She arrives in New York speaking no English, with only a dollar in her pocket. With the help of a Good Samaritan, she travels by bus to California, hoping to connect with an acquaintance from home. Yet when she mistakenly disembarks in San Francisco instead of Sacramento, she finds herself penniless and alone. What unfolds is a miraculous story of survival, as Svetlana encounters kind strangers and struggles to cobble together a meager existence. Through it all, when her nerve threatens to fail her, she returns to memories of her grandmother White Pearl, whose parents immigrated to Russia from Korea. As a girl, White Pearl was among 200,000 Soviet Koreans deported to central Asia by Joseph Stalin, who feared they would spy on behalf of the Japanese. Kim reflects often on her grandmother’s tales of that hard time, drawing on the strength of her beloved babushka to enable her to make the very best of her life. White Pearl and I is a modern and uplifting account of one woman’s tireless search for the American dream. In her new book, “White Pearl and I: A Memoir of a Political Refugee,” Ms. Kim describes her amazing journey and how she navigated the often difficult legal process of being a political refugee and worked her way to success as she become a stock broker.Ms. Kim’s life is an homage to her greatest inspiration, her grandmother, Bya-ok (Korean for White Pearl) as well as to the countless hard working and generous people who have in her own words helped her, “to never stop dreaming big and to pursue my own happiness.” Renown for more than her courage to leave her home, Ms. Kim is an outspoken and effective activist.Most recently she became a 2008 Asian Academy Hall of Fame inductee. She shares this acclaimed honor with Norman Mineta, the former Secretary of Transportation and Labor Secretary,Elaine Chao. Having left the communist world behind her, she has embraced the freedoms of the American political and social system. She has been involved in the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Women Impacting Public Policy, AARP Women's Leadership Circle, the Junior League of WashingtonDC, and Asian Leaders Association. Svetlana also adds her insight and managerial experience to several Boards of Directors including the Asian Division Friends Society Library of Congress, Global Advisory Board of the Euro-American Women’s Council, National Council of Asian American Business Associations, Asian Leaders Associations, Pacific Coast Immigration Museum, and she serves as a Steering Committee member of the Global Coalition for Korean War Reconciliation.Ms. Kim’s professional accomplishments include a position as the former Director for Strategic Partnerships for the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), an organization with 60,000 members. And significant work with Business Women's Network (BWN), a division of NBC Universal, where she was personally responsible for creating programs which brought over $600,000 to the organization. While working with BWN, she worked with over 100 small businesses representing over $1.5 billion in revenues.
Ms. Kim’s signature presentations include:
• My Russian-Korean Babushka’s Secrets on How to Persevere in Tough Times and Achieve Ultimate Success
• The Other Holocaust: Forgotten Lessons for Today
• How to Climb the Ladder to Success: What I Discovered While Going From Cleaning Lady to Presidential Fundraiser
• Giving Without Remembering, Taking Without Forgetting: How to Build Successful Relationships in Business and Life