Partner, Thompson Hine LLP
Education: Cornell University (Bachelor of Arts), Cornell Law School (Juris Doctor)
What I’m Reading: Percy Jackson books; my daughter loves them and I need to keep up.
My Philosophy: Family comes first.
Interests: Having fun with the kids, golf, and if time allows, reading and movies.
Company Headquarters: Cleveland, Ohio
Primary Business: Law Firm
Annual Revenues: $183.7 million
How has your heritage been beneficial or helpful in your career/and or business relationships?
I have found a dearth of Asian Americans in the law profession here in Cleveland (unlike NY or LA), which has been to my advantage. Many clients seem to prefer to work with me and I have been given ample opportunities for advancement within my firm. I am certain some of this is due to the overwhelming commitment businesses in this community have to promoting diversity.
“I think the key is to embrace positive [stereotypes], and demonstrate that the negative ones are outdated and no longer apply.”
What are the major values of your heritage? How have they helped you in your career?
My parents are Korean, but I grew up in Argentina. My parents taught me, by deeds and words, that the only way to succeed was to work harder than anyone else, while the Argentine in me has always sought a relaxed living. I think that the contradiction of both philosophies has served me well. I don’t mind hard work since I have always viewed that as a necessity if I wanted to succeed in life, and I have always kept the perspective that work doesn’t rule my life, that it is a means to an end. This way I can enjoy work for what it is, and also enjoy the fruits of my labors with my family and friends.
What advice would you give the next generation of Asian/Pacific-American business leaders? What are some tips for other Asian/Pacific Americans beginning their careers?
Take advantage of being part of a minority. All businesses that are worth working with/for promote diversity, and there are a lot of great opportunities. In order to mine these opportunities, I think you have to be comfortable with who you are and what you represent. If you do that, and at the same time are able to respect all other cultures, then I don’t see how you can fail. That, and a good dose of hard work.