The participants shared their experiences in balancing work and family life
The 8th Annual Korea Women’s Leadership Seminar kicked off on February 20. Co-hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Korea, the Women’s News, and Sookmyung Women’s University, this year’s theme was “Happy Home Life & Successful Career: Can We Really Have Both?” 35 female future leaders participated in the seminar.
With its missions to promote women’s leadership, seek ways to advance bilateral relationship regarding women’s issues, and build on discussions, the seminar has covered a wide range of topics such as women’s career development, a balance between work and family life, and childbirth and child care. This year, in particular, participants discussed ‘women’s empowerment,‘ one of global agendas.
“While preparing for today’s seminar, I became confident about global partnership and solidarity. When women come together, new life sprouts and peace begins to emerge. I hope that we would pull our wisdom together so that we can expand peace throughout the world,” said Women’s News CEO Kim Hyosun in her opening address.
Brent Byers, the Minister-Counselor at the Embassy commented, “The seminar grew rapidly. I know of one participant who became a politician after she took part in the seminar. Others formed meaningful relationship. It is a great pleasure to see that the U.S. Embassy in Korea is playing a critical role in organizing important venues like this one.”
Sookmyung Women’s University President Hwang Sunhye delivered a congratulatory speech and said, “It is true that women’s status has improved. However, there is no clear-cut solution for issues like balancing work and family life. Let us put our heads together and think about what we can do to help women lead a happy life, both at home and in the workplace.”
Rear Admiral Lisa Franchetti, the first-ever female Commander U.S. Naval Forces Korea, delivered a keynote speech and shared experiences in achieving a balance in her personal and professional lives. The seminar was divided into four sections: ‘Family friendly company,’ ‘Drawing help from husbands,’ ‘Whether to redesign one’s career path,‘ and ’Plan ahead.‘
The first session was chaired by Mary Tarnowka, the Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs. LG CNS CHO Institute of Management, Technology, and Training Director Kim Heekyung and Asia ombudsman and manager of McKinsey Asia Women program Kim Charmhee introduced their family friendly policies.
Director Kim said, “When I gave birth to my first child, I had to return just two months after the delivery. However, numbers indicate that employees of LG CNS who took a child care leave account for 91% and 85% in 2012 and 2013, respectively.” She added, “The process itself has been considered more significant than the overall outcome. CNS has a quite transparent and horizontal corporate culture. That is the key to the successful implementation of family friendly programs.” Manager Kim Charmhee explained, “Though working at McKinsey can be intense, the workplace is like home to us thanks to various programs implemented.”