March 8, Seoul – To celebrate the International Women’s Day, GGGI held a special panel discussion under the theme of “Mentoring, Coaching and Sponsorship,” at its Seoul headquarters on March 8, inviting renowned speakers to share their insights, experience and opinions about gender equality and women’s empowerment. The event was intended to inspire and prepare the next generation of women leaders for successful careers and lives.
Panel speakers included Hyoeun Jenny Kim, GGGI’s Deputy Director-General and Head of Green Growth Planning and Implementation Division (GGP&I); Angela Joo-Hyun Kang, Founder and Executive President of Global Competitiveness Empowerment Forum (GCEF), a non-profit research institute; Jaung Ah Lee, Founder of Africa Capacity Building Community and Coach Kpc, Acc, C-Iq® Certified; and Peter Vos, GGGI’s Deputy Director and Water Sector Lead. Christel Adamou, GGGI’s Head of Human Resources moderated the session.
Hyoeun Jenny Kim said that Korea has experienced dramatic change, especially when it comes to gender issues, over the past 20 years. She added that “In the past, I have experienced gender discrimination, and of course, it’s a great challenge for working women not just in Korea but globally. However, it’s important to find a colleague who can encourage you to keep going, overcome your fears and reach your full potential. I would like to become a colleague who can encourage, support and coach other colleagues and I would like to contribute to building a positive constructive culture in an organization.”
Jaung Ah Lee explained that “Coaching is viewed as a partnership between a coach and another education professional. This relationship will help to bring out the potential in the coachee and address purposeful improvement goals. Often, counseling is seen as a negative while sponsoring is about providing moral support and advocating junior staff to grow in the organization.”
Angela Joo-Hyun Kang said that working with tough bosses and under pressure has made her stronger and added that although it was a challenge for her, she was able to eventually prove her strengths and ability. She continued by saying that proving yourself and showing your value sets the foundation for the success of your career.
When the panel speakers were asked about whether it is possible to have it all in terms of balancing between work and personal life, many commented that in a male-dominated society like in Korea, the culture and the environment may not be conducive enough for women. There is an urgency, especially in the Korean society, to change the existing culture and the environment.
“For example, at GGGI, we have five values: Integrity, Transformational, Boldness, Excellence and Inclusive. We are driving the core values of the organization to make the environment more conducive for staff. There is a circle of staff, brainstorming, thinking together, designing the framework, how we would like to frame the organization’s values; all staff may have a direct impact in shaping the culture of our organization” said Christel Adamou, GGGI’s Head of Human Resources.
Peter Vos raised an important point that “In most cases, we need to fight and work for the things that we want to achieve. The environment will never be conducive enough for all individuals.” Thinking back to his past, he said that he has a positive experience working in a women-oriented environment.”