“I'm of most value and in service when I use my superpowers of understanding the challenges that women face in the workplace.”
Dr. Sohee Jun uses her experience to help women achieve their greatest roles.
Premier leadership coach, Sohee Jun, Ph.D., has built an impressive career by letting her intuition and entrepreneurial spirit guide her decisions toward success. Her journey to owning her leadership coaching firm has taken many interesting turns in a variety of industries, giving her the diverse experience that helps other women become inspiring leaders.
When Sohee was six years old, her family immigrated to the United States from South Korea, and her parents worked many jobs to make ends meet. She credits them for teaching her that a strong education is the best foundation in life. “They wanted what most immigrant families want for their kids. It's why we came here. It's the dream.” Sohee believes that foundation coupled with her competitive drive has served her well throughout her life. “Whatever I decide to do, I'll go do all of it.”
Psychology was a natural fit for Sohee’s lifelong fascination and endless curiosity to learn about herself and other people and try to understand them. While pursuing her bachelor of science in psychology at the University of Arizona, she chose a minor in sciences to eventually go to medical school. Near the end of her undergraduate program, however, she felt that the sciences component was misaligned with her goals. When she took an industrial organizational psychology course in her senior year, everything clicked for her. “My jaw dropped when the teacher started talking about psychology in the workplace. The assessments, testing, surveys, and engagements sounded super fascinating. I was so in love with this field and its possibilities that I followed my professor after class asking him to tell me everything about organizational psychology and how I can make it my career.”
Between a consulting or teaching career, Sohee knew that she wanted to follow the practitioner route and asked her professor where she should earn her master’s degree. He recommended the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) at Alliant because of its curriculum model of scholarship paired with practice. The fact that she could attend the Los Angeles campus and be close to her family in San Diego was also a great benefit.
Sohee loved the flexibility of the CSPP programs which allowed her to keep working while she earned both her master’s and Ph.D. in organizational psychology. Another advantage to studying at Alliant was the opportunity to work in the Center for Innovation and Change (CIC) which provided the real-world experience she needed for her career. “The CIC was the springboard for me. I did a few really big projects for the CIC with nonprofits like the Goodwill Center.” Sohee was also matched with a mentor who played a critical role at the start of her career and remains a dear friend to this day. “I believe so deeply in mentoring people and lifting each other up. This is what I tell anybody in any program: you will only be as successful as the connections that you have, so it’s never a waste of time to authentically connect with someone. It’s your number one weapon.”
Sohee’s career path has taken her into many different industries and populations. Her first internship at Jet Propulsion Laboratory turned into a job that catapulted her career from books to working with leaders and gaining exposure in all the different areas of human resources. “I worked at NASA! Who gets to say that? This job allowed me to work on my dissertation while also gaining real-world experience literally working with rocket scientists to help develop their training modules. These people are geniuses and quirky and I’m so grateful for that experience.”
After NASA, she moved into the banking industry as an organizational development consultant at Washington Mutual followed by a role in the wholesale lending division at Countrywide Bank directing their culture management team. Countrywide propelled Sohee’s professional trajectory from an individual contributor to vice president before Sohee felt it was time for a change. “I always follow my intuition and take very intentional steps toward my unique path. After three years at Countrywide Bank leading their teams, I knew I was ready for something different. I said no to the senior vice president promotion and spent the next two years at Jacob’s Engineering working with the CEO and the CHRO of a 55,000-person company.”
In 2010, after taking some time to focus on her personal life and start her family, the drive to return to work brought her into the entertainment industry as the executive director of organizational development at Warner Brothers. But in 2017, she couldn’t deny that she was made for entrepreneurship and decided to start her own coaching firm. At first, she provided coaching and leadership development for women and emerging leaders at the mid-tier level based on her own experience of what that population needed and the challenges they were facing. “Mid-level is a really tough place to be. You have so much responsibility but not as much revenue or influence as the people above you. As my business has evolved, I now primarily focus on coaching high-achieving C-suite women as successful entrepreneurs, creatives, and founders. I think I'm of most value and in service when I use my superpowers of understanding the challenges that women face in the workplace.”
As a leader who loves sharing her knowledge, Sohee is also an accomplished author. In addition to her LinkedIn newsletter, Sohee is the author of Mommytracked: How to Take Authentic Risks and Find Success On Your Terms. Her latest book, debuting in March 2024, is titled The Inner Game: Secrets of High Achieving Women for Navigating Work, Life, and Mindset. This book is the culmination of a year-long study interviewing her coaching clients around things that other women needed to hear but were only being shared in their small circles. “I wanted to amplify the wisdom that we share with our closest friends. Things like: What keeps you up at night? What's the worst advice you've ever received? What's been the biggest challenge and how did you get over it? It’s about developing a successful work mindset whether you’re an employee or a leader. The biggest gift anybody can give for themselves is to manage their mindset because that frames how you show up in the world, and how you view the world. And isn't that powerful when we can tap into that and shape it for ourselves?”
Dr. Sohee Jun, Ph.D. is recognized as a top leadership coach by the Coach Foundation and an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council. She has worked with leaders at world-renowned Fortune 500 companies in entertainment, gaming, financial services, and engineering.