POSCO Women Leadership Series #2: Interview with Young Choi of Daewoo International

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Are you a woman in the workforce looking for some good career advice? We are back again today to share advice from the voice of another female leader at POSCO. Meet Young Choi, a female executive at Daewoo International who is responsible for corporate responsibility.

Executive responsible for CR at Daewoo International

Please share with us your experience in applying to POSCO as well as your time here since then.

2Pictured here: Young Choi at Daewoo International

In February of 1990, I graduated from university and started working at a bank but soon realized that this was not the path I wanted to take. One day I came across an advertisement on the first page of the daily newspaper.

It read, “Pohang Steelworks (the company name at the time) is seeking talented people. Do you think you are forward thinking and ambitious? Do you still think your career is a temporary state before marriage? How about joining Pohang Steelworks to build a better today for tomorrow?” I was immediately hooked.

Looking back, the ad was very cheesy but for women looking for career opportunities, the copy was right to the point. The fact that a steel manufacturing company wanted to help women with career advancement was very forward-thinking at the time. The ad successfully attracted over 2,000 applicants to take an entrance exam for 50 spots.

As I inherently had interest in advertising copy, after joining POSCO I became involved in business culture, PR, corporate image, advertisement planning, media relations and internal communications. I also gradually got involved in corporate social contribution activities as well.

I have focused much of my work on figuring out how to best deliver POSCO’s values in a way that resonates well with the general public. I have been responsible for advertising that captures the corporate brand visually. As difficult as figuring out the direction of ads is, I feel most satisfaction when I see that many people like the POSCO advertisements.

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“This ad integrates the symbol for steel ‘Fe’ into the word Festival to highlight the many cultural activities that POSCO is a part of. The site for the ad was at the Light Festival in Pohang so it makes the ad that much more meaningful.” “The ‘$5 dollar bike’ features a stranger comforting a brother who wants to buy his younger brother a bicycle. So many people liked this ad that parodies of this were shown on a popular Korean comedy show.” “Illustrated ad to revamp the overall corporate image to be more lively and sophisticated. The TV ad included the popular shuffle dance which was very well received!”

 

When did you feel the most satisfaction while working at POSCO?

7Pictured here: Young Choi during a volunteer event

For those of you who have been at one workplace for a long period of time, the workplace becomes a large of your life. Since I joined the company, I have gotten married and also made a family. This has been possible thanks to the strong support system I have at the company.

At POSCO, I have made efforts to ensure that POSCO gives back to the community. When I see people relate and respond to POSCO’s CSR efforts, I feel much fulfilled. From TV ads to organizing a variety of POSCO concerts over the past 14 years, to creating schools in Zimbabwe, POSCO has been dedicated to communicating and giving back to the community. It is seeing the positive influence that POSCO is having on the community that makes me feel like my work is meaningful.

What are your main responsibilities in the CR sector at Daewoo International?

I am responsible for media relations, internal communication, advertising, CSR and external affairs. The work boundaries seem to be expanding as Daewoo International is the number 1 domestic trading company, so it must do a lot of global marketing and there are many issues to handle.

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From entry level to executive, more on Young Choi’s career path

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As a woman leader, we would like to listen to your views on strength of women leaders.

I believe that many women employees have strong responsibility skills. They are very good at seeing their responsibilities from start to finish. In addition, women have the ability to juggle and multi-task which is a great skill to have at the office. This skill of juggling allows women to not only care for work relationships in the office, but also to manage other relationships and respond to changing emotions.

What are some difficulties that women employees face and what is your advice to handle these tough situations?

Women employees need to think about work, marriage, birth, childcare so sometimes it can feel like a 3000 m huddle race. During this period, one needs to mature in the workplace and also adapt to family life. Huddle racers plan their races in advance and analyze the obstacles ahead. Likewise, it is important for women to plan 3 to 5 years ahead. I was not very good at this so I had moments of difficulty. I sometimes wish I had known to plan ahead. If one can paint the big picture, one can face the challenges and overcome them more easily.

What is your secret to finding work-life balance?

I think that time management is very important. Depending on how you use your time, the results will be very different. Using your smartphone calendar and notebook, create a to-do list and prioritize your tasks in order to manage your time wisely.

Please share your role as a female leader at Daewoo International

Daewoo was established in 1967, and placed South Korea on the world map through its management philosophies. Enduring the difficulties of the work out in 2000, Daewoo was incorporated into POSCO in 2010 and is pioneering the path for overseas resource development and reviving the business fighting spirit. It has been building synergy with other POSCO holding companies as well.

If POSCO can lead the steel industry with its strong organizational structure and management capabilities, Daewoo can be a trading expert company that makes connections to pursue new opportunities and be profitable.

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Combining the strengths of these two companies, I want to create new business opportunities and more value. I’d like start with building transparency and improving communication so that Daewoo’s domestic and foreign businesses meet global standards. I would like you to say that at Daewoo, “Resources are finite and original ideas are infinite”.

What advice can you give for women employees?

My mentors told me that work life was a long-drawn-out battle so I should not suffer a big loss in going after a small game and instead go step-by-step…I want to give the same advice. In particular, teamwork in an organization is like a live creature that wriggles and moves depending on different circumstances. Within an organization, it is important to have an open heart to avoid becoming an isolated island by developing prejudices and not communicating properly.  One should always keep in mind that the part makes up the whole, the colleague or boss in front of me is my company, and everyone deserves to be treated sincerely. 

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Do you feel more empowered after reading this post? Hope you enjoyed our second women leadership series featuring Young Choi. Please look forward to our next post!

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