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Who you are and where you’re from with Jae

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One On One

Who you are and where you’re from with Jae

Ethnically, I’m Korean and I grew up in a traditional Korean household. My father was the breadwinner, my mother was the homemaker and she took care of her three daughters. My father had three girls, there were no boys. I giggle a little bit because they tried five years after my second sister because they were getting a lot of pressure from the family to have a boy. Being in a traditional Korean family, it’s all about carrying the family name. They said, ‘Third time’s the charm. You’re going to have a boy.’ I came out and I’m a girl.

I think about this quite often: My father emigrated to the United States and joined the U.S. military. We were educated in the United States and that gave us an opportunity to learn and have the options and opportunities that we wouldn’t have had had we stayed in Korea.

Growing up, I was the tomboy of the family. I was always the one who was challenging. In school, I ran for Student Body President—I wanted to go and get out there. I had that opportunity. Every summer, I would go to Korea and see it was an impoverished country that became quite industrialized. I was able to take advantage of the opportunities seeing what it would have been, had I stayed.

From my perspective in being a leader, know who you are and be motivated in what you want to do. For me, it was that I wanted to make a change. I wanted to make a difference. I had that in my body, in my core values, from the minute that I came out of my mother’s womb. I just had that ambition.

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