International Women's Day 2017: Leaving Conservative Expectations and Leaping into Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship in korea

During an interview for a female entrepreneur edition celebrating International Women's Day, I was asked to share the boldest career decision I have made in my life. Starting Eunogo is definitely one of the bravest and proudest decisions in my career and this question made me ask myself, “What drove me to choose this crazy life full of uncertainties and challenges instead of the stable, traditional path I had in front of me?".

The first risk I took was back in 2011 when I was 25. I left my job of four years in a major management consulting firm in my hometown, Seoul to pursue social entrepreneurship in the foreign lands of Peru. I moved from an extremely male-dominated, corporate world to support women in an impoverished village in Trujillo, Peru. Everybody thought I was out of my mind.  

I grew up in Korea where there are certain expectations and social pressures on women. A 25 year old woman, as I was at that time, should be looking for a husband and saving up to start a family. So to quit a stable, boring job to leave a positive social impact in underdeveloped communities was not encouraged to say the least.

That was the first moment I decided my path entirely on my own. That was the moment I felt conflicted; everyone else was against my decision but I knew what I wanted. I knew that if I didn't take the leap then, I never would. I thought "so what’s the worst thing that can happen?". There was nothing that really scared me after facing the fear of doing the unconventional, ignoring what others think about the choices I make. So there, I jumped into it. 

I loved my time in Peru. Working with the ladies in the village and building a better community together. As cliche as it sounds, it was an unforgettable, life-changing experience. I was inspired to do more, learn more, and experience more which led me to pursue an MBA at Insead in France and Singapore. During my time there I traveled to more than 20 countries, and met amazing colleagues and friends from all over the world. 

After graduation, my parents expected me to be done with all the adventures, finally settle down in Korea and go back to a stable corporate job. Instead, I started Eunogo with my amazing co-founder, Sophia Hwang. 

We both saw that there was a lack of reliable information to help international patients find the right doctors in Korea for their health and aesthetics without hassle. We lived and breathed with the idea and hustled our way to execution. Over the last two years, our incredible team has empowered thousands of women to make the best decision for their medical and aesthetic procedures by providing quality information and customized support. This has been the most adventurous, incredible journey full of challenges. 

I’m not saying that venturing into the unconventional and starting a business should be the choice for everyone. I think the boldest and proudest choice for every one of us is, listening to your own voice and choosing to become the individual you want yourself to be.    

What’s the one bold thing that you always wanted to do? What’s your biggest fear? 

Happy International Women’s Day,