Last Thursday, November 17,  we attended Soirée ’16, presented by the Korean Canadian Scholarship Foundation’s Student Development Committee (abbreviated as KCSF-SDC).  It is known as being one of the largest social networking events in the Korean-Canadian community and one of the KCSF-SDC’s most popular events.  Held at the Arcadian Loft, it was a semi-formal evening where attendees dress to impress, interact with their fellow peers over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and meet with other young professionals from diverse backgrounds.   The event had a great turnout and a lively buzz in the atmosphere throughout the night.

This type of event may be a new experience for those who are not in business fields or may not have as much experience being in a room full of new people.  It allows young people to practice their networking skills in a place they can feel more comfortable, among other Korean-Canadians.  It also gives them an opportunity to meet other members of the community, many who will possibly become valuable connections that can help them on their career paths.

The event kicked things off with a networking workshop led by Paul Kuttner, Principal of Innovate Inc.  After an introduction and welcome from the SDC organizers and the Consulate General of Korea, Paul gave a brief overview of his presentation, “How to Work a Crowded Room”.  It was helpful to hear about some of these tips from an in-house expert as this is definitely not a natural ability for many of us.

During the networking session, we were given the opportunity to chat with Phillip Cho, Chair of the Korean Canadian Scholarship Foundation.  He made a few key points that we took away following our conversation, one of these being that he would like to encourage not just young business professionals to practice their networking, but young people across all backgrounds and industries including the arts and media sectors.

Having these type of events also creates a safe space for young people to feel more comfortable while they practice for other networking functions in more intimidating settings.

Nowadays in order to get to different places, young people still need to be connecting with people across different industries and open themselves up to new perspectives.  Echoing from Phillip’s words, it’s not necessarily about what field we get into, it’s also about knowing how to interact with people and build the right type of connections – not just in our own industry, but even in places we don’t necessarily expect.

“Now is the time to capitalize while we have more accomplished individuals working in the accounting,  law, and financial sectors.”

It is certainly evident that the Korean-Canadian community has made tremendous strides and has come a long way since the first wave of Korean immigration to Canada.  Phillip also hopes to inspire other cultural communities to follow in these types of initiatives by leading as an example with the KCSF as a model.

The point was also brought up that many people are unfamiliar with the basics of how to network.  The nature of networking events make many young people nervous, especially those who may not have the most outgoing personality and do not feel comfortable walking through a sea of new faces.  This obstacle is usually combated by coming to event with friends to help introduce you to others and get the ball rolling. Sometimes all you need is that introduction and you’re all set. For others this is a more difficult activity so it may take more time to learn and become more confident.

Social networking is a valuable skill in today’s changing economy, and it was great to see that organizations like the KCSF-SDC recognize the importance of training young people who need that extra confidence boost and a place to meet others in the same boat.  As with any craft that we strive to become better at, networking also takes practice.

Interested in events like these?   Be sure to check out more KCSF events in the upcoming months to get involved!

More about KCSF-SDC:
The KCSF’s Student Development Committee was formed in 2001 to serve the growing need for leadership development in the Korean-Canadian community.  Their team ranges from various industries and diverse backgrounds with the aim to bring together all generations of the Korean-Canadian community, inspiring young people to reach their goals.  By providing positive role models as well as a comfortable, safe environment for members of the community at their events, it encourages young people to participate in these initiatives and connect with one another.  Through their example, the SDC fosters leadership, career mentorship and collaboration with related organizations.

Other programs offered by KCSF-SDC:  

  • Bursary Program:  Offered to full-time post-secondary students to help with financial aid towards their education.  Find out how you can apply here.
  • Career Conference:  The SDC provides this valuable opportunity for young generation Korean-Canadians to explore a wide range of career fields and build networks with professionals.
  • Konnect:   Leadership program and mentorship camp for high school students put together by post-secondary students to empower youth in the community to develop into future leaders.
  • Scholarship Night Gala:  Celebrates the Korean community’s achievements and growth and intended to inspire young people to reach their own success.