This International Women's Day, BEZALEL presents a spotlight woman to encourage, edify, and enlighten communities of the public!
BEZALEL is honored and proud to present Dr. Sarah Lee Kim!
1) Please tell us a little about what you do.
Hello! My name is Sarah and I'm married and a mom to 3 little girls. I love gardening, collecting photos, and recently picked up reading books again. I'm also a full-time working physician. I work mostly in the ER of a clinic and a hospital.
2) How did you choose your career path and specialization?
I never had a lifelong dream or made it my childhood goal to be a doctor. It wasn't until the end of college that I decided to pursue medicine.
I was fortunate that I was able to approach each class subject and lecture with consistent passion and hard work. This ultimately led to a successful college career.
When it came time to pick a profession, I had a lot of options and I chose medicine.
I've heard people say, "You're in medical school because you're smart." Or "You're a doctor because you're smart." I don't think that is entirely right.
I don't attribute my academic success to knowledge. Many can gain knowledge and facts by reading, doing research on search engines, or attending classes. I think academic success, or success in any matter, is about doing all the little things well.
In college, "little things" meant lab work, reports and assignments. And these "little things" created opportunities for bigger and better things.
I ended up going to the University of Chicago for medical school and it was a life-changing experience on a professional and personal level.
I'm grateful to have studied there but getting a medical degree or going to Chicago weren't targeted goals. I think, because
I handled every subject with passion and intention to be excellent in it
opportunities to pursue higher education were presented. Emily Dickinson's quote sums up one of my life's mottos and I absolutely believe this is true:
"If you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves."
3) You're also in business, correct?
Yes. About 4 years ago, I wanted to try my hand at business and diversify income streams and skill sets. But most brick-and-mortar businesses were too expensive and time-consuming to start.
I saw my friend sharing on Facebook her business with the company, Rodan+Fields Skincare. After watching her posts for about a year, I decided to order a business starter kit.
Rodan+Fields Skincare was a good option for me because it was a virtual business that I could run online. So far, it has done well and I've learned so much along the way.
When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing.
Not knowing where this business could take me humbled me. I relied on the encouragement and support of other business owners, and learned that one can go much further by collaborating with others.
Ken Blanchard said it best: "None of us is as smart as all of us."
Self-sufficiency is admirable, but it's important to know when the idea of independence (or doing it on your own) is detrimental to you and your growth.
4) What were challenges you faced as a female, an Asian/Korean, or product of immigrant parents? How did you overcome them?
In my younger years, I grew up in a predominately white community. I knew I was different and didn't always feel accepted. So I know what it feels like to not belong; I think this has taught me compassion. Moreover,
I came to understand that my sense of belonging comes from my own self-acceptance instead of someone else's acceptance. Being different fortified this point.
My hometown did become more diverse, and feeling accepted eventually became easier because I was no longer "different". But I still encounter new situations, as we all do. It can be a new job, school, church or club.
What gets me through a new or uncomfortable environment is reminding myself that I belong here just as much as anyone else.
5) What are the challenges you face currently and how do you manage?
Now, my biggest challenge would be motherhood.
Learning to cope, coordinate, feed, teach, protect, raise and carry children is challenging. Indescribable actually! It's difficult as it is rewarding.
Learning to care for another human more that yourself while meeting (and sometimes failing) personal expectations--as well as deflecting the world's expectations--is a full-time job.
It requires giving yourself credit and giving yourself grace.
Fellow parents! Be kind to yourselves. Don't say words to yourself that you wouldn't say to a friend. Parenthood is already hard enough.
6) What do you wish to say to young men and women who don't come from privileged backgrounds or have limited resources to get ahead?
Find mentors. It's who you know that'll get you ahead. If you feel that you don't have the right support or community, then a mentor's network can serve as your own.
As a child of immigrants, I wasn't provided with a huge built-in network in the US. But mentors from school, church and work provided a community and resources into which I could tap.
For those who were mentored, don't forget to say "thank you" to them. For those who "made it", don't forget your roots--share what you've learned and pay it forward.
7) What do you wish to say to those who want to strive for better than where they currently are?
That is such a great question. I think the stories I’ve shared thus far sum up the significant lessons I still practice today and I believe they are applicable to everyday success.
I mentioned that I'm reading more now. I make time for books by listening to audiobooks while commuting. One can't improve or grow just by looking inward or hanging around the same people. Authors and their books give you a different perspective.
Currently, I'm listening to non-fiction books about finance, leadership and biographies. Try it! It's a great way to learn and pass the time on the road.
Thank you Dr. Kim for sharing your story! You are inspiring!
BEZALEL encourages all women (and men!) of all ages and backgrounds this International Women's Day week!
Facebook: Sarah Lee Kim
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