Born in South Korea, Cathryn’s parents and family immigrated to California in 1983. She and her siblings grew up very poor, moving from apartment to apartment around Los Angeles as her father worked tirelessly to put food on the table.
She was one of three East Asians in her school and struggled to feel like she belonged socially. Homelife was equally challenging as she dealt with her mother’s mental illness and the increasing language and cultural barriers between herself and her parents.
What got her through the toughest times was her love for learning and succeeding at school. Cathryn attended UCLA and later San Francisco State University where she found herself in the middle of the Dot Com Boom and got her first job as in tech.
Cathryn spent her early career trying different fields and industries – tech recruiting, marketing, engineering, legal, finance.
Women and BIPOC were uncommon hires, and just like in school, Cathryn often found herself overlooked and underrepresented. She had to work hard to stand out on her team and make her voice heard.
Cathryn quickly saw how unconscious bias within the team affected not only opportunities but also stifled innovation. Over time, she gained the confidence and trust of the team and helped curate a culture of acceptance.
It wasn’t until she landed a job at her first Fortune 500, Boeing, that she felt like she belonged somewhere — a true kinship with employees from all walks of life and different ages.
After 20 years of real-life experiences from Fortune 500s like Boeing and Northrop Grumman as a hiring manager, interviewee, and recruiter across various industries such as Government, Healthcare, and Technology, Cathryn is leveraging her experience to help diverse workers and leaders achieve success and find their voice in the workplace.
As a D&I Speaker and consultant, Cathryn works with organizations to make corporate America a better workplace by showing how the power of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, especially in an ever-increasing remote work environment can lead to greater growth and innovation.Learn More About Speaking
When the unemployment crisis happened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cathryn felt deeply compelled to help job seekers who were feeling angry, sad, lost, and hopeless, because as a working, single mom with a young toddler, Cathryn understood those feelings so well, and she knew how to get out of that state
On April 7, 2020, Cathryn posted her first TikTok as @iCathryn and it went viral. Since then, she’s grown her audience and posted multiple other viral videos centered around real-life career strategies and advice about how to get more opportunities in the tech industry.
Within a year, she was featured in The New York Times, Bloomberg, ABC News, The Filament, and more.