ISITC Member Spotlight – Grace Kang

How long have you been involved with ISITC and what positions have you held/do you sit on any committees?
I have been an ISITC member now for about four years. I joined ISITC in early 2017 and began as one of the Investment Managers forum co-chairs in September 2017. Most recently, I was elected as a Board of Director in late 2020 for the beginning term in 2021 and have enjoyed my time serving with my fellow board members so far.

How did you hear about ISITC? What (or who) prompted you to get involved?
There are number of board/co-chairs and other participants I knew from my previous employment and they engaged me to get involved within ISITC. Among many, Charlie Mottinger (Board of Directors) and Gary Heald (Co-Chair) were most active to get me engaged within Forum and Working Groups. When Charlie suggested I get involved as a co-chair of the Investment Managers Forum where he was an executive sponsor, I was thrilled to join. It was great opportunity to reunite and work together for the industry initiatives and the common issues/concerns.

What excites you about working with ISITC?
My favorite part about joining the ISITC team is the collaboration with others in the industry. I believe ISITC plays a key role in our industry by assisting in standardization and education to bring awareness to our community. For the same reason, I am very excited that we have two new groups launching this year: Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) and Digital Assets. We are actively responding to the rapid growing interest and demand in these two areas with industry subject matter experts to join our leadership team.

I remember a couple years ago, I saw three of my prior bosses at the same conference. It was like a homecoming for me catching up and sharing the great memories working together. It’s those “small world!” moments I’ve come to really enjoy about being involved with ISITC. 

What can you tell us about the ESG Forum for those interested in getting involved?
The mission of the ESG Forum is to bring together practitioners in the asset management and asset service industries to discuss and exchange actionable insights about common approaches, best practices and operating models within the rapidly evolving ESG / sustainable investing realm. We are also looking at various opportunities to partner with other industry working groups specifically in ESG Integration effort. More information on the Forum and how to join will be publicly share in near future. Stay tuned!

What’s the most impactful lesson you've gained from ISITC that you were able to bring back to your firm?
The most impactful lesson I’ve gained from ISITC is the value of teamwork. We live and work in a competitive world, but reframing our mindset to share our concerns and find a solution as a group proves to be more effective. I’ve learned the importance of networking and how sharing creative ideas can help tremendously to overcome some difficult challenges we couldn’t resolve individually. We aren’t just advancing our own firms at ISITC, we are moving the industry forward as a whole.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in the industry?
Ask questions. I joined the financial industry soon after I got my first Master’s degree in music, which means I had no knowledge of finance. For me, the best way to learn was from people.

I asked a lot of questions, not only because it was interesting to learn a new topic beyond my music background, but also to do well in my job. Thankfully, the people I worked with were very willing to share their knowledge and give me guidance. When you begin a new position – or entirely new career – you need to learn. I would recommend finding a person or two you feel comfortable asking questions and sharing your thoughts candidly. You will expand your knowledge and also build strong relationships.

What would be your alternative dream job if you were not working in financial services?
Outside of financial services, I’ve always had a passion for music and have been serving as the music director at a local church for more than a decade now. If I wasn’t working in financial services, I would consider being a full-time musician. One of my favorite hobbies outside of work is to play the piano/keyboard and sing in my spare time. Now that I think about it, I don’t do anything other than work and music. I must set a goal to start a new hobby before year ends!