From Daegu (Korea) to Canberra (Australia) to Seoul (Korea), Elli Kim has journeyed a long way to become a senior manager at G3 Partners. With 7 years of experience in PR and marketing, she is one of the most experienced members on the team. We sat down with Elli to learn more about her journey.
When did you join the company?
I joined G3 at the very start, but as a part time role. It was initially just Nathan, Sejung and me. We were a trio trying to help startups go global one at a time.
I see! Before G3 what were you doing and what led you to come to Korea?
I was born in Korea, but I moved to Canberra, Australia, where I attended high school and university. Upon graduation, I came back to Korea and started working at a local PR agency.
To be honest, back then I did not know what PR was. In fact, I am an international relations and language double major, so it is a pure coincidence that I ended up in the PR industry. However, after working in the industry for a while I soon realized that it was my calling!
I really enjoy working with variety of clients in many different industries on diverse topics.
How did you end up at G3?
After the local PR agency job, I worked at an organization called MLA (Meat Livestock Australia). My primary role at MLA was to market Australian beef and lamb to Korean consumers. It was interesting, but I grew tired of promoting the same thing year after year. So I went back to the agency life, which is where I met Erik, the current COO of G3 partners. When I left Edelman, he introduced me to Nathan and that is how I got involved with G3!
That sounds very interesting! I am sure you worked with many startups by now. Were there any difficult startups that you worked with?
There were many challenging startup projects that I worked on but never a difficult startup that I worked with. Most startups don’t have a marketing / communication person, so often they have difficult time figuring out how to market their product to their target consumers. Working with startups, you make much big a difference to their growth compared to established corporate clients.
I see. Which startups did you have the most impact on?
All of them, I hope. But the results are most visible with crowdfunding projects. One of the best example is YOLK’s Solar Paper, which was the first Korean Kickstarter campaign to have raised over a million dollars. Although we didn’t work with them from the beginning, we helped them secure hundreds of major media coverage including interviews with CNBC and BBC. We leveraged the renewable energy issue (which was Obama’s big agenda back then) to attract media attention.
What is something that you like to do outside work that you enjoy?
In my 20s, I had many different hobbies and interests. I was a lead singer in an underground band, sang at an amateur musical, and learned to play the violin and the guitar. I basically tried everything that I could get my hands on. As I grew older, however, I got tired of maintaining all my myriad hobbies. Now I focus more on taking care of my family!
Wow, cool! It sounds like you are musically gifted! What is your favorite genre of music?
Anything except heavy metal. I used to go to tons of concert, but I am taking a break from that genre. It is kind of hard to go to concerts when you are pregnant!
Oh, congratulations! How did you meet your husband?
He was the underground band’s drummer!
What’s the work life balance like at G3? It must be exhausting being pregnant and working a full-time job.
I am sooooo grateful that I am pregnant at this point of my career. My previous employment was intense to say the least. Usually, we would start working around 9am and finish around 10-11pm. Sometimes, we had to stay all night to finish a project. If asked to do that today, I do not think I would be able to. Nathan and Erik have been very considerate and understanding of my current situation. It is so hard to find a team like this, which is why I am so thankful.
Sounds like an amazing team. Where do you go to escape from everything?
Mostly to the beach. Recently, I have traveled to Guam, Hawaii and Okinawa. I love the beach because it both calms and excites you. I can relax on the beach, enjoy the nice weather, and also snorkel or scuba dive if I am up for it.
Oh! Something that I’ve been wondering. I heard that you are also fluent in Japanese; how did that happen?
I studied Japanese on my own. When I was in the middle school I was really into Japanese culture. So, whenever I had time I tried to study it on my own. In Australia, I became close friends with Japanese kids at the school. I used that as an opportunity to practice and perfect my Japanese. As a result, I gradually became more fluent in Japanese!
That sounds awesome! So envious that you are multilingual! Now to more fun stuff, when you are stranded in a dessert what would you take?
I have no idea… I do not think I can even survive. I guess if I had to choose… water….?
Yes… Water is very important. Ok, how about Cats or Dogs?
I like both cats and dogs. I used to own a dog when I was a child, but dogs are high maintenance. Because of that, I got a cat, and I still have her! She’s five years old!
Sounds reasonable, what is your best memory at G3 Partners?
I have too many fond memories to choose from! I love how it is easy to cultivate humorous dialogue with colleagues. Everyone is so open minded that it is to not only easy to work with them, but also hang out as friends.
Awesome! We are nearing the end of our interview, hang in there! If you could use only one sentence to describe yourself, what would you say?
Professionally, I am a problem solver and a storyteller.
Last question! What would other people describe you as?
Not quite sure. But, I hope that everyone finds me helpful!