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Meet Susan (Kang) Nam, As Rare as a Pink Olive

Posted on October 1, 2008
Filed Under Interviews | 3 Comments

By Dave Mendoza, Partner, Partner JobMachine Inc.

*Originally published on Profile
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Susan (Kang) Nam is a newbie interested in the sourcing and recruiting industry via utilizing social media, focused on exploring various industries. She is currently working for her sister’s boutique, Pink Olive Inc.

She is currently serving as a member of board of directors – a VP role at Harvard Club of Andover Inc. She is also actively participating in both on/off sites committees (i.e. Binghamton Planning Committee among other fundraising charity organizations) Previously, Susan held recruiting role at Harvard University. She holds a BA in Psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and further explored and pursued graduate studies at University of Rhode Island (for Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology), Columbia University – Teacher’s college, Brown University extension programs, Harvard University – Harvard Graduate School of Education master of education courses, Harvard business courses and programs affiliates via extension. Both her senior thesis and masters thesis studies were in the areas of behavioral medicine and leadership.

In the future, she hopes to extend herself in Asia (specifically in Korea and Japan) and to further promote open talent development outreach through utilizing various social media platforms along with emphasis on building positive personal/professional brand in corporate organizations.

Q&A with Susan (Kang) Nam

Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.

Susan: We reside in north of Boston for the past 10 years. My husband KJ (Kyung Jun Nam) is a design engineer and most of his extended family resides in South Korea and majority of his family members are educators. We have a very active social life as we love to spend our summers in either Cape (deep fishing) or Florida (of course, Walt Disney world ventures) and during winter months at Killington Vermont and various locations in NH to ski. Our family life revolves around many travels to NJ and NYC as my extended family resides there. My second sister Jenna’s passion is in missionary outreach via Arab world missions and she has recently come back from a long extended trip from countries in Europe and Morocco lending her efforts to spread the word of gospel. My youngest sister Grace is the owner of 2 boutiques “Pink Olive boutique” in east village, NYC & Park Slope Brooklyn. We value each other greatly ~ and yes.. we do have our “moments” 🙂 but love each other with all our hearts. As for Education ~ all of us sisters attended colleges for our undergraduate education in NY (me – SUNY at Binghamton, Jenna – NYU, Grace – Cornell) and we are quite different in so many ways and yet the same despite our various talents and interests. Prior to living & studying in the east coast, we grew up residing in Seoul Korea, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Northern California (San Jose & Cupertino).

As the eldest daughter in the family my priority for anything in life goes out to being there for my family – both immediate and extended – as I strongly feel responsible to make sure all of their needs are met in a timely manner. My parents are consistently my primary role models as they continue to live to their fullest despite their recent health scare / obstacles. They continue to impact and shape my life. My dad, graduated from Seoul National University with a degree in Engineering, former mechanical engineer, entrepreneur and sales executive traveled worldwide prior to his retirement. My mom, graduated from Ewha Womans University with a degree in Korean literature, a stay home mom for us 3 girls and recently finished her Ph.D. in Theology and now an associate pastor at Flushing, Queens NY. My other extended family resides in Korea, Japan, Germany, Hong Kong and various states across the US. My background is somewhat unique as I continue to seek out my heritage and aspire to learn new information about my family. We value and honor family, faith, education, personal relationships and community. I talk about Education and Faith quite a bit because we value it probably more than anything else.

Our daughter Katie is 7 years old and we hope to continue her languages in Korean & French. and yes.. we do have pets (our daughter’s fish family – Aqua plus, Raymond, Gabriella and Hello Kitty) 😉

My passion lies in classical piano as I have been playing this instrument since age 4. My other interests are providing nonprofit organizations with their fundraising efforts (in education, charity, esp. for missionaries and cancer research – esp in colon, prostate and breast cancer). I do admire creative people.. especially designers, entrepreneurs, and passionate individuals who work hard every single day to balance their lives. Currently volunteering via various club positions via my Alma maters and other non-profit networking organizations. I admire edgy, passionate, idealistic professionals who work hard to achieve their dreams. Lastly, I do have other various interests in so many however one I can say for sure ~ I aspire to race cars one day (not sure what my parents would say about this 😉

Six Degrees: How many years have you been a recruiter?

