The Korea Business Leaders Alliance was founded in Korea in 2015.
About Our Community
We make the Korean business environment more accessible and efficient by connecting, informing, and enabling the KBLA community, in Korea and around the world. To accomplish our mission we directly publish a variety of intelligence reports and connect those with expertise and information to those who wish to do better business in Korea.
What the KBLA Does
- Provide information and intelligence on the Korean economy and business environment. The scope of provided information ranges from economic and trade statistics to legal risk and proposed legislation to operational concerns of doing business in Korea.
- Create opportunities to build relationships among members and link up those who need services in Korea with those who provide exemplary expertise and support in country.
Over the years, KBLA has evolved through several different organizational forms. In 2020, we arrive at a fully-online, fully digital set of services and benefits aimed to reach a global audience.
Through all the changes, the three core tenets of the KBLA have remained unchanged from the beginning.
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Get all the facts on what KBLA offers.
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Friends of KBLA
Friends of KBLA is KBLA's Sponsorship Program for those who want more.
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Rod Rothwell is currently the Founder of My Business Stories (MBS), a business storytelling consultancy. He has been in Korea for more than twenty years and has balanced his working life in academic roles and marketing/communications. Before MBS Rod worked for AustCham Korea as the Executive Director and then project roles at Australian Meat and Livestock and Daegu Gyungbuk FEZ. He has completed two, tours of Samsung, once at HRDC and most recently at Samsung SDS, in the Strategic Marketing Team. On the academic side, Rod has taught at KAIST MBA and Sungkyungwang MBAs. In 2021, he is also beginning a new role at George Mason University, Korea Campus as a business term instructor.
Hailey Hyewon Yang
Hailey is CEO and founder of ORANG&ORANG, business development and project planning company through ‘connection’ and ‘branding’. She is also working for Invest in Grenoble-Alpes, France as a Director and Osceola County, Florida, USA, as a Korea Business Development Manager based in Seoul. Prior to founding ORANG&ORANG Hailey had a career of five years in country manager position within Yole Développement, the worldwide market research, technology and strategy consulting company. Through the background of understanding on technology and market, she has strong portfolio on business matching between tech-based companies. Through the background and worldwide networking, she leads G2G and B2B projects and develops creative projects.
Rodney J Johnson
KBLA Chair Emeritus
Rodney J. Johnson is currently President of Erudite Risk and a Co-Founder of KBLA. He has spent most of his work life in Asia. Working in both the IT and the security sectors, he has been based in Korea and Singapore, while running companies with direct operations in Korea, China, Singapore, and India. He is the former country manager of a Korean subsidiary of a Silicon Valley operating systems start-up acquired by Samsung SDS, Korea’s largest systems integration company. Following that acquisition, he served as the chief operating officer of the new Samsung SDS–affiliated company that resulted from the acquisition.
President, Erudite Risk
KBLA Chair Emeritus
Steve McKinney is CEO of McKinney Consulting Inc., a company he founded in 2001 in Seoul, and a Co-Founder of KBLA. Prior to founding McKinney Consulting Steve had a distinguished career of more than twelve years in senior positions within the leading athletic companies, Adidas and Reebok, in the USA and Korea. He is also Special Advisor to the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea Board, and the former Head of the Seoul Global Center, which is an organ of the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
President, McKinney Consulting, Inc.
KBLA Ambassador for the USA
John Schuldt is an accomplished global executive with extensive experience in growing profitable business units in the USA and North Asia. Many of you may know John as he is a long time member of the KBLA, joining in 2014 while he was Vice President and CMO of Ford Korea and continuing during his tenure as President of AMCHAM Korea. Over a 30-plus year career at Ford Motor Company, he held increasingly more responsible sales and marketing roles in both the US and Asia. In addition to key USA sales leadership roles, he achieved success in key international roles as the Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Ford Korea, General Manager of the Tokyo regional sales office for Mazda, and District Sales Manager for the South Pacific Region. Since retiring from Ford Motor Company in 2015, Mr. Schuldt has gained significant association management leadership experience as President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM), and the Executive Director of the Thunderbird Independent Alumni Association (TIAA) in Scottsdale Arizona. John is presently Director of Global Business Development for International Auto Source - a 25 year old USA based private company specializing in the sale of new vehicles to International executives and students coming to the USA to work and study. John lives and works on Long Island outside of New York City.
Director of Global Business Development, International Auto Source
KBLA Arts Ambassador
Jocelyn’s first solo sojurn to Asia was in 1984 when she did a summer exchange in Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan. Since then she has lived in Japan, China, and Korea for more than half her adult life. Jocelyn has a 2005 Ph. D. from Harvard University in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Jocelyn served on the Alaska State Council on the Arts from 2004 to 2009 and the Juneau World Affairs Council from 2005-2013. Jocelyn currently serves on the board of the Jeonju International Sori Festival, the editorial board of the Korea Foundation’s English language journal, Korea Focus, and as a “Foreign Councilor” to the Mayor of Daejeon. In Daejeon, she also works as a professor of East Asian Studies at Pai Chai University. Her area of expertise is Korean music, a field in which she is active as a gayageum player, a director/producer, and like all good academics, a writer of ethnomusicological treatises.
