Founder & CEO
International development is a key theme in today’s world; interactions between societies, nations, and communities whether economic, social, or political, shape the everyday lives of people on a global level. Jihyeon Park, the Founder & CEO of JHSUSTAIN is leading an ambitious drive to draw together political support, interdisciplinary research, and financial support to implement International Development Cooperation Program, activate climate change adaptation efforts, and build a knowledge system for sustainable future.
Jihyeon began her career as a researcher in the Water Resource Research Division at the Korean Institute of Civil Engineering & Building Technology. After which she has been associated with the Korea Water Forum, the National Disaster Management Institute in Korea, the Korean Society of Hazard Mitigation, and a private company in a relevant field. Accumulating significant experiences from such reputed public institutions, Jihyeon decided to establish a stronger presence in providing services to support policy and practice in the environmentally focused development sectors and hence established JHSUSTAIN. For the last five years, she has been working for a whole project cycle with planning, doing a feasibility study and relevant research, implementing, consulting, and monitoring & evaluating development cooperation programs as a development partner. She is adeptly conceptualizing projects, proposal preparation, project implementation and development, advocacy and policy development for government relations, and development of inter-state policy dialogues and cooperation activities.
As an International Development Cooperation specialist, Jihyeon is passionate about her role in supporting communities to reach their climate action targets and move forward to a more sustainable world.
Let’s hear it from her. We are going together towards sustainable world by contributing to transformation based on building partnerships and cooperation to strengthen the capacity of international community to adapt to climate change
What inspired you to establish JHSUSTAIN? Tell us about its primary vision.
During the initial phase of my professional journey, I have been associated with a government sponsored research institute, the Korean Institute of Civil Engineering & Building Technology. There, I was in charge of external affairs and international cooperation and facilitation & advocacy. Since then, I have been more focused on the subjects like climate change, disaster management, and water management and conducted multiple research activities and policy works for international autocracy to outreach highlevel decision-makers across international forums. I have also worked with various founding members of non-profit organizations, leading initiatives for a unified communication channel between Korea and other countries to expand Korea in the water and development sector and also link it with the Sustainable Development Goals for human settlements. I even had a specialized experience in climate change and various other environmental activities for relevant agencies.
During these experiences, I realized that there are a lot of constraints of working at a public institution because of its slow process of decision-making and the long hierarchical structure. Hence, JHSUSTAIN has been an initiative to transform my activities into more concrete projects to contribute to the policy development or improvement of low and middle-income ASEAN countries. We want to positively impact the international community by strengthening its capacity to adapt to climate change by sharing its understanding of sustainable development. To achieve this, we are actively participating in advocacy with partner countries, planning and implementing international development cooperation programs, and building partnerships with stakeholders in the fields of climate change, water, and the environment.
What is unique about your organization’s offerings?
Our uniqueness lies in the specific context of climate change and the environment where we provide research trilogy monitoring and evaluation services. We work around the policy cycle identifying problems and providing impact assessments of our proposed projects. We offer four cycles of development projects and programs, composition, implementation, and evaluation for our partner countries. At present, our main funding source is institutions in Korea but we are looking forward to expanding our reach to international organizations and global-scale institutions.
Tell us about your leadership approach. What are the guidelines or methodologies you follow as a leader?
I believe my vision statement should offer a clear idea of my company’s path forward. Therefore, I map out our organization’s biggest business goals, consider its potential global impact and take necessary other initiatives to move the company closer to its vision. I also consult my mentors from my previous organizations and share with them our vision & mission statement, services, and business needs. They help me to find ways to overcome obstacles related to fundraising and to position JHSUSTAIN at a higher level.
Along the way I also coordinate with my team members who mostly belong to Gen Z. I involve with them to get to know about their interests, ideas, and directions and learn new business prospects from them. I believe it is extremely important to redesign our mind maps to build generational balance within the organization.
We are going together towards sustainable world by contributing to transformation based on building partnerships and cooperation to strengthen the capacity of international community to adapt to climate change
Going forward, what are the changes in market behaviour that you anticipate and what are the opportunities that you foresee?
As Korean companies rapidly embrace ESG in management standards, there will be a lot of scope for sustainable research and development projects in the country. These changes will bring a lot more opportunities for Korean business leaders to grasp global trends and involve in international business affairs. They need to prepare themselves to expand their relationship and partnership with foreign countries and seek/embrace opportunities to get associated with them.
Jihyeon Park, Founder & CEO, JHSUSTAIN
Having a Master’s degree in Arts from Sogang University, and a Ph.D. in International Studies from Korea University, Jihyeon is leading international development initiatives for a sustainable and global impact.
• Hobbies: Reading
• Favorite Cuisine: Korean
• Favorite Book: Becoming by Michelle Obama
• Favorite Travel Destination: Northern Europe
• Awards & Recognition: Awarded by the Minister of Public Safety and the Administration of Korea