Everyone Needs a “Best Friend” at Their Workplace
보스톤코리아  2011-05-02, 16:12:59 
SunHee Choi

Tell us about your background.

I was born in Korea and moved to the U.S. at the age of 8 and I studied economics/international studies at Cornell University. Prior to starting my consulting firm, I was Vice President of Human Resources/Talent Development at JP Morgan, and Director of Recruiting at Deloitte & Touche and Resources Connection. Currently, I also work as an Advisor to the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force/Center for Work-Life Policy creators of recent Harvard Business Review studies.
Based on my professional experience, I have written a book for young professionals, “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: The Essential Guide to Getting In, Moving Up, and Reaching the Top.”, and I would like to mention that I wrote the book specifically for Asian professionals who want to reach their full potential at work.
Now I am President and Founder of Hyun & Associates, a consulting company that provides leadership development and coaching solutions to internationally renown companies.

What is Hyun & Associates?

Hyun & Associates is a consulting firm that provides leadership development and coaching solutions to Fortune 500 companies, schools and nonprofit organizations. We work with leading edge companies who are interested in developing their employees. We provide training programs, coaching programs, and give lectures for audiences as large as 1000 in a variety of locations, including the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Tell us about your book "Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling".

Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling is a career strategies guide for Asians who want to “break through” the bamboo ceiling. I define bamboo ceiling as a combination of individual and organizational factors that keep Asians out of the top management posts of organizations. For example, there are cultural differences that are misinterpreted by non-Asians and create perceptions of Asians that don’t fully grasp the situation.

What event inspired you to study the subject?

I have always had an interest in helping people reach their full potential in life, and in the workplace. And, when I looked at the Koreans that I knew (and other Asians) it appeared that the parents placed a significant focus on academics without really understanding what it takes once you graduate from college and start working in the corporation, law firm, etc. As you rise in these institutions, it is important that you work hard, but it is also important to know how to manage conflict, lead diverse teams, and be effective at communicating with others.
Having worked in a highly competitive Wall Street environment, I recognized the importance of helping others understand this dynamic.

What are top 3 things that Asians should keep in mind to advance in their careers?

1) Know thyself. Continue to learn more about what skills are your true core skills. Pay attention to what you enjoy doing and also have the talent for.
2) Build strong networks and invest time in developing mentors. I have a chapter in my book called “Superior Mentoring Strategies.” I highly recommend that every college student reads before working for a company.
3) When you begin working for a new organization, get to know the corporate culture of the organization. Try to understand how things work and identify any barriers that you don’t understand. Find someone who can be your “buddy” at work who can help you! Research has shown that everyone needs a “best friend” at their workplace!

Do you have any special plans in the future?

I would like to continue to strategize about how to develop Asian leaders, conduct more research on local Asian companies based in Korea, China, etc. as well as help companies develop solutions to help them develop their talent. I am also working on my next book about leadership/management! We also continue to run leadership development programs with companies and select undergraduate/graduate schools so that we can prepare the emerging talent to be prepared for the next 10 years!.

ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지
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