What has inspired you to stay at Bernstein for as long as you have?
I love what I do. In 1998, I joined the firm with the sole intention of building my career here. Upon discovering the unique culture, there was nowhere else I could have imagined working. While that was the initial draw, our industry-wide reputation for hiring the highest-caliber talent with a relentless work ethic sold me completely. In my many years at Bernstein, I have experienced firsthand how our unparalleled camaraderie leads to personal and professional growth. I fully attribute the diverse opportunities I’ve been offered here to the tremendous support of my colleagues and managers. My personal mission is to continue to foster a culture around intelligence and empathy. To ensure that our collaborative, smart and ethical team is successful, I encourage the unique ingredients they bring to the table while also aligning with our core values: universal respect, constructive feedback and making the best decisions for all. I wholeheartedly believe my approach benefits clients as well.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
My mom was self-driven, profoundly compassionate and authentic. She came from a working-class household in Erie, PA, paid for college herself, earned a scholarship to graduate school and became an accomplished medical professional. As a lifelong learner and adventurer, she traveled to over 90 countries, taught herself Farsi and spent time abroad training healthcare workers in the Peace Corps. Out of the countless life skills and values she taught me, two core principles still inform my daily actions: keep learning (everything from arts and history to music) and listen. She adopted my sister and me from Korea and encouraged us to respect different cultures and perspectives. While she never directed me to a career in finance, she supported my belief in financial empowerment. In her words, "You always need to be able to take care of yourself and your money." True to her character, she quietly gave herself knowledge. The focus was never on her glory. Her reward was impacting others.
If you didn’t work for Bernstein, what else would you be doing?
I am a self-proclaimed pragmatic idealist, meaning I want to create realistic solutions to global issues that keep me awake at night. While I believe in a more cohesive, purposeful world, I would also take a grounded approach when dealing with issues I care about, from the environment to financial literacy. My big-picture goal would be to create better opportunities for others and provide them with the autonomy and sense of self I was generously given at a young age. To deliver on this desire, I envision myself as a serial entrepreneur whose companies focus on eliminating the separation between for good and profit. I’d pull from my own professional and life lessons to figure out the best way to build companies that solve food insecurity, as it irks me that so many lack the basics. I would also provide nonprofits with pro bono financial educational services. To honor my creative spirit, I get back to telling stories through screenplays and books.