Get ready to raise your voices and be part of the change, it’s #InternationalWomensDay! 👧👧🏽
This year, we’re celebrating #CrackingTheCode with innovation for a gender equal future. Highlighting that bold, transformative ideas, inclusive technologies and accessible education can play in combatting the discrimination and marginalisation of women globally.
As a female leader, I feel it’s my place to share my story on how I #CrackedTheCode to take a stand for my career.
I’ll preface this by saying one thing – it’s almost surreal to look back at how far I’ve come. I grew up in a traditional household in Korea with an old-school mindset. Male favouritism, stereotypical gender roles, and unrealistic comparisons were all part of the norm.
I recall a time when I was studying in my room and mother came home to a messy house. Being the female, I was automatically blamed for the state of the house over my brother – this paints an accurate depiction for what was considered ‘standard’. Unfortunately for those who preached this mindset as “normal”, I refused to take it. I always knew what I was capable of and wasn’t going to let it slip through my fingers by working in a society that didn’t value my worth.
When I was 17, I packed my suitcase, purchased a one-way ticket and took off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to study education in an international school. I made the decision to relocate as I knew that my potential went far beyond the traditional gender stereotypes that we were made to conform to. Apparently, what I called ‘open-minded’, most labelled as ‘rebellious.’
The Cafetto Journey:
I moved to Adelaide, Australia in 2011 – and I guess you could say I came into this chapter with many scary reservations of what could go wrong. Being Korean and not having English as my native language had me convinced that I was already at a huge disadvantage before I had even gotten my foot through the door. Funnily enough, it was my husband who was my biggest support. He made me realise just how far I’ve come, and how worthy I was of more opportunities.
It was because of his support that I landed my position with Cafetto! ☕ Little did I know, this was going to be one of my biggest growth experiments – both professionally and personally.
My journey began as Customer Service Representative, I then moved into an International Business Manager role, before I landed my position as Cafetto General Manager. Looking back at where I started, it’s a career path I never thought I’d be fortunate enough to walk down.
Positive organisational culture played a big role with my growth, especially transitioning from one role to the next. I’ve been lucky enough to have always worked with a team that not only notices my potential, but also pushes me to my next career milestone. My boss, Christopher Short has always put his trust in me and provided me with the “you can do it” attitude whenever I doubt myself – imagine telling me that as a 17-year-old girl in Korea!
Women who shaped my career:
In my day-to-day role, I’m fortunate enough to work alongside a team that’s majority female. From customer service to warehouse and logistics – working within a team of strong women overseeing all operations of the brand from start to finish is a true testament of what we’re capable of. It’s role model women like these that have helped my mindset evolve from who I was when I first moved to Australia to the person I’ve become. They’re the kind of people who pave the way for our future generation of strong leaders. ✊
Having the opportunity to travel and network across the globe, one thing that has astounded me is the amount of positive feedback and growing opportunities for women. What was once completely male driven has evolved into working side-by-side with exemplary women across various operations.
Along the way, I found that I gained many skills from having worked within a traditionally male dominated industry. This really challenged my thinking in a way I never knew possible. I've found that I've become a lot more open-minded with how I manage expectations and tackle situations that aren't exactly 'black and white.' I've also really learned how to use my voice to make the changes that are necessary for growth - all of which has stemmed from becoming more confident as a female leader within an organisational culture that actively demonstrates the importance of equal opportunity.
A piece of advice for our next generation of women:
Reality is, there's always going to be 100 reasons to not take that next step. Leaving Korea was essentially leaving my comfort zone and that was the scariest thing I've ever had to do, but it helped me grow into a person the old me wouldn't even recognise.
If I didn't follow my instincts, I wouldn't know half of what I'm capable of - and that's something to take a stand for.
To all the women out there, Happy International Women's Day! This year, we're cracking the code for our future generation of exemplary women across the globe. 🌏💡