SO YOUNG KANG | Culture Consultant

Transformation Designer

Business Technology Specialist

So-Young Kang is Catalyst, Founder & CEO of Awaken Group, a multi-disciplinary Transformation Design (TD) firm that integrates strategy, leadership, and innovation to design experiences that catalyze change.

She is passionate about transforming the world through inspiring and developing “human, creative, adaptive” organizations. So-Young has been leading cultural transformations, designing user-centric experiences, coaching CEO’s and executives, training and developing, maximizing performance, and designing organizations for over 15 years. She is passionate about integrating East-West values and mindsets and has traveled around the world to observe, listen, experience, and be transformed so that she, in turn, can catalyze sustainable change.

Starting from her experiences as a change agent at Citibank to her most recent experiences at McKinsey where she was a global expert in designing and implementing value-based performance management systems through cultural transformation, coaching and organizational experience design.

So-Young has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA with Honors from the University of Pennsylvania. She was previously with McKinsey & Company and Citigroup. In 2000, she founded The Young Professionals’ Group, a scholarship and advisor network to help students achieve their professional dreams. So-Young is a TED-ster and has been a TEDx speaker. In 2014, she was selected to be a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

So-Young has been a certified Gallup Strengths Finder coach since 2009 in both the US and Singapore. She is also certified in The Leadership Circle (360-degree competency assessment) and the Cultural Intelligence (CQ) assessment.

She has traveled to over 30 countries and has advised leaders globally as an expert and speaker on topics including strategy, leadership, organizational design, Design Thinking, user experience, vision, values, performance management, cultural transformation, adaptability, and top team engagement. She recently published Inside Out, part of a global series on global leadership and innovation (GLIP). She has a deep love for Asia and expertise in Asian cultures, given her experience working globally for 20 years, and her fluency in Korean and Japanese.

​She is committed to serving the community and founded The Young Professionals’ Group (YPG) in 2000, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students achieve their professional dreams. She sits on the boards of Open University West Africa and Love North Korea Ministries. She loves new ideas and is a serial entrepreneur.