Everything starts from you. You can change your scenery by taking on a challenge－Episode 1
Through the promotion of diversity and inclusion, the TRYT Group works to support each and every employee so that they can pursue their own careers. As part of the efforts of the Office for Promoting Women's Active Career Engagement, TRYT and HAB&Co., which is an HR tech company from Oita under the TRYT Group, have supported the activities of Oita Starring Woman, a project to promote the creation of female entrepreneurs in Oita Prefecture. From this relationship, we interviewed two female entrepreneurs who are active locally. The first guest is Ms. Sokgwi Kim, who works as a sole proprietor while also working for a company and has established a business to revitalize the region through entertainment tourism, which combines technology, entertainment and tourism. Here are some tips on how to give shape to your thoughts for career development.
Ms. Sokgwi Kim
Born in Beppu City, Oita Prefecture (Korean nationality)
Graduated from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
She has established Wells Be Co., Ltd. to revitalize the region with technology while concurrently working at NTT Communications Corporation and also as a sole proprietor.
ーPlease tell us about the project you are currently working on.
I aim to create a new tourism industry (entertainment tourism) that incorporates cutting-edge technology to replace the hot spring industry, centered on Beppu City, Oita Prefecture. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, I returned to Beppu City, which is my hometown, and found that the once bustling shopping center was deserted due to the impact of the pandemic. Shocked by this situation, I wanted to revitalize Beppu somehow and came up with the idea of starting a business using drones, which was inspired by the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. Although Beppu is an international tourism and culture city where tourism, such as hot springs, accounts for 90% of the city’s industry, most tourists are day-trippers, and the amount spent per person is low. Focusing on this fact, I thought that it would be possible to resolve tourism issues in Beppu by increasing the number of activities that can be enjoyed well into the night, thereby revitalizing the nighttime economy (increasing economic effects by promoting consumption activities and creating attractiveness from 18:00 to 6:00 the next morning). Consequently, I decided to establish Wells Be Co., Ltd. With the desire to “revitalize Beppu,” more than 40 companies now support our activities, which has brought our goal of operationalizing the project closer to reality.
ーI have heard that you are currently employed by a company. How does that work?
At NTT Communications, where I am currently employed, work style reform is being promoted. This has enabled me to prepare to establish a company while working remotely in Oita Prefecture. Since I originally wanted to become a world-class business manager, I took up my current position in 2011 to study the management know-how of a large company. As part of the company’s attempt to revitalize the company by hiring foreigners, I was initially assigned to the Kansai Branch as the first foreign employee. Subsequently, I acted as a pioneer of work style reform and, in 2019, I served as the leader of the corporate culture development project. Since I wanted to return someday to Oita Prefecture, which is my hometown, I actively used a remote work system that allowed employees to work in remote areas, which was introduced on a trial basis as part of work style reform at that time. I thought that it would be nice if my case became a model.
ーDo you have any tips on how to be successful when carving out a new path?
The first is to raise your voice. If you don’t say what you’re thinking, you cannot get your thoughts noticed or convey them to those involved. When you are worried about something or have something to think about, it is important to tell it to others so that they can understand it, rather than keeping it to yourself. Every day, I am conscious of expressing my thoughts to people around me so that they can understand my intentions and awareness of issues. The second is not to set limits. When we face difficulties when doing something, we tend to unconsciously look for reasons why we cannot do it. Since it is we who have set the hurdle, I take action while shifting my thoughts in the direction of how I can realize it. I was once told by my superior that if the hurdle is too high, you just have to go under it. I was encouraged to notice new perspectives that I had not thought of on my own. Sometimes I can find a solution by changing my point of view a little. Therefore, when I am in trouble, I try to think about things from a different angle. The third is to start on your own. It is up to you to decide where you should be. If you just wait for someone else to do something, things will not go your way. Since change does not happen without action, I am conscious of first starting with what I can do.
―I would like to incorporate your tips soon! Lastly, could you give us some hints on how to give shape to a new challenge?
Do you know the 2-6-2 rule? Even if you are in the minority at the beginning, you will gradually become part of the majority by breaking through the critical point at some point. In my current job, I am taking on new challenges, including contributing to the design of a remote work system allowing working in remote areas by using it on a trial basis earlier than others and creating an example of how to launch a startup company using the side job system. I believe that this movement is also the result of changes that were made possible by starting to raise my voice. There is no right answer in work and life. It is important to try something first. By accumulating small successes while taking on new challenges, you will gain the confidence to take the next step. I believe that life is a series of such events. If you keep taking even small steps, the scenery you see will change before you know it.