Interview With Head Of Seoul Global Center Steven Mckinney
Steven McKinney is the second head of Seoul Global Center after Alan Timblick. He took the head office of Seoul Global Center in March, 2012, and he can extend his tenure even longer, Steven said.
Steven McKinney revealed Seoul Global Center is an organization through a network, which includes three business centers, seven global villages, and seven migrant centers in Seoul city. There are nearly 100 regular employees plus volunteers. Among them only approximately 20% are foreign employees, who are resident in Korea and are married to a Korean. Most of these foreign employees are bilingual, so they are useful for counseling to other their fellow foreigners, Steven explained. The Seoul Global Center provides a total of 10 different languages, which are counseling services in Korean and other foreign languages. In addition, the foreign employees are more helpful for handling their country’s background and their culture context and socialization. Steven believes foreign employees can contribute effectively in multi-cultural society in the country.
The Seoul Global Center Network was established by the Seoul Metropolitan City government and is the primary funder for the organization. For example, the global villages are supported by both local town government offices and the Seoul Metropolitan City government. In addition, other private enterprises also contribute their expertise as well. Even the Sejong Immigration office is located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Seoul Global Center. And the Seoul Business Agency also cooperates with the Seoul Global Center; in fact, the Seoul Business Agency indirectly supports all three business centers. Therefore, Seoul Global Center is a kind of centralized-based administration structure under its complicated management as a network organization.
At the Seoul Global Center Business Center, they offer a quarterly business start program, and offer incubating offices free of charge. They also offer logistic and helpful information business in the country. Seoul Global Center tries to get the easiest way of starting a business for foreigners in South Korea.
Steven feels he is working successfully in Seoul Global Center, and he can help more foreigners’ companies by starting their businesses easily in South Korea. He will also help multi-culture families living in Seoul by having the Seoul Global Center offer various events for foreigners. While on his watch as the head of the Seoul Global Center, they opened the new Seoul Global Center building in 2013. He also works with the mayor on various issues and on several occasions such as during the Seoul Town Hall meetings. Steven confidently expressed, that he is trying to do his best in this role.
Actually, Steven explained that the Seoul Global Center is part of a globalization movement and a multi-cultural society wave. South Korea needs it since the country is on its way towards globalization. Steven proudly said that so far he has not found complexity and multi-task services like Seoul Global Center in any city in the world.
As a global country, South Korea welcomes new technology developers, scientists, engineers, and others in the country. Another good example of globalization is that Korean universities have joint adventures with foreign universities. Also, young and skilled migrant workers can contribute to the country directly through manufacturing
product sector and they are substituting the aging Korean population.
On the other hand, challenges for foreigners in South Korea are language communication, the need of flexible law depending on company category. It is not easy to update since people couldn’t know that the laws are constantly changing, such as the part-time and full-time employee issue. For some companies, for example the Canadian Psychology Company, they may need more foreign employees. Some companies may not need more foreign employees, but the law applies to all companies. He noticed a foreigner criminal case becomes minimal nowadays. The center has an emergency service and 24 hours hotline service, said Steven.
It is significant of foreign residents. There are approximately 800,000 foreigners in Seoul City; more than half of foreign population in the country. He says that they are a bridge between the Foreign Community and the Government, which brings greater understanding to the issues that are important to the foreign citizens of Seoul. His advice to the foreign community in Seoul is that they should try to get Seoul Global Center services which are confident and professional resources, to conduct business in South Korea. To solve your problems Seoul Global Center is the place you have to come: your issue is their issue.
Steven worked for Reebok Korea in Busan beginning in 1990. Later, he worked at Adidas, an athletic footwear business. He was the head of footwear production at Adidas from 1994 to 1996, which is a German company but which also had a few global positions like his based in the USA. He started his own company, McKinney Consulting an Executive Search, Coaching and HR Services firm in 2001 in Seoul and continues to lead it as well as the Seoul Global Center.
He is one of the recipients of the Honorary Citizen of Seoul Award in 2007 by Seoul Metropolitan Government, the highest honor given only to foreigners. He is a faithful Christian. He married Chong-Ok, a Korean woman, 31 years ago. They have two boys, ages 30 and 26.
Steven McKinney is head of Seoul Global Center. He is one of the recipients of the Honorary Citizen of Seoul Award in 2007 by Seoul Metropolitan Government, the highest honor given only to foreigners.