Susan: I am a newbie and continue to learn and exploring the industry as of this summer/fall of 2008. My last full time recruiting related position was 7 years ago.

Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?

Susan: I started out in the Harvard Central HR recruiting team at Harvard Employment office 7 years ago. I was working as a technical editing staff support for the Harvard Economics Department at the time after I left NYC (with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Institutional Consulting Group at the World Trade Center). I met the Director of HR via taking her HR course at Harvard and soon after the position became available so I applied for the position and honored to join the team. The Central recruiting team’s duties included consulting with rest of the Harvard University recruiting community providing recruiting related information. My niche was in internet recruiting where I dealt with vendors, consulted with advertising executives, and Harvard recruiters to provide cost-effective recruiting strategies for Harvard schools. I was able to write up a grant proposal to cater to their requests, comments to provide additional funds prior to leaving the University to raise my child. I was also very excited about contributing to the diversity outreach by working along with TEAM Harvard organizations (i.e. NAAAP). In the past 7 years, I did have the opportunity to explore few options however I have not had the opportunity to seek out my interest in recruiting as a career until summer of 2008 for various personal/family reasons.

Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?

Susan: I would have to say when I first met the recruiter at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. His positive & proactive attitude inspired me greatly and it helped me to refocus and started to explore the “idea” of recruiting full time – back in ’98.

Six Degrees: Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?

Susan: Yes so far I would have to say my role model has been Polly Price, previously Chief HR Officer at Harvard University. I first connected with her after reading a Harvard Gazette article on Diversity at Harvard. I was quite taken away with her approaches, her immediate attention to personal connection and integrity. I aspire her not for her accomplishments only but her character is remarkable and I truly honor what she has to say (both personally and professionally). I seek out for other mentors as I continue to explore the recruiting industry. I would have to say Kevin Wheeler – interested in his international recruiting outreach & cultural difference information via ERE and sourcing strategists (so many out there however look forward to learning more about Shally Steckerl, and community builders, movers and shakers – I have to say Jason Davis. I am humbled by their leadership, ideas and vision on the industry.

Six Degrees: Tell us about your job:

Susan: I support my sister Grace’s boutique – Pink Olive boutique – for various responsibilities but most importantly value her talent, her ability to expand her passion in unique products, vendor selection and talent development. I will help her out with whatever she needs. That goes 100% as well with my other sister Jenna’s ventures in missionary support.

Six Degrees: What other companies’ recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?

Susan: For sure, Lockheed Strategic Sourcing Team information via Bill Murphy. I look forward to hearing more of their successes. I met Bill Murphy virtually via Jason Davis’s Ning site –

Six Degrees: In what aspects are Lockheed’s Strategic Sourcing Team superior?

Susan: Organization, Missions, Practicality & strategic sourcing focused approach.

Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?

Susan: I believe Social Media will have a very strong role in changing the recruiting industry as a whole. Also, along with the present state of Economy – very disturbing and yet I do believe there is lot to be done to transformed the world and anticipate a strong impact on recruiting industry near future(will elaborate as I continue to explore).

Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?

Susan: My next career goal is to extend myself to the world of sourcing and recruiting in a corporate setting – still exploring at this time. What do I need to do to get there? Well, I will continue to explore options, obtain further training and most importantly network and establishing a personal relationship using various social media tools, gadgets and platforms. I find it extremely helpful, not only valuable but also a great way to build the relationship to get to the next course in my career.

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3 Responses to “Meet Susan (Kang) Nam, As Rare as a Pink Olive”

  1. Fundraising » Meet Susan (Kang) Nam, As Rare as a Pink Olive on October 2nd, 2008 12:47 am

    […] Oracle wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptShe is also actively participating in both on/off sites committees (ie Binghamton Planning Committee among other fundraising charity organizations) Previously, Susan held recruiting role at Harvard University. She holds a BA in … Read the rest of this great post here […]

  2. Emily on October 4th, 2008 5:25 am

    Hi Susan, thanks for sharing it.

  3. Minh - Trip 2 Viet Nam on October 4th, 2008 7:48 am

    […] Meet Susan (Kang) Nam, As Rare as a Pink Olive […]