Growing up in poverty, it’s fair to say that Jin would never have imagined the life she now lives. But, with a strong mother behind her, Jin was encouraged to foster her creativity and see the world. Through scholarships, Jin earned a degree from a university in South Korea and was then offered a job in Germany. Eventually finding her way into the financial sector, she’s now based in Singapore and designs banking solutions that help millions of people make better financial decisions.
Read Jin's story below.
With her design experience, Jin paid attention to the details when putting her bracelet together. She featured bronze links to complement her tanned skin and paired these with oxidised silver links to create contrast and draw the eye.
But beyond the aesthetics, Jin felt it important to use her bracelet to weave her story. Believing that she has always been fortunate despite her humble beginnings, the foundation of Jin’s bracelet is the Lucky link. She has teamed this with Order in Chaos, which represents her commitment to helping banking customers seek out financial opportunities. The finishing flourish comes from Poppy Decadence, honouring the beauty that Jin sees in the every day.
DESIGNING HER DESTINY
Picture yourself growing up in your landlord’s garage, sharing that small space with your mum and two younger siblings. The floor is slanted, meaning that objects slide from one side of the room to the other overnight. Your dad, an alcoholic, has passed away. Your family are as poor as you can imagine.
From such humble beginnings, how would you picture your adult life? Would you see hope? Success? An esteemed career?
Calling on determination, support and a resilient spirit, Jin Kang saw all of those things:
"When I was young, I wanted to be anything, from a pianist to a diplomat. When I grew older I wanted to see the world and develop my creativity… What I had to really overcome was being the child who had very little means to achieve her dreams… But one day, somehow, I found it liberating that things could not get worse than this. Knowing that things could only get better gave me the strength and a big appetite for my life going forward.”
That strength is something that Jin inherited from her mother, a woman she openly admires and whose influence shines through everything she does: “her determination to give a better life to her children and her positive attitude lit up the darkness of my childhood. She never lost her gracefulness and beauty, even in the times of hardship.”
With that positive spirit behind her, Jin devoted herself to achieving her dreams. It took tenacity. It took perseverance. It took sacrifices. To get ahead, Jin juggled part-time work with a demanding study schedule. Somehow she even managed to find the time to win scholarships from her university and church, as well as an international design competition for her graduation project.
On the day her degree was conferred, Jin received a job offer from Germany. She leapt at the invitation to leave behind the sadness of her childhood and join a new world. The job turned out to be a flop but it was just one chapter in her path to success; the role had gotten her away from her circumstance and into a new environment, abundant with opportunities.
From that first job, Jin transitioned into the health sector where she designed customer solutions for pharmaceutical companies. However, it was while at a networking conference, speaking with another delegate about User Experience in the finance sector, that Jin had her real “WOW” moment. Without any financial experience herself, that conversation encouraged Jin to apply for a role with a private banking group in Switzerland.
Eight years on, Jin now works as Vice-President in Group Customer Experience at OCBC, Singapore, drawing on her creative side to design customer experiences. Her goal – to simplify banking processes for customers who lack financial expertise. It’s a role that requires a keen sense of observation, understanding how and where customers go to make financial transactions and making that process as seamless as possible. She also runs Designful Co, a design publication written for leaders in financial services.
And while Jin is inspired by solving complex business problems, her real joy comes from the fact that she is able to make a positive financial impact in the lives of her customers. More importantly, she hopes that sharing her story will change the life of someone who feels they have insufficient means to achieve their dreams.
Though Jin isn’t certain she’ll stay in finance, she knows that she will always design her life. For women who hope to do the same, Jin’s advice is to:
- Value your curiosity – never ignore it because curiosity is the energy to bring you to a new place
- Visualise your ideas – your brain is wired to pursue what you can imagine
- Be proud to be a woman - women possess a natural empathy and a special ability to connect the dots, which are essential skills in advancing your career.
JIN'S PERSONAL BRACELET DESIGN