“It is more blessed to give than receive,” the Bible says. Most people know that this is true—however, they seldom make this statement come true, because it is also much harder to give than to receive. To make this hard job easier, the talent donation coordinators come on the scene. Ko Young (’96, Political Science), the head of Korea’s first talent donation coordinating organization, the Social Consulting Group (SCG) and also a proud alumni of Korea University (KU), talks about this upcoming field of occupation and also about pro bono work in Korea.
GT: Who are talent donation coordinators? What activities do they do and what is required to become a talent donation coordinator?
KO: A talent donation coordinator is literally a person who matches those who have the talents with those who need the talent donation. This is an occupation that comes in various types in all fields of industry, such as business, education, and social work. Talent donation coordinators not only serve as a simple link, but also do the work as consultants on certain projects. They analyze the talents each donor has, and lead the donators to the right place where they can be the best solution. Therefore, to become a talent donation coordinator, one has to know a lot about the society, and also has to be proficient in reading society’s trends. A warm heart and concern for all people and society is also needed.
GT: Can you tell the readers about the SCG? What made you choose this career as a talent donation coordinator, and also become the founder of this group?
KO: SCG is the first social consulting group to be founded in Korea, and the motivation for me to jump in this business goes back to my university years. When I was running for the KU student council election, I initiated a lot of new movements in school. The most effective one was the project about picking up garbage after the annual Ko-Yeon games. Maybe you will be surprised to know that I was the one who first came up with the idea of using the garbage bags as cheering tools. Through activities like this, I realized that even the smallest movements can bring a big, significant change. Therefore, I opened up this new field in Korea after graduation, to literally change the world.
▲ Ko Young, photographed by Maeng Joon Ho.
GT: What was the most memorable experience you had during your work as a talent donation coordinator?
KO: It was several years ago when I faced the tragic history of Russian-Koreans, known as Goryeo-people. They were the ones who underwent deportation to Russia during the Japanese colonial area, and lived there ever since. When I was asked to find a donator to help them alleviate their poverty, I myself volunteered as a talent donator. It was a great opportunity for me to realize my ignorance of a society that seemed far from me. I also donated 25 million won after thinking about it for a long time. Even though it was a huge burden for me during that period, it was worthwhile to see how much the Russian-Koreans’ economy grew after they bought land and crops with the donation. This was the most memorable experience, and also the one that made me realize the power of a flap of a butterfly’s wings for the first time.
GT: Why do you think that our society needs talent donation? How can this help or change society?
KO: Many people think that talent donation is only helpful for the beneficiaries because of the nuance of the word, donation. However, I believe both donators and the receivers greatly benefit from this work. From the youngest children to the oldest seniors, all individuals each have their own talents to contribute to society, and talent donation is the opportunity for them to rediscover and develop them. For example, retired seniors at home are in fact the hidden veterans in their field—therefore, donation of their talents can be a great help to the local society. By this exchange of ideas and talents, people can build a healthy relationship with each other. Thus, with this voluntary act of citizens, society is sure to change, because change is not difficult at all.
GT: What is your outlook on this job? Also, for yourself, what are you planning to do in the future?
KO: Talent donation coordinating has much more potential than most people think, because it can develop in all fields of life. Technically, this job does not pay— nevertheless, it can also develop in the shape of a profit-making company. For myself, I am currently on several projects, all in order to make our society a better place. One project that I am concentrating the most on is bringing change to the education system of Korean universities. The ultimate goal for this project is to make a new form of university with an innovative way of education, and run by the hands of students themselves.
GT: Lastly, can you give any advice to KU students, and all GT readers?
KO: For everyone, I want to give two pieces of advice. First of all, do not take the current society for granted. I have experienced so many big changes in society that were made by the hands of my fellow partners’ and myself. All of us started from constantly questioning and challenging the structural defects of current society. Second, I want to remind all youths that many great figures in history were in fact very young when they achieved great accomplishments. Therefore, age does not mean anything in one’s capability to change society—it is always better to start as earlier as you can. Always remember, a flap of a butterfly’s wings can bring a tornado—it is our job to create everything from nothing.