Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: David Kim

Wednesday night mentor David Kim (right) is a lifelong resident of Illinois. He was born in Rogers Park, grew up in Skokie, and attended college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a child, he was very shy, quiet, and studious. It was not until college that David became extroverted. He suggests moving out on your own to a campus environment after high school. “It is on your own that you learn to mature socially,” he says. “You develop as a person, begin to relate with others, and make lots of new friends.” David says that living on his own in college helped him break out of his shell and build self-confidence.

He was further exposed to the “real world” through the co-op program in the College of Engineering. There he would spend one semester in school and one semester working. He also had the opportunity to work over the summer. David worked for Rolls-Royce Aerospace in a different department each time (manufacturing, design, testing, marketing, etc.). He had told himself, “I don’t want to graduate without a job,” and these internships helped him build up his resume to ensure that that didn’t happen.

Surprisingly, however, David did not go with an engineering company out of college. “It wasn’t my cup of tea,” he says. David became an Information Technology (IT) consultant, a position he held for five years, and with this job, he traveled a lot; working and living in almost every major city in the United States. IT consultants “deliver technological solutions to complex business problems” and their work involves computers, software, programming, and analysis.

David currently works at BlueCross BlueShield as a Business Solutions Architect. It is a stable position with no travel, but still allows him to use his analytical skills. He is not all “left brain,” though. David’s weeknight and weekend job is as a life empowerment coach and certified hypnotherapist. David is very passionate about personal development and growth and “expanding my awareness as a human being.”

His passion for this type of work opened up six years ago after personal hardship in his work and personal life. As he was searching for answers to deal with stress better and find purpose and meaning in life, he met his first personal success coach. He became engrossed in the subject – reading books and attending lectures and seminars – to the point where he now runs his own business.

This experience is great for David’s role as a mentor at Cabrini Connections. He became involved with the program because it is a personal value of his to give back to the world. “I love coaching, helping, and mentoring others,” says David. “[Cabrini Connections] has been everything I imagined it to be.” He reminds volunteers, “It’s not always about the schoolwork. It’s also about life.” At the start of each session, David always spends a few minutes asking his mentee, Juan Zamudio, how his week has been.

In his spare time, David loves to run (he ran a marathon), dance (he does Latin and ballroom dancing), sing (he’s in his company’s choir), and travel, among other things. He has gone scuba diving in Thailand, surfing in Costa Rica, bike riding in Italy, and this summer he’s headed to Machu Picchu in Peru.

David’s advice for everyone is: “Always do the best you can in any moment… Don’t get down on yourself too much. Mistakes are a part of life.” Thanks, David!

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