Svetlana Kim came to America with nothing more than a dream for a better life. With no money this determined woman decided on the spot that she was going to be somebody and make a difference in others life. Her story is truly remarkable, and she is living proof that if you never give up , no matter what your circumstances you can succeed.
Svetlana Kim’s Biography
Svetlana Kim, International Speaker, Spokesperson for the 2011 Macy’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Best selling Author of White Pearl and I: A Memoir of a Political Refugee, Founder of Svetlana Kim LLC, and Community Advocate.
Svetlana Kim is the author of White Pearl and I: A Memoir of a Political Refugee, which chronicles her journey from Russia to the United States, where she arrived with only one dollar in her pocket and not a single word of English at her disposal; today, she is a leader among her peers in the business world, and has been honored with numerous awards citing her commitment, skill, and integrity.
Svetlana Kim’s remarkable story opens in Leningrad, Russia, on a frigid winter afternoon. Standing in the bread line for the third day in a row, she listens as her neighbors discuss the impending fall of the Berlin Wall. Life as a student in a crumbling country offered few possibilities for the ambitious young woman, so when a former classmate offers her a plane ticket to the US., she jumps at the opportunity.
She arrives in New York speaking no English, with only a dollar in her pocket. With the help of a good Samaritan, she travels by bus to California, hoping to connect with an acquaintance from home. Yet when she mistakenly disembarks in San Francisco instead of Sacramento, she finds herself penniless and alone. What unfolds is a miraculous story of survival as Svetlana encounters kind strangers while she struggles to cobble together a meager existence working as a cleaning lady. Determined to succeed, she lands a job selling cosmetics. Within a few years, her hard work carries her up the corporate ladder. She earns American citizenship after living ten years as a political refugee, and gains the opportunity to become a stockbroker. In her career as a stockbroker Svetlana is introduced into the realm of powerful businesswomen and politicians.
Through it all, when her nerve threatens to fail her, she returns to memories of her grandmother, White Pearl, whose parents immigrated to Russia from Korea. As a girl, White Pearl was among 200,000 Soviet Koreans deported to central Asia by Joseph Stalin, who feared they would spy on behalf of the Japanese. Svetlana reflects often on her grandmother’s tales of that hard time, drawing on the strength of her belovedbabushka to enable her to make the very best of her own life. White Pearl and I is a modern and uplifting account of Svetlana’s tireless search for the American dream.
Svetlana Kim LLC features workshops and seminars to help your organization achieve the ultimate results. Now she has impacted the lives of thousands people from all walks of life with her best-selling book, public speaking, and workshops.
Svetlana Kim was selected to be a Spokesperson for the 2011 Macy’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
In February 2010, Orphan International Worldwide honored her with its Global Citizenship A ward for her work towards saving the lives of children in Haiti.
Kim’s stellar leadership, ethical business practices, and community service was recognized when the Euro-American Women’s Council bestowed her with the Goddess Artemis Award. The EAWC brings together women of diverse backgrounds and accomplishments to work together toward the advancement of women’s access to positions of leadership and to pave the way for the next generation of women business leaders.
In 2009, the International Leadership Foundation paid tribute to Kim with its Leadership Award, selecting her from among a group of potential honorees including congress members, presidential cabinet secretaries, and other high-ranking officials.
In 2008, Kim became an Asian Academy Hall of Fame inductee. She shares this acclaimed honor with Norman Mineta, the former Secretary of Transportation, and with the nation’s 24 th Secretary of Labor, Elaine L. Chao.
Having left the communist world behind, Kim has fully embraced the freedoms of the American political and social system, and has actively been involved in the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; the Hillary for President presidential campaign; the Women’s Campaign Forum; the Women’s National Democratic Club; AARP Women’s Leadership Circle; and Calvary Women’s Services. She has held committee or officer positions with the Junior League of Washington, D.C.; the Asian Leaders Association of the Asian Academy Hall of Fame; the National Press Club (authors’ committee); Capital Speakers Club; and the Asian American Justice Center.
Kim has been featured and profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, MSN Money, MSNBC, Women’s Life magazine in Seoul, Korea; the Asian Fortune; Networking Times; NASDAQ’s Closing Bell; and The Gazette, a publication of the Library of Congress.
Kim shares her business acumen and managerial experience by serving on several boards of directors, including: the Asian Division Friends Society of the Library of Congress (Board Vice President, 2007 – present); the Global Advisory Board of the Euro-American Women’s Council (2007-present); the National Council of Asian American Business Associations (East Coast president, 2009 – present); the Asian Leaders Association (2007-present); the Pacific Coast Immigration Museum (Board member, 2009-present); and Korean American Women’s Chamber of Commerce (Board member, 2009-present). She also serves as a steering committee member of the Global Coalition for Korean reconciliation.
Committed to giving back to her local and worldwide community, Kim has donated over 180 hours in eighteen months to the Calvary Women’s Services in Chinatown in Washington, D.C. Additionally, she volunteers at the Office of Presidential Correspondence in the White House. F. Michael Kelleher, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Correspondence wrote about Svetlana Kim: “Your time and conscientious attention to every American who contacts our President is inspiring. Thank you for your hard work and your commitment to our office, to our President, and to our Nation.”
Svetlana Kim’s passion for helping young Asians achieve their own American dreams fuels her daily work and volunteerism. Svetlana resides in Washington, D.C.
Letter from President Barack Obama
Letter from Sec. of State Hillary Clinton
Letter from F. Michael Kelleher, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Correspondence
NAAAP 100, 25th NAAAP Annual Convention and Job Fair, Boston, August 13, 2011, Boston, MA, USA
“Above and Beyond Junior League of Washington” Award, Junior League of Washington, May, 2010, Washington, DC, USA
Orphan International Worldwide 2010 Global Citizenship Award for Leadership in Helping Humanity, February 28, 2010, New York, NY, USA
USA ILF (International Leadership Foundation) Award, July 23, 2009, Washington, DC, USA
EAWC (Euro-American Women’s Council) “Goddess Artemis” Award, July 23, 2009, Athens, Greece
Award from the Mayor of Athens, July 22, 2009, Athens, Greece
Points of Light Honoree, Point of Light Institute, May 11, 2009, Washington, DC, USA
Asian Academy Hall of Fame, February 4, 2008, Beijing, China
UBS PaineWebber Excellence Award, 2002, New York City, NY, USA
Lancome President’s Circle Award, April 1996, San Francisco, USA
Recognitions: Orphan International Worldwide 2010 Global Citizenship Award for Leadership in Helping Humanity, February 28, 2010, New York , NY., National Council of Asian American Business Associations “Business Role Model of the Year” Award, June 21, 2010, Baltimore, M.D., USA ILF (International Leadership Foundation) Award, July 23, 2009, Washington., D.C., Junior League of Washington “Above and Beyond Junior League of Washington” Award, May, 2010, Washington, D.C., USA EAWC (Euro-American Women’s Council) “Goddess Artemis” Award, July 23, 2009, Athens, Greece Award from the Mayor of Athens, July 22, 2009, Athens, Greece, Asian Academy Hall of Fame, February 4, 2008, Beijing, China, UBS PaineWebber Excellence Award, 2002, New York City, USA Lancome President’s Cirle