Living life on her way: 29-year-old CEO, Kim Ga-young
Living life on her way: 29-year-old CEO, Kim Ga-young
  • Jeon Ji-won
  • 승인 2012.04.13 17:33
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Some people may think men are physically stronger than women. This kind of common perception is what Kim Ga-young (Sociology, 4) considers a bias that women especially should be wary of.
“I remember a Ewha professor asking students, ‘Do you think men are physically stronger than women?’ in class,” Kim said.
“Most said yes, but the answer was that you never know. There can be some women stronger than men and these kind of stereotyping  limit how women see themselves.”
Kim is a 29-year-old CEO of the Saengsaeng Agricultural Products Distribution Company and the Seeds Company. She is also a former CEO of Jiri-Mountain Environment-Friendly Agricultural Products Distribution Company, which she launched when she was 19-year-old, merely a freshman at Ewha.
Normally, agricultural products distribution business is considered hard even for male adults because of its intense workload. According to Kim, she was able to continue business because she did not see herself as a “woman” CEO, but just “a CEO who happens to be a woman.” Now, Kim has expanded her business from distribution to cover cultivating as well, growing 100 tons of peppers in 100,000 square meters of land.
“What I learned from Ewha has influenced my attitude toward business and my life,” Kim said.
Studying at Ewha, Kim had a chance to think what living as a woman really is, which led her to question what an independent life is. She came to think that women tend to limit themselves stuck in a false perception, which restrict them from living their own lives.
At the time Kim was unhappy feeling tied to this competitive system, pursuing its rewards like everybody else. She needed a change.
Just then, Kim went to volunteer in rural communities and discovered inefficient distribution system. While agricultural products are cheap when harvested, they become expensive as they are distributed to cities and the prices are not consistent.
“It came to my mind that I could provide benefit to both producers at rural areas and purchasers in cities by providing goods at a reasonable and consistent price as a middleman, and earn money at the same time,” Kim said.
Kim decided to go down this road even though it was different from the norm, and this eventually ended up founding an agricultural products distribution company at the age of 19. She even had to take several semesters off from school to run her business.
“People and media often call me by this title of ‘social entrepreneur,’” Kim said.
“But truth be told, I’m still too young to know the real meaning of this big word. Though there is one thing that I always keep in my mind when I run my business: Contemplate before doing something not to damage our society.”
This management principle led Kim to establish a community center for old people in a rural area. She first thought of building her own place in a small village that she visits a lot for her business. Then, she thought that it would be left empty most of the time, which would ruin the atmosphere of the whole village. So instead, she built a community center where residents can come and go, and she can stay as well.
“Seeing a lively community center was pleasing,” Kim said.
Kim currently aims to grow her company into what she calls a “grown-up company,” a level at which a company achieves complete independence and no longer lays burden on society.
Although there are limitations as a 29-year-old from a lack of experience, she believes this kind of experiences would help her come closer to the aim one step at a time.
“I don’t set my goal specifically because that would limit my company to grow only that much,” Kim said.
“This, in other words, means that my company has infinite potential to grow as it has no set boundary. I am confident about my company’s future because I am so firmly committed to it that I can say I’ll run it until I die. It is my own company.”
This strong sense of ownership of her company and her life, and the pure joy coming from that are what motivate her to continue forward.
“Frankly speaking, I feel like quitting this job everyday as it is that hard, but every minute I realize just how happy I am because I know that I am leading my own life,” Kim said.

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