In today's globalized business landscape, diversity and inclusion have emerged as critical factors that drive success and innovation. Recognizing the immense value that diverse perspectives and experiences bring to the table, the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM Korea) has taken significant strides in promoting diversity in the workplace, specifically by supporting small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) and empowering women to take up leadership roles.
“We are working with businesses and communities in building a more inclusive economy by promoting women’s economic empowerment in Korea. Although the country has come a long way in terms of addressing gender inequality, Korea is still ranked very low amongst the OECD countries when it comes to the wage gap between women and men,” said AMCHAM Korea Chairman and CEO James Kim.
Kim said AMCHAM Korea understands that empowering women and providing them with equal opportunities is not just a matter of social justice, but also benefits a company's performance. Through its advocacy efforts, networking events and mentorship programs, AMCHAM Korea encourages more women to take on leadership roles within SMEs and large corporations alike.
“I'm very proud to say that AMCHAM Korea has nine women on its board of governors. Six years ago, we only had one. So this year, we broke our record and we're going to continue to do that. At AMCHAM, we're showing leadership with real execution as opposed to just talking about it,” Kim said.
By ensuring diversity within its executive leadership team, AMCHAM Korea is leading by example and showing firsthand that a diverse leadership team helps shape an organization's culture and drive it toward greater success.
Kim also highlighted that at the heart of AMCHAM’s initiatives lies the American Business Center (ABC), a pioneering market development program that organizes workshops, seminars, and mentorship programs, and facilitates knowledge-sharing between South Korean SMEs and American companies.
“The American Business Center is fully operational. We have signed very exciting agreements with various organizations in the U.S. From leaders in the private sector to mayors, they all want to do business with Korea via AMCHAM Korea’s American Business Center. We also have a bunch of our big member companies, who are already here in Korea, committing to help these leaders enter the Korean market. AMCHAM Korea acts as the glue that makes this happen,” said Kim.
The AMCHAM Korea chief executive said the ABC aims to foster more collaborations between Korean and American businesses and promote diversity by encouraging SMEs to recruit and retain a diverse talent pool.