Through this interview, Sophia shares her experience and journey to the position of Administrative Director, discusses the challenges and triumphs, and provides insight into the role and representation of women in technical industries. Her words illuminate how leadership, innovation, and mentorship play a crucial role in shaping not just individuals but the entire industry.
What was your journey like to the position of Administrative Director at KS Cable? What inspired you to pursue this career?
I joined Kyungshin in 2003 as soon as I graduated with a degree in electronic engineering, as an engineer of Auto part manufacturer to use what I’d been educated in my major.
My first job was creating and verifying product drawings of products, and then I researched technologies around the world to develop new products, planned the roadmap of new technologies that will lead the company’s future, and even went on to plan the company’s business strategy. I continued to expand my work scope even though it was beyond my major, and eventually, in order to optimize European business, I came to Serbia. I’ve made the investment plan, established and started operating the factory in Serbia and I became a director of administrative director of Kyungshin Cable Serbia. I have always not hesitated to take the opportunities on new work and experience.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced in your career so far, and how did you overcome them?
As soon as we decided to establish a factory in Serbia, which would become the base stone of Kyungshin’s new business in Europe, COVID-19 gobbled up the world, I who entered Serbia to establish the company with a short-term plan was suddenly quarantined in the country for around 3months, and then the entire country and the world came to a halt. Most of investment projects were canceled or put on hold, and many people staying abroad hastily returned to their home countries. Many people were skeptical about pursuing the project, and there’s no person who said it was possible. However, Kyungshin Cable decided to proceed as planned like a bulldozer, and thanks to the help of many supporters, not only the management and employees of the headquarters, but also officials from the Serbian and Korean governments and institutions, construction companies, and excellent local Serbian employees, we stayed on schedule. We were able to complete construction and start mass production in a due course. There have been being many new unexpected events and accidents, and there are many difficulties due to the very different business environment and culture, but we are moving in a better direction by finding the best solutions together.
How do you view the role and representation of women in technical industries, especially in the field of manufacturing?
In many cases, but especially in the automotive parts manufacturing industry, there are very few positions for female, especially female leaders. However, it is highly likely that the characteristics and abilities of the minority are completely different from those of the majority, and it is there’s no question that diversity brings results closer to creativity and completeness. I’m sure that you will feel more comfortable working with people who are similar to you, with familiar values and similar ways of thinking. Where are you valuable more? I was willing to choose to be one of the shining few and I recommend this to many women who hesitate to work at the place surrounding males as a minority.
How does your role as Administrative Director contribute to the development and growth of KS C사람able?
We are managing the Serbian plant, Kyungshin Cable Europe d.o.o., with the goal of successfully starting, stabilizing, and growing our European business.
Credits: Sophia Ji Hye Won
Have you had mentors or support during your career? How important is mentorship for the development of women in technical professions?
Due to the nature of the industry, it was difficult to meet mentors and receive advice or help. For this reason, I have personally considered the Chairman, the CEO of Kyungshin Cable, as a role model of me. She is a great female entrepreneur who took over the management after the sudden death of her husband, the founder of the company, and successfully grew a small business into a global enterprise, so her mere presence provided hope and support to the female employees within the company.
I have always made history as the first woman in my company. The first female manager, first female team leader, first female expatriate, etc. Rather than looking for a mentor, I am trying to be a good mentor to my juniors.
How does KS Cable keep up with technological innovations and trends in the cable industry?
Kyungshin Cable strives for continuous growth through agile and consistent innovation in order to maintain competitiveness in a rapidly changing environment by actively embracing new technologies in line with new trends and developing new products.
How does KS Cable encourage and value the contribution of women in the company?
Due to the nature of the manufacturing industry, we have established all systems for gender equality and maternal protection, which are easily marginalized, and are providing an environment that ensures equal rights and opportunities. In particular, Kyungshin Cable provides the opportunity to all female workers who want to develop themselves through motivation, such as actively providing opportunities for promotion or transition to office management positions for excellent workers with leadership skills, as the majority of workers are comprised of women.
What advice would you give to young women considering a career in technical industries?
There is a saying in Korea that it is not the strong who survive, but the strong who survive for a long time. There are many female students as top students in schools and even engineering colleges, but in the end, men still dominate in society and corporate management. I think this is ultimately because they have been active in the industry for a long time to earn some money for their family. Because you are a woman, there may be times when you have to take a break in your career due to marriage, childbirth, etc., but I hope that you do not give up and that you return to continue your career. I hope you don’t let the time and passion you put in when you were young go to waste.
Sophia Ji Hye Won Shapes the Future of Technology
Through our conversation with Ji Hye Won (Sophia), we gained valuable insight into the world of technical industries from the perspective of one of its key leaders. Her responses not only shed light on the path she has taken and the challenges she has faced but also provide inspiration and practical advice for young women considering a career in technical fields. Sophia is an example that with passion, dedication, and support, women can not only succeed in technical industries but also have a significant impact on their development and growth. Her contribution at KS Cable and beyond is proof that women are not just necessary but essential for the future of technology and innovation.