This is the Time to Show Everyone How Strong You Really Are.
"The world breaks everyone. And afterwards, many are strong in the broken places." - Ernest Hemingway
I was born in Seoul, South Korea. A week before my eighth birthday I immigrated with my family to the United States. I grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey and was often told that I didn't belong in America.
"Go back to China!" neighborhood bullies would yell as they rode in bikes past our house. (Again, I'm from Korea)
"Your breath stinks because you eat sushi," I was once told while standing in line at school. (Kimchi definitely smells. Sushi is Japanese food that does not smell.)
When I was nine years old, I felt that coming to America was a big mistake. I cried and blamed my parents, who opened a gift shop in Queens and operated it 364 days out of the year.
But over time, I grew to love America for what it stands for. I love it still.
As a teenager, I read James Baldwin, listened to Ella Fitzgerald and wore Gap jeans. I dreamed of living in New York City, where I felt I really belonged. I began to see what great fortune it is to live in a country where anyone -- no matter their gender or color or background -- can make something of themselves by creating something of value.
In my twenties, I made a conscious choice to become a naturalized citizen and became a proud American. I moved to NYC. My resentment towards my parents changed to gratitude. As a working woman, I set my ambitions high, because that is my American right.
In my thirties, learning to negotiate for myself, to create and communicate value totally changed my career and life.
Today I'm committed to bringing my whole self - immigrant and female, flawed and ambitious - to the table, and helping other women do the same. I believe that we can all ask for and receive more, that we can grow the proverbial pie with hard work, creativity and collaboration. I still believe it's possible for women to change the world.
This is the time to show everyone how strong you really are.