Women's Journal

Voices of Change: The Journey from the Streets to Corporate Suites

Voices of Change: The Journey from the Streets to Corporate Suites
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Some sit back and talk about the changes they want to see in the world, and then some people are the change. Mihae Ahn, author and VP of Marketing at ProServeIT, is focused on being the change she would like to see in the world. Whether she is marching in the streets for a cause close to her heart or commanding the C-Suite, she is a harbinger of positive change that is to come. 

The bridge between activism and corporate success

The connection between social responsibility and corporate success has become more evident in recent years. Increased advocacy of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) has allowed companies to reap the benefits of thoughtful measures on fostering inclusive and equitable spaces for marginalized groups. 

Ahn will be the first to admit that she grappled with a hefty dose of imposter syndrome throughout her rise through the ranks of corporate America, first as a Marketing Manager, then as a Director of Marketing, and finally as a VP. “I was trapped in these self-sabotaging thoughts for years,” she shared on her website. “I was sick and tired of the trap I had created for myself. So I broke it and released myself.”

Release herself she did, embracing advocacy for EDIB, Ahn has found overwhelming success within her industry — and with passion projects such as her recent book, “Perfectly Incomplete.”

From fashion to activism to the C-Suite 

Ahn’s journey is a fascinating study of following one’s dreams, even if that journey takes you around the world. At 19, Ahn moved from Korea to study fashion at the storied Parsons School of Design. 

“I wanted to be a CEO, even when I was a young girl,” Ahn shared with the Re:Set Podcast. At the time, Ahn was a teenager who believed fashion would be her best option to fulfill her CEO dreams, but she found herself floundering in her twenties, set adrift by crippling imposter syndrome and self-doubt. 

Ahn felt inspired to make a difference. “Lack of belonging and gender norms, stereotypes, or biases are some of the many causes of imposter syndrome,” she shares. She was driven to advocate for EDIB causes, both inside and outside of the corporate world. So, she became a voracious reader of non-fiction and began applying what she deems “little acts of courage” within herself to her advocacy work, hoping other people would feel compelled to do the same. 

Ahn never did become the next Coco Chanel, but she did grow her influence in the corporate world through roles in marketing. Now the VP of Marketing at ProServeIT, she continues her life of advocacy and support from the C-Suite.

Empowering others 

Ahn’s interest in empowering marginalized communities has become woven into her leadership. At ProServeIT, she has formed the EmpowerWomen group that seeks to not only empower, as the name suggests, but also to educate, advocate for women, and foster parity and equity within the corporate space. She has hosted clothing drives for Women’s History Month and has been a vocal supporter of the National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism. 

Throughout her climb to the top ranks of her company, Ahn has kept her EDIB ideals close to heart. “Women should have a seat at the table, and when we are at the table, we should care enough to do something about gender inequality and misrepresentation,” she shares. Not only has she gone all-in on gender equality matters, but racial and sexual orientation inclusion as well. 

Recently, Ahn was named a finalist in the 2023 Women of Inspiration™ Award, presented by the Universal Women’s Network™. The award recognizes the achievements of women who “lead, inspire, and motivate,” all attributes that describe Ahn to a tee. 

“Her dedication, passion, and leadership serve as a beacon of inspiration for all of us. We are incredibly proud to have Mihae represent ProserveIT as a finalist for this prestigious award,” says Eric Sugar, President of ProServeIT. 

Whether through her various EDIB initiatives, her leadership in the C-Suite, or her recently released book, Ahn is all about dreaming big, unleashing passion, and translating that passion into action on the corporate stage. She proves that one can fight through self-doubt and come out on the other side victorious. It is a message that she hopes will resonate through her actions, her initiatives, and now through her new book. 

Ahn knows that her journey is a marathon, not a sprint, and hopes that her story will help others find their passion to be the change they wish to see in the world. In the meantime, she is content with still working through her purpose. 

“There are many things I’m still trying to figure out,” she says. “I am very much a work in progress in every way. I believe I will continue to be, and that’s okay.”

Published by: Aly Cinco

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