Chief secretary Juhn Sung-hee’s career never ends
Chief secretary Juhn Sung-hee’s career never ends
  • Lee Ha-kyung
  • 승인 2015.05.11 09:57
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Juhn Sung-hee, the chief secretary of Daesung is an indispensable figure in the company. Photo by Lee Ha-kyung.
When the golden elevator of the D-cube center stopped and opened on the 11th floor, a woman was standing in front of the elevator with her conspicuously red lips and her symbolic short haircut. Not a single word was necessary to introduce who she was as it was very obvious that the woman was chief secretary Juhn Sung-hee (Pharmacy, ’65) of Daesung Enterprise. She began to share stories reflecting on her career as one of the most successful and longest running members of office management. As the chief secretary, Juhn’s role holds importance in the company. The president of Daesung confides in Juhn to support him in running the company. President Kim Young-dae used to say that Juhn’s role was worth three secretaries combined, as she could handle any tasks, be it trivial or significant. In 1990, Juhn visited a seminar held by Henkel, a German company, and contributed to signing a contract for a collaboration between the two companies. In order to succeed, she constantly strived to become a better secretary. Juhn wakes up every day at five in the morning and drives to the company. She stops by the company’s fitness center for a morning workout, and then is at her cubicle by 6 a.m. to study Chinese for 30 minutes. She currently speaks four languages, including Korean, English, French and Japanese. She is trying to polish her Chinese skill to use it someday in the future. This is only a warm-up of her busy day as the chief secretary. “I am grateful to know that the company still needs me,” Juhn said. “Therefore, I want to do a better job in my position by trying my best. Assiduous self-management such as keeping up with my health and learning a new language is not only for myself, but also for the company.” Juhn never expected to become a secretary when she was in her twenties. She entered Ewha as a Pharmacy major and passed her state examination for pharmacist at the first trial. She could have become a pharmacist, but she followed her husband, whom she refers to as Doctor Shim, to live in Hawaii while he studied for his doctorate degree. As a supportive wife, which was Juhn’s biggest role, she could have simply assisted her husband on his studies. Yet, she worked at a jewelry factory during the day. Even though it was only a simple job, Juhn showed her perseverance and eventually became an inventory clerk by the time her husband finished his degree. “When we came back from Hawaii, my husband recommended me to work as a secretary for president Kim, who was a director at the time,” Juhn recalled. “He was looking for a secretary who could work for a long time without quitting or taking years off. Inspite of being 37 years old at the time, I started working for president Kim and it has been 35 years that I have worked for him now. President Kim and I have grown old together.” Currently, as the oldest living secretary in the field, Juhn is a role model for many secretaries. Acknowledging her work experience and capacities in the area, major local companies like Samsung, LG and Hyundai have invited her to lecture as a motivational speaker for their newly recruited employees. She shares her know-hows on how to become a professional secretary and also how to use seniority to share wisdom with younger members. “Secretary is the main gate, a window that connects the company with the outside world,” Juhn said. “A lot of arrangements, such as making appointments and leaving important messages always go through secretaries. Therefore, the status of one’s company can vary depending on how well a secretary can deal with the tasks that have to be done while working with other companies.” In 2009, the Korean Associations of Administrative Professionals gave the lifetime achievement award to Juhn on her accomplishment for becoming a good example for many secretaries. Juhn emphasized treating people with sincerity, which is an important qualification of an excellent secretary. “I receive company guests the same way I treat guests who come to my house,” Juhn said. “Showing how much I care about the guest is the key to building a close relationship. I prepare little treats for the guests by myself, even though I can ask someone else to do that for me. Until recently, I even have been making coffee for the guests. I advise secretaries to achieve more than a 100 percent of their roles.” Upon publishing her book on her career as a secretary, the book has been reprinted for the eighth time now. With the royalty, Juhn is granting a scholarship under her name to students majoring in secretary administration at Korea Nazarene University, which is the school she lectures at. Her career as a chief secretary is still ongoing. “Many people asked me if I had any goal or grand future plans,” Juhn said. “I would always tell them that rather than paying attention to something new, I would try to focus on what I am doing now as a chief secretary, and look for ways to contribute to society by doing what I can do best.”

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