James Chung is an Executive Managing Director and Managing Principal, West Region Retail, located in San Jose, CA.
Q: What is a way you enjoy celebrating your culture at any time of the year?
A: My family is Korean American and the best way we celebrate is through food with family. Our families, both sides, live close by design, and we see each other and dine frequently. Two formal holidays we celebrate are Chuseok, the Korean version of Thanksgiving (harvest festival) and New Year’s Day. We eat special meals on both but on New Year’s, there is a formal bowing ceremony wearing traditional Korean hanboks.
Q: What are aspects of your background—whether family or culture—that have served as a unique asset to you in your professional success?
A: There is an awareness and respect of others that is at the forefront of my Korean American culture and family that permeates everything that we do, and this has served me well in my profession.
Q: Who is a notable Asian/Pacific American figure who has inspired you, and why?
A: My mother. Her dedication to her family, tireless work ethic, punctuality, loyalty and respect for others is something I can only hope to replicate.
Q: How have you seen diversity as a valuable asset in our business?
A: It’s a differentiator! I remember that when getting into the business, I was one of very few Asian American brokers in the retail real estate community and I loved it. If nothing else, people would remember me. All joking aside, it’s been humbling to hear from other Asian American brokers who were inspired by simply seeing another of a similar race and heritage paving a way in the industry.
Q: What are ways that all employees can be champions for diversity in the workplace?
A: Through actions and not words. Everyone can be a champion by treating all equally and with the respect they would like themselves.
Q: What are ways in which you give or pay it forward in the Asian/Pacific American community?
A: It’s important to take time to mentor and engage the younger generation regardless of whether or not they want to be in the real estate business. The fundamentals of what we do to be successful are equally transferrable to any profession.