The business of Korea is business.

      

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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Friends of KBLA

Friends of KBLA is KBLA's Sponsorship Program for those who want more.

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Rodney J Johnson

KBLA Managing Director

Rodney J. Johnson is currently President of Erudite Risk and a Co-Founder of the 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

Steve McKinney

KBLA Co-Founder

Steve McKinney established McKinney Consulting Inc. in 2001 in Seoul. 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.

John Schuldt

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

Jocelyn Clark

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

Paul Lee

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

Philippe Shin

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

Hank Morris

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

Bryan Hopkins

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

Ogan Gurel

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

Ryan Goessl

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

Guy Ofek

KBLA Ambassador for Singapore

Mr. Ofek is a seasoned and well-experienced executive, who spent the passing 17 years working for various solutions providers, promoting both hardware and software solutions all across APAC, with a focus on segments like Aerospace, Automotive, Medical and Education. In the passing 13 years, Guy been primarily involved with the Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) industry, working for the likes of Stratasys and Mcor Technologies, assisting them in sales, channel and distribution management, as well as working with multiple MNCs across Korea and Japan, in effort to grow adoption and application of this technology in their Manufacturing and Production oriented environments. Guy is based out of Singapore, and in his current position, is heading GF Machining Solutions (a division of George Fischer AG) Additive Manufacturing Business Development Dep. in Asia, assisting clients adopt metal Additive Manufacturing and optimizing their metal AM workflows, via the incorporation of industrial automation and post processing technologies. Prior to relocating back to Singapore, earlier this year, Guy was a resident of Seoul for six years, and an active member of the KBLA.

Head of Additive Manufacturing Business Development, Asia, GF Machining Solutions

Michael Conforme

KBLA South Director

Mike’s specialties include growing revenue, improving operations and building great teams. He is coauthor of the management eBook, People + Performance = Profit and has also written for other publications in Asia and via his blog about growth strategies, talent development, team effectiveness and organizational change. He has been featured in Forbes magazine for his innovative strategies for developing high performance teams and is the recipient of the Herald Media Business innovation award for ‘Best People Practices’. For the past 16 years as an entrepreneur he has founded several companies in the real estate, management consulting, and health & fitness sectors. As a mentor and hands on angel investor, he tries to add value by helping CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs with their teams, business development and sales challenges. Prior to starting his own businesses he held senior management positions in sales and human resources at LG Electronics, Samsung Group and GAP Inc. He currently serves as the human resources co-chair at the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea. He also served 6 years as governor and board member at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Korea.

Founder and Proprietor, Casa Habano Busan