Assistant Professor, Paichai University
KBLA Community Director
Paul Lee (이용탁) is the Country Manager at ETS Global Korea with responsibility for all ETS products and services offered in Korea. Paul joined ETS in June 2007 from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, where he served as the principal Korean advisor to the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs. As the most senior Korean staff member at the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Embassy, he was responsible for advising U.S. firms on commercial strategies for the Korean market as well as facilitating contacts with a wide range of government agencies and major industries. Prior to joining the U.S. Embassy, he held positions in sales, marketing and business development with NCH Corporation.
Country Manager, ETS Global Korea
KBLA Community Director
Philippe started his legal career in 1991 in France. After Paris and Hong Kong, where he worked for French and US law firms, he settled down in Seoul. He is now a partner at Shin & Kim, a major Korean law firm. He advises foreign companies doing business in Korea, in diverse areas: acquisitions, joint ventures, defense procurement, labor, merger control, and general corporate and commercial law. Above all, he tries to be a bridge between cultures, to facilitate foreign investors’ understanding of the Korean ways of doing business. He is a graduate of the University of Paris 2, HEC, and the University of Chicago.
Foreign Partner, Shin & Kim
KBLA Community Director
Hank Morris is an American with over 30 years of experience in the Korean financial sector. He initially came to Korea in the early 1970s with the US Peace Corps and served as a university teacher from 1972-75. He then entered the financial sector in the USA in the late '70s before returning to Korea in the early '80s where he has been based ever since. Hank has had senior management roles in securities analysis and sales, as well as investment banking with Korean and UK securities companies and trust companies, investment banks, and asset management companies including Ssangyong Securities, Kleinwort Benson, HG Asia, Standard Chartered Merchant Bank, Bermuda Trust, GAM and Asia Alternative Asset Partners. Currently he is advising Observatory Group on the Korean market. Observatory Group is a macroeconomic policy research company, with a focus on the economic and political risk analysis of the US Federal Reserve, the ECB and Bank of England, Bank of Japan, Peoples Bank of China and Reserve Bank of India. Hank writes frequently on the asset management markets of Korea and Japan for Asia Asset Management magazine, and he has often been interviewed about the Korean market on CNBC, Bloomberg, and the BBC. Hank is fluent in Korean and is active on the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch and with the Executive Committee of the Seoul Financial Forum.
Senior Advisor, Erudite Risk
KBLA Community Director
Bryan Hopkins has more than twenty five years experience as in house counsel to major multinational corporations. He currently is Special Counsel to Lee & Ko, one of Korea’s largest law firms. He was recently Vice President and General Counsel at Samsung Electronics America, Inc., a position he held for ten years. At Samsung, he managed all domestic and international legal activities including retail related issues, antitrust litigation, class action defense and IP litigation. Earlier in his career, Bryan gained extensive experience in corporate law, international law and international litigation at the Racal Corporation, the US subsidiary of Racal Electronics (now called Thales), Kumho Petrochemical in Seoul, Korea and the Samsung Co. in Seoul, Korea.
Special Counsel, Lee & Ko
KBLA Innovation Ambassador
Dr. Gurel serves as Chief Scientific Officer for FRT – Field Robot Technology and holds an academic appointment as Visiting Professor at DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology), with previous positions at DGIST as Vice-Chair & Distinguished Invited Professor (Management of Innovation). In the startup world, he serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Eidware / SoundMind (Seoul), with previous roles at NovumWaves (Seoul), Nessa Hearing (Singapore), Posture360 (Seoul), and Frasen (Seoul). Dr. Gurel also works closely with many digital healthcare startups in Korea, Singapore and worldwide. Previously, he was Chief Innovation Officer at Campus D, a Seoul-based startup incubator/Fab Lab and served over four years as a Director in the CTO office (MOT & Open Innovation groups) at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT). Dr. Gurel’s over 35 years experience in healthcare spans multiple sectors: biomedical science, clinical medicine, strategy consulting, business development, executive management, marketing, and R&D, with direct expertise in medical devices, mobile health, healthcare IT, and medical imaging. Prior to surgical training at the Massachusetts General Hospital, he obtained an M.D. Alpha Omega Alpha from Columbia University, also doing graduate work in structural biology and earned a Bachelor’s in Biochemical Sciences cum laude from Harvard College. Authoring over 15 academic papers and conference proceedings and co-inventor on three patents, Dr. Gurel has given keynote addresses and other speeches on the future of healthcare as well as innovation and strategy more generally, at business and scientific conferences and seminars worldwide. Over the past seven years he has also been presenting a unique Mini-MD program worldwide.
Visiting Professor, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology
KBLA Arts Ambassador
Dr. Goessl's expertise is in Western classical music. Dr. Ryan Goessl first came to Korea in 2006, founding and conducting the Camarata Music Company, one of the world's most diverse classical music organizations, presenting over 40 concerts per year, and representing over 60 countries since its inception. Along with his full-time duties at Camarata, Dr. Goessl is in demand as a choral and orchestral conductor, adjudicator, and clinician. Dr. Goessl also keeps a very active voice studio, with approximately 20 voice students. Dr. Goessl has received Excellence in Choral Music awards from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the U.S. Embassy of Korea, and the Blue House from the President of South Korea, along with numerous solo music awards.
Director/Conductor, Camarata Music Company