Q: Can you share your current role with us as well as why you immigrated to the U.S.?
A: I am currently a Senior Treasury Manager at Applied Materials. Previously, I worked at HP and KB Kookmin Bank.
I came to the U.S. for my MBA, which was sponsored by KB Kookmin Bank, where I was working at the time. So, my original plan was to return to Korea upon completion of my MBA. However, I met my husband while I was here, and I decided to stay in the U.S.
Q: Can you elaborate on your professional journey after coming to the U.S. as well as the challenges you faced?
A: I got my first job in the U.S. when a company came on campus during my MBA program. This first job, however, was in Philadelphia, and I later had to find a job in the Silicon Valley to be with my husband. This time around was a lot tougher. I really needed to polish my resume, and I applied to more than 100 jobs. I had an especially difficult time with phone interviews because I was less confident speaking in English. Another challenge was VISA. Some companies avoid sponsoring VISA’s because it costs money and time.
Once I started working and got into the professional world, it was a lot easier to develop my career. Companies help develop you. They have online courses and leadership workshops that force you to think about your career path.
Q: How do you maintain a work-life balance as a working mom?
A: I always try to think about my legacy and how I will be remembered by my three-year-old daughter. Pursuing my passions means that I will lose quality time with my daughter – but I will also be showing my daughter that it is important to follow her passions. I believe that emptying yourself and giving yourself completely to someone else is not sustainable, and you won’t be happy. You need to fill yourself up first and then give the overflowing happiness to others.
I think you need to have a really supportive partner and family, otherwise it is difficult to be a working mom – my husband drops off and picks up my daughter more often than I do. It is also important to keep your priorities straight. If you think your job is important, put all of your effort there. If you want to maintain a balance, you have to give up some things. I myself place priority on family and community rather than pursuing career ambitions. In the end, which job title I hold is not important. I want to be remembered as the kind of person that I am.
Q: You have been playing a crucial role at Simple Steps. How did you get involved?
A: I first met Doyeon in December 2016 at a brunch gathering. We happened to sit next to each other, and we shared a passion for helping others through nonprofits. When Doyeon asked me to join the Board of Directors at Simple Steps, I said yes without any hesitation. Throughout these past 2 years, we have shaped everything together. In particular, we have faced a sort of chicken and egg problem. We need resources to do meaningful work through Simple Steps, but we also need to do meaningful work in order to get resources.
Looking back, I didn’t imagine this big of a community when we first started out. I talked with many women at our 2nd Anniversary Party. They were very interested in rebuilding their careers and actively networked during the event. I could see that people were asking and getting advice, and I can see a bright future ahead of us. Once people are helped, they want to help others.
Q: As the treasury team works closely with the accounting team, do you have any other advice for our members, especially those who are looking to go into treasury/accounting?
A: If you want to pursue a career or passion, do it. If you don’t do it, you might regret it. Pursue your passions, and your whole family will be happy – not just yourself.
To those who would like to go into the accounting side, it is easy to get in once you have a CPA. You can start to work in a bookkeeping position as long as you know how to use Quickbooks. There are a lot of online training courses on Quickbooks.