Building Trade Ties with South Korea’s Emerging Female Leaders
In recent years, the Republic of Korea has been at the forefront of establishing trade and economic partnerships with countries across the globe. However, the negotiators and diplomats responsible for forging these deals have long been predominantly male. With more highly educated and qualified women entering government and related private sector jobs, the lack of female mentors and role models has become a barrier to their career growth and success. This reality can have a limiting effect on their career trajectory and ability to reach positions of leadership and impacts the overall interests of the country.
In light of this, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) launched the initiative “Building Trade Ties with Korea’s Emerging Female Leaders” in partnership with the Korea Foundation. In its inaugural cohort, ASPI hosted a cohort of seven Korean female trade professionals, with a goal of empowering them to be leaders in their field as well as strengthening ties between the U.S. and Korea. In 2021, due to the pandemic, a virtual program was held over a two-month period for 20 women across multiple sectors. Following its previous successes, ASPI hosted another in-person program in 2022 for six women to meet and learn from inspiring leaders in the in finance, media, and tech industries in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Silicon Valley.
This initiative aims to promote the career development of up-and-coming women in trade, provide them with training and mentorship to thrive in their respective careers, and support their professional development as Korea’s next generation of female trade negotiators and experts.
ASPI's success in empowering early career Korean female trade professionals has led to the launch of similar programs for Japanese and ASEAN women. In the first quarter of 2022, the virtual Japanese Emerging Female Leaders program, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, successfully concluded. Another cohort of Japanese women in trade ended in March 2023. Additionally, a separate group of Japanese women working for Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry launched their first cohort in 2022 with funding from the Japan External Trade Organization. The ASEAN’s Emerging Female Leaders program, launched in early 2022, also ended successfully, with ASPI Vice President Wendy Cutler’s visit to Singapore in February 2023. ASPI envisions that the Emerging Female Leaders program will grow with each new group and eventually transform into a wide network of working female trade professionals, experts, and leaders across Asia.
More About the Building Trade Ties with Korea’s Emerging Female Leaders Program
The program presents the opportunity for female professionals from the Republic of Korea with interest and experience in international trade to participate in an intensive program in the U.S. featuring workshops, briefings, and capacity-building exercises.
The program focuses on developing skills and competencies for trade negotiations and working in the trade field more broadly. It seeks to deepen understanding of trade negotiations and trade policy making, and provides mentorship and guidance for women’s empowerment in the workplace. Sessions cover a range of relevant topics, including:
- Understanding the trade negotiating process
- Gaining negotiating skills, including strategies and tactics, creative problem solving, and “getting to yes”
- Working with the private sector, legislative, and other government ministries through trade policy consultations
- Developing skills to advance in the workplace and providing career development guidance
Building on the success of the cohorts in 2019, 2021 and 2022, and with the generous support of the Korea Foundation, ASPI will be continuing this program in 2023. This year’s program will be held in person and will include an intensive week-long program in the U.S., featuring workshops and briefings in Washington D.C. and New York City, and is tentatively set for July 10th – 15th 2023. The program will cover travel and related expenses, including round-trip airfare from Seoul to the U.S., travel within the U.S., lodging, local transport, and some meals during sessions.
- Age: 40 or under (to be eligible for this year’s cohort of Korea’s Emerging Female Leaders, candidate must be born in or after 1983.)
- Language Skills: Fluent in spoken and written English
- Professional Experience: Background in a trade-related field and some work experience preferred. Relevant fields include:
- Government agencies involved in international trade
- Private sector and businesses engaged in international trade
- Legal professions, particularly related to trade law
- Other relevant trade backgrounds, including academia
- Career Path: Strong interest in continuing to pursue a career in trade.
- Application window opens – March 29, 2023
- Deadline for Application Submissions – May 5, 2023
- Candidates Selected and Notified – May 15, 2023
* Please note this timeline is subject to change.
Application Process and Materials
Applications should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Full Name_Korea’s Emerging Female Leaders Application.”
Applications should include the following:
- Curriculum Vitae or Resume
- Statement of Interest: One-page explanation of why the applicant is interested in the program, what they hope to gain from participation, how they will contribute to the success of the program, and how participation aligns with their career goals.
