Mike Kim

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For other people of the same name, see Michael Kim (disambiguation).
Mike Kim
Born (1976-12-11) December 11, 1976 (age 39)
Nationality Korean-American
Occupation Consultant, Author, Public Speaker

Mike Kim (born December 11, 1976) is a consultant, author, inspirational speaker, NGO founder, and North Korea specialist. He is a Korean-American who, in 2003, moved to the China-North Korea border and founded Crossing Borders, a nonprofit dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees. He is the author of the Wall Street Journal featured book Escaping North Korea: Defiance and Hope in the World’s Most Repressive Country, a current events memoir published in 2008 by Rowman & Littlefield, about his experiences at the China-North Korea border when taking time off from business to help North Korean refugees and human trafficking victims through the modern-day 6,000 mile underground railroad in Asia. Escaping North Korea has been translated into Turkish and Polish. The book is being developed into a feature film with actor/producer Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, Hawaii Five-O).

Crossing Borders[edit]

On New Year's Day 2003, Kim decided to take some time off of business and gave up his financial planning business in Chicago, Illinois and left for China on a one-way ticket carrying little more than two duffle bags. While living near the North Korean border, he operated undercover as a student of North Korean taekwondo, training under two North Korean masters —eventually receiving a second-degree blackbelt.[1] He founded Crossing Borders, a nonprofit dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees. In his book, he estimated that during his time on the field over 60% of female defectors were victims of sex trafficking. The organization has been a regular contributor to the State Department's Annual Trafficking in Persons Report and has testified at a congressional hearing on the topic of combating human trafficking in China.[2]

Media and Events[edit]

Kim frequently appears in the media: He was a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and on CNN Anderson Cooper 360. He has been interviewed by major international media groups such as Fox News, CNN, BBC, Reuters, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Yonhap News Agency, The Korea Times, The Korea Daily, and Korean Broadcasting System.

Escaping North Korea: The Movie[edit]

The interview with Jon Stewart resulted in interest from Hollywood in turning Escaping North Korea into a motion picture. The book-to-film project is in development with actor/producer Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, Hawaii Five-O).[3][4]

Career After China-North Korea[edit]

Kim received his MBA from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.[5] He is also a 1999 graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In interviews, Kim has referred to the late Ambassador Mark Palmer as a mentor and a person who has deeply influenced him by his example of working effectively in the business, nonprofit, and government sectors. Palmer wrote the foreword to Escaping North Korea and commented, “This is a story of heroes. Of North Koreans increasingly and courageously evading the dictates of the system at home to survive and risking their lives to flee the world's most repressive dictatorship. And of a heroic young Korean American, the author, Mike Kim, who risked his own life for four years on the China-North Korea border to help them."

In June 2010, Kim was voted in as a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Kim is a management consultant and continues his book and public speaking tour, while working on the book-to-movie project. He is represented by The Guild Agency Speakers Bureau & Intellectual Talent Management founded by James Marshall Reilly for all public speaking.

At Deloitte Consulting, he was a Specialist leading initiatives applying business solutions and technology to social issues such as human rights and anti-human trafficking.[6] He was one of the Deloitte leads for the Palantir relationship and spearheaded a multi-year Palantir data analytics project for multiple U.S. government agencies, which helped identify victims and traffickers in the U.S. along with human trafficking patterns and trends. He led the effort in January 2013 for the Deloitte and Georgetown Anti-Human Trafficking Symposium with special guest and keynote speaker Mira Sorvino.[7] [8]

From Deloitte, he joined former Deloitte CMO Keith Ferrazzi as an executive and Managing Director at Ferrazzi Greenlight, a change management management consulting firm. He helped run the firm and engagements with Fortune 500 clients and also contributed with public speaking and writing.[9][10] Part of his role at the firm included assisting founder Keith Ferrazzi with Greenlight Giving Foundation initiatives to serve at-risk and underprivileged youth.

Kim joined Switch Communications, Inc., a Google and Andreessen Horowitz company, as part of the enterprise team to work with Fortune 500, Global 1000, and other large customers.

Kim writes for The Huffington Post Blog[11] and CNN Opinion.[12]


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