The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Q&A with Talent Development Expert Jane Hyun (@JaneHyun)

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Jane Hyun, author of Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling and Founder and President of Hyun & Associates, is an executive coach and leadership strategist to Fortune 500 companies, schools, and professional associations. She is continually sought after for her expertise in the area of talent management of women and multicultural professionals. Opening up a critical dialogue for the need for a culturally grounded talent development approach in organizations, she has a passion for helping individuals realize their fullest potential in the workplace, community, and marketplace.

Before presenting her talk, "Leveraging Difference for Business Impact”, Courtney Wong '15 sat down with Jane Hyun for a brief interview.

Courtney Wong (CW): What professional experiences prompted you to write the book, “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling”?
Jane Hyun (JH): One of the reasons I wrote the book is because I wish that I had something like it when I was entering the workforce at around your age.  When I first began to work on Wall Street, I was one of three Asians in our entire program training class. Things have changed since then, but from my own personal experience there is still little recognition that Asians that come from a different culture may not be able to navigate those different environments. When I was younger and felt new to the country, I needed guidance too!

Another reason that inspired me to write the book was my experience doing HR work and coaching, when I realized there are unconscious biases that exist and cultural filters from both sides.  As we enter into an age of increased globalization, we will have to grow more used to managing people who are not like you, and I want to help people work through some of the advantages and challenges they may encounter.

CW: How did you get into this area of expertise?
JH: After spending 13-14 years in the corporate world, a company asked if I’d be willing to work in HR to get a greater sense of how companies acquire talent.  My early corporate years working in consulting and financial services are critical to the work I do now. However, I’ve realized it is more efficient to be a third party advisor rather than an employee of the company.  I do leadership consulting to help organizations shape their culture and organizational differences, and see how that helps to impact the culture of the organization as a whole. I was always interested in how companies identify and acquire future talent, so I said yes to the job and took it on.

CW: Where do you think diversity in the workplace is headed into the future?
JH: I am optimistic about diversity in the workplace.  Almost every Fortune 500 company has someone managing diversity.  The increased emphasis on diversity attests to our globalizing society and the need for greater integration.  We need to prepare the next generation - your generation - to be embracive of these globalization changes.

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