Hyewoon Yang, CSR Programme Director
After working in various fields, Hyewoon Yang decided to utilize all her experiences with one more additional skill: cooking. While working at NGO she visited local schools, daycare centres, and orphanages in remote places such as Sikkim, India and Thanlyin, Myanmar. She began to realize the importance of teaching children about food and eating. Hyewoon had been making children’s books which emphasize pursuing their dreams, however, not many were telling kids about eating well. Now, she is working on educational programmes about eating and food which include how to maximise local ingredients.
When did you realise you wanted to become a CSR programme director?
CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) was not mandatory for many companies when I started working at NGO 10 years ago. But, gradually more companies gave importance to CSR programmes. The vast possibilities of creating interesting and meaningful programmes for both companies and people in different countries attracted me.
What’s the best thing about being a CSR programme director?
When I visit schools with books which are donated and sometimes made by employees of the companies. The children are just overjoyed. Also, I am always learning, I always have to study since I work with companies in different businesses.
What are your main responsibilities? Talk us through your average working day…
As I begin my day at work, I always think about what’s next. For example, "this time pop-up books will be better than felt books." After graduation I worked on a picture book which had no words, only illustrations, to bring out interests from kids. This book will go to a kindergarten in India that I have been working with.
Is there anything that surprised you when starting the role?
I was happy to witness the increasing number of companies looking for different kinds of CSR programmes. CSR didn’t mean much more than volunteer work before. They are becoming more and more involved now.
How do you work with your team? Any management tips?
Ideas, ideas, and ideas. Brainstorming is very important. Even stupid or very unrealistic ideas are welcomed. I value openness the most. And the first thing I ask to my team and to myself is "do we have a motivation without bias?"
Why did you choose Le Cordon Bleu Seoul? What does Le Cordon Bleu represent for you in one word/sentence?
When I planned to make an educational programme on ‘proper eating’ my question was "where should I learn the expertise on cuisine and food from the basic?" I decided to join the cuisine diploma at Le Cordon Bleu Seoul, which provides the fundamental knowledge of cooking.
How did studying the Diplôme de Cuisine help you to achieve your current role?
The most precious lesson that I have learned from this programme is respecting the value of all ingredients. It inspired me to make a programme to let people know the right mindset and respect for food. And the technique, knowledge, and attitude of respecting food that I have learned from Le Cordon Bleu paved the way for the new opportunity in my career. It would have been a disaster talking about 'eating' without what I learned at Le Cordon Bleu.
Do you still meet with Le Cordon Bleu graduates?
We have a chatting room and exchange whereabouts. We became more like battle buddies. We
helped each other to survive in the class! I am very lucky to be included in this group.
What has been the best moment in your career so far?
When I introduced the first CSR programme nobody was interested. NGO, where I worked was not an internationally famous nor financially stable company. But I loved its stubbornness not to appeal to sympathy. Hotel Shilla (one of the best hotels in Korea) wanted to participate. They were the first big company to join the programme. I was ecstatic and worked every weekend. They have been the biggest supporter for nearly 9 years.
What's the best piece of advice you’ve received? And/or what advice would you give to anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
It doesn’t matter where you work or what you do. When your intention is pure it leads to the right way.
One of the best decisions in my career was to go to Le Cordon Bleu. Knowledge is very important but when it comes with an actual skill you will have a different level of execution. Skill itself can be a tool but when you add a new professional skill to an existing profession you can open a new chapter in your career.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Jacques Pepin and Thomas Keller. They know they have powers and they absolutely know how to use their power. Not to mention their constant efforts on their job as well as their awareness towards public interests.
See more alumni stories