailand Foundation Scholarship Alumni: Anucha Wood

AMCHAM Thailand Foundation Scholarship Alumni: Anucha Wood

Meet Anucha Wood, a 2011 and 2012 recipient of the AMCHAM Thailand Foundation’s Student Scholarship program, which provides scholarships for exceptional undeserved students.

I was born and raised in a very small and remote area in Sikhiu District, Korat. There are less than 500 people in my village. I am the first generation in my family to pursue a college degree. All the villagers are farmers, including my family. Growing up in a farm, I would never ever envision my life as it is today.  Before me, my dad held the highest degree in the family, a high school diploma. My mom, who has six siblings, could not even complete fourth grade due to financial difficulties. When I went to college at Mahasarakham University, I had no idea what I would do after I graduated.  I had no guidance as my parents had never been to college before - farming was the only career they knew.

As I was looking for a scholarship, I was introduced to AMCHAM, which not only provided a financial support, but also offered opportunities to explore and learn. During the program, I was invited to join a Career Camp in Bangkok and visit different companies to learn about their business platforms. Because of that event, I realized I wanted to work in the hospitality industry! Therefore, right after graduation, my first job was a Sales Reservation Agent at the JW Marriott Bangkok, an AMCHAM member company.

I wanted to explore more about this industry, so I decided to move to the United States by myself. It was tough at first because of my finances, culture, and language. Also, I do not have any family members in the States. I studied ESL and worked in a Thai restaurant to save money until I had enough for school fees. In 2017, I was accepted to the Master Global Hospitality Management at Georgia State University in Atlanta.  During my last semester, I was lucky enough to receive an offer at the InterContinental Hotels Buckhead as a Human Resources Coordinator. My role was to support an HR function for over 500 employees.

As my international experiences were unusual in the market, I was featured in a local newspaper article titled School to Work Hotel Career Pipeline. It was a super proud moment seeing myself in a US article even though it was a short one. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is the third largest hotel company in the world, with four headquarters around the globe: London, China, Singapore, and Atlanta, where I currently live. I am very enthusiastic and always strive to explore more about the company as well as the hospitality industry worldwide. Eventually, I was promoted to be a Human Resources Specialist at IHG corporate in the US headquarter. My current role is to provide HR full cycle support to almost a hundred managed hotels across the US. I have now been with the company for almost four years and truly love what I do. Hopefully, I will continue growing as the company grows and recovers from the pandemic.

The journey from being a Thai country farm boy to a US corporate employee is surreal. I am living the American dream. I am so grateful and thankful for all the incredible opportunities I have been receiving. I am so proud of all my achievements. Thank you AMCHAM for shining the light for me at the beginning. Without your guidance, I might still be lost. Thank you to my parents for listening and supporting from across the world. I always say I am super lucky to be here. There are so many other children out there waiting for the same opportunity. I truly want that for them. I strongly hope that one day I will go back home and give back so they can have better opportunities and brighter future.

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