Svetlana Kim's Inspirational Journey in Search for the American Dream
Svetlana Kim's story reminds us that pursuing our dreams remains our most powerful path to success
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 a few words 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 reminds us that pursuing our dreams remains our most powerful path to success. Svetlana’s unlikely path takes her as a political refugee from Leningrad to NYC and beyond. Today, Svetlana (Lana) is an accomplished author, public speaker, founder of Svetlana Kim LLC, and active community advocate.
Svetlana arrived in America with one dollar and one dream in 1991 at the age of 23. Even with difficult events in life, she learned to embrace those challenges and learn from them. She doesn't believe in failures. They do not exist in her world. Negative results are still results because you learn from your mistakes. Whatever situation, pleasant or unpleasant, you do your best. Svetlana would describe it as understanding and accepting your challenges without rejecting them.
Now she has impacted the lives of thousands people from all walks of life with her best-selling book, public speaking, and workshops. You will learn how to make your decisions based on "M-P-R" (Meaning-Purpose-Reason), follow your intuition, turn impossible into possible, follow your dreams, reduce stress, and tap into the unlimited resources within you.
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 beloved babushka 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.
Those who have read Svetlana Kim's first book, White Pearl and I: A Memoir of a Political Refugee, have been touched by her life story and her ability to tell it with such passion and encouragement. Her book is unique in that it's written by Lana was raised a Soviet-Korean in the former USSR, and paints a vivid picture of what life was like for Koreans living under communist rule in Russia. This book is an important account of Soviet-Korean history, never before told from a first person perspective. Lana has artfully woven this important, but relatively unknown, part of history into her tale of hope and determination for a better life. It appeals to all people: men, women, teens, young adults, people of all races, religions, and backgrounds.
Lana's road to success included a stint as a makeup sales representative at Macy's Union Square in San Francisco that put her on the path to achievement, up the executive ranks in the beauty industry. As her influence grew, Kim took on roles within the community to serve as a leader and provide inspiration to others. Macy's welcomes back Svetlana Kim as a Spokesperson for the 2011 Macy's Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration to help empower Macy's valued guests with her stories of success and achievement.
In 2009, she delivered the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Keynote Address at the Library of Congress.
In February 2010, Orphan International Worldwide honored her with its Global Citizenship Award 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.
On May 11, 2009, Svetlana Kim was selected as a Daily Point of Light honoree for demonstrating the power of service to create a tangible change and her compassion that helps to make our communities stronger and better.
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 24th 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); Capitol Speakers Club; and the Asian American Justice Center.
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 – 2010);
The Asian Leaders Association;
The Pacific Coast Immigration Museum (2010-present); and
Korean American Women's Chamber of Commerce.
She also serves as a steering committee member of the Global Coalition for Korean reconciliation.
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.
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."
You may invite Svetlana Kim to speak at your corporate events. She will customize workshops on how to overcome any obstacles in business and life. Her award-winning programs include:
- My Russian-Korean Babushka's Secrets on How to Persevere in Tough Times and Achieve Ultimate Success
- How to Climb the Ladder to Success: What I Discovered While Going From Cleaning Lady to Presidential Fundraiser
- Giving Without Remembering, Taking Without Forgetting: How to Build Successful Relationships in Business and Life
Learn how to follow your intuition, make right decisions in life and business, create loving relationships, find solutions, reduce stress, and be productive. Svetlana Kim LLC features workshops and seminars to help your organization achieve the ultimate results. (available in half-day, one-day, or two-day formats.)
Svetlana Kim's passion for helping young Asians achieve their own American dreams fuels her daily work and volunteerism. Ms. Kim resides in Washington, D.C.
Spokesperson for the 2011 Macy's Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration
Orphan International Worldwide 2010 Global Citizenship Award for Leadership in Helping Humanity, February 28, 2010,
New York , NY., USA ILF (International Leadership Foundation) Award, July 23, 2009,
Washington., D.C., USAEAWC (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,
Asian Academy Hall of Fame, February 4, 2008,
Beijing, China UBS PaineWebber Excellence Award, 2002,
New York City, USA Lancome President’s Circle Award, April 1996, San Francisco, USA
Follow Lana on twitter at: twitter.com/svetlanakim