Women Who Own It

Monica Kang of InnovatorsBox

Women Who Own It

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Monica Kang



Founder & CEO



InnovatorsBox

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What inspired you to start your business?

I started InnovatorsBox because I was tired of feeling stuck in a job I loved. Even though I was a manager and enjoyed my work in nuclear nonproliferation, it felt like something was missing from my life. I slowly realized what was missing was creativity. When I recognized how important creativity was to change the way I lived and worked, I looked for a company to teach me how to be more creative. I realized that most companies focused on ideation programs and not how to holistically integrate creativity into your personal and professional life. Knowing that 89% of today’s workforce struggle with feeling stuck, I knew a new approach was needed: building a creative mindset. When people build their own creative mindset, they can live up to their full potential and feel fulfilled at work. I started InnovatorsBox and never turned back since.

What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

Details and intention matter. Never forget why you wanted to start your company. Fill each day with curiosity and the hunger to learn more. Don’t ever plan on going on this journey alone, even if you are a sole founder. Bring a village of allies and mentors with you. Celebrate every milestone, but be humble. Continue to dream big, but also take action to achieve your dreams. Never forget that this is a marathon and while it may seem impossible, your determination and willingness to show up every day is what will help you succeed. Starting your own company is one of the most exciting, humbling, and difficult things you could ever do. You are going to learn a lot, struggle a lot, and grow a lot. Be ready to change, and yet never forget who you are. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy life.

What three traits define you?

I am humble, curious, and a bridge builder. I’m able to overcome challenges and celebrate milestones because of my faith, my friends and family who support me, and my diverse life experiences. I’m also deeply curious about everything, which makes me hungry to learn, solve problems, and build connections. There is so much I want to learn and so much I want to do. That’s why I decided to work in nuclear forensics, move thousands of miles away from my family, and start a company in creative education. And because I’m deeply curious, when I learn something new I like to share my knowledge and help others understand the complexity and nuances of the world around them. This helps build connections and relationships between people that didn’t exist before.

What women inspire you?

Women who are not afraid to speak their truth. Their courage and determination are inspiring and contagious. I’m grateful that they do not give up and that they share their challenges. Their vulnerable stories help me understand that it’s okay to feel hurt and defeated after a failure, but that it is important to remain resilient and find allies who support me. Our society needs more candid honesty when it comes to sharing the diversity of life experiences. I hope that I leave a legacy and inspire others to share their truth just as other women have inspired me to.

How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?

It has been a huge help! I have befriended many incredible mentors, allies, clients, and colleagues through this community. Being a part of this network also helped me learn how to build my business and my unique value proposition. At each event, I walk away with deepened friendships and new business knowledge that help me achieve my company’s mission of unlocking creativity worldwide.

What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?

The demand and solutions are aligning more and more when it comes to creativity! Companies have never been this educated and aware of why investing in people, being creative, and doing things differently is important. We’ve hit a point where many companies have tried different benefits and workplace perks in an attempt to embed creativity and innovation into their culture with little return. The need for holistic change is visible and InnovatorsBox and other companies are growing to meet this need. I’m excited to see what the future holds!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a diplomat. In fact, I still wanted to be a diplomat as recently as 2015. While I may not have become a government official, I am still able to build global relationships and connect cultures through my work at InnovatorsBox. You don’t need the job title diplomat to be a diplomat. I realized this when I was traveling Europe solo in 2012. Many strangers shared how they shifted their perceptions of America and Asia because of the conversations we had and the stories I shared. Today I help companies and teams rethink what collaboration, communication, and problem-solving means by helping them think differently and be more open-minded about each other’s differences. I am excited to continue to help people build bridges in unexpected ways.

What do you like about your workspace?

I love filling my space with my artwork and favorite books to keep me inspired, motivated, and playful. I painted colorful pieces during my darkest days so they remind me to keep going. They serve as powerful motivation to continue my work and help others bring out their innate creativity. My favorite books provide me with different perspectives and remind me that learning is a lifelong journey.

Fill in the blank:

When I face a challenge, I... pause to question and wonder why not before stopping myself.

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… to never underestimate how far you can go in the long run and never overestimate how fast you may get there.

The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my family and friends. People make a difference in our lives.

By this time next year, I will… have a solution to scale my services while maintaining high quality.

The best thing that happened to me last week was… publishing our 2018 impact report and launching our new website that we’ve been working on for months and months.

To get my creative juices flowing, I… block off time to do something new - whether that is reading, listening, or attending an event - to expose myself to something different!


Innovatorsbox

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InnovatorsBox® is a creative education firm that catalyzes sustainable change at the level where it matters the most: your mindset. We believe that everyone is innately creative and that creativity has the power to solve every organization’s challenges, no matter the industry. Whether you’re addressing company culture, professional development, or any other organizational challenge, our customizable approach targets your specific pain point through creativity. Our interactive and engaging workshops, card game products, speaking sessions, facilitation, and consulting help develop and grow professionals’ creative mindsets to catalyze long-lasting personal and organizational change.

Learn more.