- 1 Letter of Recommendation
To inquire about the program or submit an application, please send an email to email@example.com.
The third EFL class included:
- Ara Cho, Manager of the International Cooperation Department, Korea International Trade Association (KITA)
- Eun-Young Jeong, Economic Specialist, U.S. Embassy Seoul
- Dewjeong Lee, Deputy Director of the Americas Division, Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE)
- Yuseong Lee, Deputy Director of Strategic Analysis and Coordination Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
- Hee Eun Mun, Research Associate, Lee & Ko Global Commerce Institute
- Mikyeong Won, Deputy Director of the FTA Policy Planning Division, Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE)
2021 Program (Virtual)
The second EFL class included:
- Min Ae Cho, Senior Manager, International Trade Division of the Korea Chamber of Commerce
- Jeongyeon Choi, Deputy Director, Multilateral Trade Cooperation Division of Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
- Jingyeong Choi, Assistant Director, FTA Negotiation Coordination Division of Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
- Jeannie Kim, In-house Legal Counsel at Samsung
- Kyounghwa Kim, Researcher at the Center for Trade Studies and Cooperation
- Min-hee Kim, Senior Manager, Strategy Consulting Group International Trade Practice at KPMG
- Miseon Kim, In-house Legal Counsel at POSCO
- Sujung Kim, Manager, Trade Policy Cooperation Department at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency
- Sung-Eun Ko, Deputy General Manager, International Cooperation Department of Korea International Trade Association
- Sujin Kyung, Attorney at Kim & Chang
- Jumi Lee, Manager, Trade Policy Cooperation Department at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency
- Kwang Bin Lee, Trade Specialist, Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul
- Yoo Song Lee, Paralegal at Kim & Chang and J.D. Candidate at Georgetown Law School
- Mi Jung Lim, Deputy Director, Petroleum Division of Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
- June Park, International Sales Representative at Boeing
- Jieun Shim, Policy & Press Secretary, National Assembly
- Jungmi Shin, Assistant Director, Trade Legal Affairs and Planning Division at Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
- Semi Shin, Assistant Director in the Trade Policy Division at Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
- Ji Yeong Yoo, Associate Research Fellow at the Science and Technology Policy Institute
- Kyungmin Yoon, Deputy Director in the Americas Trade Division at Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
2019 Program (Inagural, in-person)
The first EFL class included:
- Eunhee Bae, second secretary in the East Asian Economic Affairs Division in the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Sunghwa Chung, senior deputy director in the FTA Agreement Services and Investment Division of the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
- Boyeun Kim, deputy Director working in the Korea-U.S. Trade Division in the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE).
- Sung Min Koh, deputy director at the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
- Jahye Park, senior manager at the Hyundai Motor Group
- Song-I Seol, deputy general manager at the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), a Korean private sector trade association
- Ji Yeon Song, attorney at Kim & Chang, one of the most prestigious law firms in Korea
Building a Network of Emerging Female Leaders
Following the programs, Emerging Female Korean Leaders participants returned home with new skills and competencies to lead in their field. As some participants conveyed:
“This program was a turning point for me to pursue my career as a leader.” – Song-I Seol, KITA.
“My attitude toward life and the workplace has changed after taking this webinar.” - Jumi Lee, KOTRA
"I’ve learned how to become a better negotiator both in my professional and personal life." – Sung-Eun Ko, KITA
"The program was a good opportunity to learn how the U.S. government works on forming trade policy and how the private sector plays an important part in this process." – Miseon Kim, POSCO
“This was one of the most valuable webinar programs I participated in this year.” - Sujin Kyung, Kim & Chang
“Learning from other women who have grappled with similar challenges – pursuing career goals while raising a family – gave me great confidence that I can also succeed.” - Kwang-bin Lee, U.S. Embassy, Seoul
“An all-women group in a professional setting is rare and it was uplifting getting to know a group of emerging female trade leaders.” - Ji Yeong Yoo, STEPI
Please keep an eye out for updates and new developments about this program. To learn more about the program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.