CEO of ESteem Group
Kim So Yeon
Unpretentious, therefore Stylish
When emotion meets potential
The Esteem Group features a collection of talented artists from a wide variety of fields. Esteem also continues to expand as evidenced by the successful debut of its latest project, K-pop idol group “JxR” (JxR debuted successfully late last year).
“We get the ball rolling if our artists and staff want to try something out. It’s our attempt to transcend existing boundaries. If we see potential, we go for it. In some cases, we get things started even if we don’t see potential because we believe the emotions we feel today can become a bona fide trend one day. Of course, some of the more outlandish proposals have to be backed up by convincing arguments.”
Kim So Yeon, CEO of Esteem Group, says she wants to move forward in a way that is unbridled by boundaries or limitations. That is why she never regrets the past. Longing for and obsessing over bygone days are foreign concepts to Kim.
“It’s difficult for me to keep up with the taste and preference of younger people these days. It’s a product of my age, and I accept that. Fortunately, for me, I have younger colleagues who come to me with insight into certain aspects I don’t have a good handle on.
I have to trust that they’ll do a great job. I know full well that we won’t be able to grow if I keep an iron grip on everything as if I know absolutely everything.”
True to her word, Kim runs her company in a collaborative way, where her staff works on things they are best suited for. Kim says she wants to work on things together and grow together with her staff.
Question marks over periods
and full stops
To make sure she enjoys each and every day, Kim does not make long-term plans. The last place she wants to be is in a position where she is tied down by some plan she made a long time ago.
“In terms of plans, I keep things short-term. For example, I tell myself to keep the company balance in the black this year. Setting a massive goal, or setting out to do some specific thing feels like putting a giant gym ball in front of me. It blocks my view ahead. Even if I get the gym ball rolling,
I can’t see what’s in front of me. That can get me lost. In today’s world, where everything changes so quickly, something that felt right today, may be completely wrong in just three days.”
Kim believes grabbing things by the collar and trying to force the impossible is a greedy thing to do. She understands that forcing things can easily make things worse. Instead, she tries to focus on posing questions against everything. Kim wants to move forward by constantly questioning and pondering things. It’s important to constantly ask yourself what you enjoy the most at any given point in time, then decide on a thing you can really work hard for.”
To Kim, so long as you get rid of the fear of traveling down the road unknown, taking a chance on new things can be full of delightful experiences.
Never stationary, always moving
“The thing that I’m worried about the most is that the leader of a company is the quality of life my staff gets to enjoy.”
Kim believes that people can grow and have a vision by becoming the true owners of their lives through the process of asking questions and finding answers to seek out opportunities. It is no surprise, then, to find that Esteem Group has clearly defined departments with specific roles. Everyone has clear responsibilities, which they carry out with dedication. Kim wants to develop her staff into independent entrepreneurs. It took more than a decade and countless trials and errors for Kim to build her employment system. This system, however, is what keeps Esteem stay on level ground at all times.
Kim has the insight to see the future from the present and things that are already around her. Perhaps that is why she is learning how to use a sewing machine lately. She thinks that the seeming small goal of being able to fix or alter her own clothes might give her great joy down the road. And as she sews away, Kim thinks what Esteem can do next. A refreshing and striking person, just like the spring breeze. A comfortable person and a considerate person, rather than a solemn and serious person, who does her duties the best she can with grace and dignity. Kim’s namesake, the renowned poet Kim So-yeon defined “style” in her book “The Single Letter Dictionary” as follows: “A pretentious person is never stylish, and a stylish person is never pretentious.”
Kim definitely has style. And her unpretentious nature is what makes her style stand out even more.