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Conversations with the Inspiring Joanna Geummy Lee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joanna Geummy Lee.

Born in South Carolina with a full set of jet black hair and piercing brown eyes, Joanna was the first Asian baby born in the neighborhood. Up until the age of 6, she grew up in a segregated community where she was bullied for looking different.

To make matters more interesting, Joanna ended up spending her elementary school days in the Middle East and faced discrimination for her Asian looks. According to 23andme, she is mostly Korean and a mysteriously small percentage of Dutch and Jewish. Both her parents were involved in philanthropic work around the world, which is where Joanna’s altruistic nature developed.

When her family moved back to the states and decided to “settle” in the OC, her father planted a church, according to their grandfather’s wishes. As if adjusting to constant moving and assimilating to different cultures wasn’t hard enough, Joanna was now labeled a minister’s daughter.

She unexpectedly found her interest in healthcare when she became ill at the age of 13 and was fighting for her life. Her journey to save her health lead her to study global health at Keck School of Medicine in the states. Her passion to serve and empower her community carried over and was recognized and awarded by the Los Angeles California State Senate as well as the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Joanna broke out of the one-dimensional, “perfect minister’s daughter” role by leaving an esteemed medical program at USC to discover her own creative voice. While working at a celebrity hospital in Pangyo, Korea, she fell in love with marketing and the power of storytelling. Geummy’s passion for story building carries over in her work in marketing, branding, and content creating. She wants to find your brand’s own unique voice and make it memorable.

Joanna has professionally worked in cancer specializing hospital, as the Chief Marketing Officer, and implemented innovative healthcare solutions. Even though she just moved to a new country, she continued to give back. She was the first Seoul Rotary Club’s Young Leaders female President and founded the first Annual Seoul Rotary Art Fair. She believes that art is a medium that brings people together from all backgrounds to create multidisciplinary dialogue to address community issues and raise awareness for social causes.

While living in Korea for the first time, Joanna experienced a surprising amount of discrimination; for her age, gender, body type, education level, hair color, skin tone, confidence, independence, and her status of being single and unmarried.

While visiting Los Angeles, she heard from an Asian American actor how she felt stuck casting for stereotyped roles. Joanna took it upon herself to stir change and founded WeGolden Productions, the first all-women Asian American production company. She has created a platform to support women creatives and help change the portrayal of women in media through multidimensional roles as well as through funding and supporting female creators. She wanted to see media that was a breath of fresh air and that wasn’t all about being swept away by a rich man or about a hyper-sexualized nerdy Asian girl.

Her Kickstarter was a success and their short film that Joanna wrote and directed was selected at the Asians on Film Festival in 2017. Its premiere was hosted by YouTube Space and Google.

Her mission is to affect change by enabling others to find their inner voice, discover their true self and feel liberated and beautiful.

Geummy directs film, creatively directs editorial shoots, and travels the world helping brands tell their story. She has been selected as one of the #50womencan change the world in media and entertainment. She avidly supports Asian American creatives in the arts and entertainment around the world. In 2013, Turkey implemented an art therapy and health program for Asian American immigrant children

Today, Joanna’s love for storytelling has led her to become a W.E.O. (Woman Executive Officer) and founder of Weosh, pronounced “WEE-osh. Joanna helps empower entrepreneurs, small businesses and social impact organizations to find their voice through marketing, content creation, and social media.

Weosh is not just an agency, but a platform where they inspire other women entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs to develop and learn through our events and workshops.

It is also an online store that is curated by products made by women-led companies. Over 85% of the buying power is in the hands of women, why not provide consumers the opportunity to use their power to give back to women-led companies?

About Weosh:
At Weosh, we are pioneers and trailblazers in developing Woman C.E.O.’s, whom we call W.E.O.’s (Women Executive Officers). Our platform is a full-service agency serving clients nationwide through marketing strategy, branding, product development, and content creation.

On the ground, we create events and workshops to empower women and allies both personally and professionally. We believe it takes a grassroots approach as well as a top-down approach.

To take it one step further, Weosh is creating the ultimate shopping destination for curated and socially-conscious lifestyle products made by women, for women. It’s like Etsy meets Amazon, but with a feminine touch. Its goal is to promote W.E.O.’s by providing a platform for their products to other women, creating a dual-empowerment effect: W.E.O.’s grow their companies and markets, and the customers are inspired by their role in making the future female by shopping and attending workshops via Weosh. Go #weos and #weoshers!

Company Website: www.weosh.com, www.weoshofficial.com

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Women go through internal obstacles. Let’s take the workplace as an example, we often feel our opinions are not regarded in the same way as if a male counterpart said the same thing, or the inner doubt when asking for a promotion. Looking at the statistics, there is a gap and besides the institutional barriers, and solely blaming society isn’t going to change the system. Women, collectively need to take it upon ourselves and break out of our own limiting thoughts that we adopted from birth.

I went through some tough times growing up and in building a business from the ground up, and every day, I fight to rise from within as well. Life is full of ups and downs, but also is our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual state. I remind myself to exercise all areas of what makes us whole: challenging my mind to think outside my comfort, filling up my emotional love tank, exercising or practicing meditation, and surrounding myself with positive energy or praying. When our core is being fulfilled, we are stronger. Entrepreneurs are already gladiators, but imagine if they were functioning at their potential. I firmly believe in empowering yourself in order to empower others.

Whether it is society echoing that disempowering inner dialogue, or social media perpetuating unrealistic picture-perfect lifestyle can sometimes feel like I’m not doing enough, remind yourself that you are strong and your purpose is greater than your own understanding at that current moment.

Health, wealth and happiness are the targets of success in most people’s lives however the only thing we have sole control over is our happiness; despite our hopes and hard work, ‘health & wealth’ might not always be in alignment. As a woman, I wanted to foster an idea that you can overcome any obstacle through positivity, and embrace the challenges we face in our personal and professional lives. When we lead with positivity toward happiness, I believe the rest will follow.

What should we know about Weosh? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Weosh (“WEE-osh”) Agency is a boutique marketing agency specializing in branding and digital advertising. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, we are strategists, designers, and content creators ready to tell and share your brand story. We specialize in helping influencers, small business owners, and startups with branding, marketing, scaling, and content creation.

We are pioneers and trailblazers in developing, Woman C.E.Os, whom we call W.E.Os (Woman Executive Officer). We create events and workshops to empower women and allies both personally and professionally. We believe it takes a grassroots approach as well as a top-down approach.

Therefore, Weosh is creating the ultimate shopping destination for curated and socially-conscious lifestyle products made by women, for women. Its goal is to promote WEOs by providing a platform for their products to other women, creating a dual-empowerment effect: WEOs grow their companies and markets, and the customers are inspired by their role in making the future female by shopping and attending workshops via Weosh.

Why Women Empowerment?

“Language is a vehicle that transport thought and culture. When one aspires to be a CEO of a company, there is an underlying masculine tone because it stands of Chief Executive Officer. I coined the term W.E.O. to challenge the way we perceive, associate, and speak of women leadership and to inspire a future where we redefine what it means to be a female leader by adopting the word WEO. I want our future girls to aspire to be a WEO instead of trying to achieve the skeleton of a CEO. #WEO is our future.”

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
The women in my family inspire me. They survived war, economic hurdles, heartbreak, loss, and other life’s lemons, yet have raised families, stand on their own grounds, financially independent, and continue to empower others. They taught me what female power and leadership looks like and strive to be like them.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Weosh Agency

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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