In­ter­view With Head Of Seoul Global Cen­ter Steven Mckin­ney

The Global Digest (English) - - Contents - By Staff Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

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