Having completed her MBA, Korean-born Ms. Mee Kim joined an Australian company in Sydney. After receiving training and working there for 7 years, she finally gathered the courage to venture forth and start her first business centre in Jakarta.
Although she has been in the industry for over 15 years, Ms. Mee Kim is far from being tired of the business. In fact she’s as raring to go as ever. KL Lifestyle caught up with her at her office on the 36th floor of Menara Maxis during her recent sojourn in KL.
What kind of services does CEO SUITE provide?
CEO SUITE is a business space and service provider. It is an organization that rents out space to companies to start up their own office minus the hassle, as the suites already come with all necessary facilities, as well as staff for rent.
What would you say is your inspiration and your driving force?
My daddy – he recently retired as CEO of one of the biggest conglomerates in Korea. He has never settled for No. 2, so he’s always pushing me to do better. My husband, who is also a CEO in Jakarta, always gives me encouragement and support when I’m frustrated with work. And books – I read a lot! I read everything – literature and poems, to management books, and I like David Hawkins, Patricia Cornwell.
Are you a collector of any kind?
I am an art lover, so almost every time I travel I come back with paintings, sculptures and antiques. Once when I came back from China, I bought a Tang Dynasty horse sculpture – the shipment was as expensive as the horse itself!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have been blessed because I am surrounded by good and established people. I have team members who are dedicated and so talented. And although the traveling can be tiring, it makes the job more exciting. It was tough starting up in KL too. I actually expected it to be easier so I had to struggle more. But that’s also why the satisfaction is greater here.
Do you have any favourite food in KL?
Oh, I love having roti canai for breakfast, chicken rice for lunch and nasi lemak for dinner! I just love the food here, especially those from the Asian Heritage Row.
What was your first impression of KL?
I thought it was very similar to Singapore and Indonesia, which I was already familiar with. Your national language is close to Indonesia’s and everyone speaks English. KL city is very international indeed.
Where are you based now?
I am based about 2 weeks in a month in Jakarta, where my husband and my son are. The rest of the time I travel and visit all the other centers in Singapore, Korea, Shanghai, Beijing and of course here in Malaysia. We’re also looking at Bangkok and Vietnam, so those are on my list too.
What do you love most about your job?
The traveling, the people….speaking English in different accents. (Laughs) I’m a people person and I suppose I’m someone who gets bored easily, but in this business, everyday is different.
After all your extensive traveling, can you say which is your favourite city?
I can’t decide because everywhere is different, and they are all unique in their own way. But I do miss my hometown. My parents are getting old and I miss my brother and sister.
Where did you last spend your holiday?
My son was on holiday so we went to Shanghai and Beijing together visiting museums, theme parks and doing things a 7 year-old boy likes to do. We then went to Korea for 4 days and we also went to the Genting Highlands’ theme park, and had a lot of fun.
Can you relate an interesting episode in the course of your work?
Yes, there was once in Jakarta when a new client came in and she didn’t know I was the CEO. She asked me to clean the coffee table for her and fetch her coffee, so I did! She found out later who I was and apologized to me the next day, and we had a good laugh about it!
What do you do in your spare time to relax and enjoy yourself?
I love golf! That was how I met my husband too – at a golf course in Jakarta. Then when my son was born we stopped for a few years. But he’s picking up golf again, and we are all going back to the greens.