People and Operations Manager
K.B., which stands for her Korean name meaning joy, was born in South Korea and immigrated to Southern California at the age of 10 with her mother and brother. She grew up in L.A. County, graduated from Chapman University with a B.A. in Sociology and moved to Washington, DC five years ago to challenge herself and experience the novelties of the East Coast!
K.B. started her career as a development professional at Asian Americans Advancing Justice, where she had the life-changing opportunity to not only work with powerful Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders, but also serve her own community through naturalization clinics, voting rights advocacy and language access. From there, she returned to what she studied in school–education through a social justice lens–and joined City Year. Alongside some of the most dedicated and passionate AmeriCorps members and colleagues, she learned the value of service and how a champion can deeply change the trajectory of one’s educational path.
K.B. joins 50CAN excited to be able to learn more about the education policy world and flex her advocacy muscles! In her non-working hours, she facilitates social justice dialogue examining systemic power in race, gender and sexual orientation with Femex, catches up on reading for her WOC Book Club and daydreams about adopting a dog and eating tacos by the beach.
I aspire to be like Min Jin Lee, Yaa Gyasi and Thi Bui. Here’s why:
I aspire to be like Min Jin Lee, Yaa Gyasi and Thi Bui–some of my favorite authors. Reading is one of my favorite ways to learn more about myself and the world I live in, both near and far. These storytellers not only give me an escape from the troubles of my own reality, but often provide a window into how to triumph, accept and heal through some of life’s toughest mountains. I hope to provide the depth of acceptance, discovery, and community through my own sharing and storytelling as they have for me.
Why I love my job:
I love my job because I believe that creating solutions around equal access to quality education can open the door to solving most, if not all, of our social issues and injustices. If we can continue to teach and empower the next generation, we will be able to ensure the sustainability of caring, equipped young leaders who will strive to do and be better than us. The best part for me, as the people and operations manager, is I get to take care of and advocate for our team so that they are being the best they can be for our students and communities out there in the field. I believe that too many mission-driven nonprofits go out there and serve our communities to the fullest, without first refilling our own cups–and I hope to do my part in changing that culture.
My connection to public schools:
I grew up extremely privileged where my parents were able to afford and prioritize private education for the majority of my upbringing. It is through my own access to higher education and my experience with City Year that I learned the reality of what some of our most vulnerable communities are facing when it comes to quality education. I advocate for our public school students because education should be the great equalizer and fight against the outcomes of systemic oppression, not reinforce them.
What I’m bad at:
Ironically, I came to work for 50CAN where optimism is a core value when I am bad at being positive! I think this has made me a stronger and more relentless advocate when it comes to fighting for social justice and equity–it’s never enough, and we must keep pushing the status quo! But, positivity and hope are also crucial elements of any social change movement. And I am ready to stretch my skills of optimism and see what I can learn from my fellow colleagues here.
This image represents why I work at 50CAN:
For the fierce and resilient immigrants of my community, the promise of education and better opportunities has been the driving force behind uprooting their homes and becoming pioneers in a new and strange land. Although I have realized along the way how difficult achieving the American Dream is, through the support of my family, friends and mentors, I am on my way to achieving my parents’ dream for me. This picture represents my two greatest pillars and inspiration behind why I strive to be a better person and leave behind a legacy worthy of their love, sacrifice, and commitment.