Submitted by Bloomberg
Growing up, Soojin Lee lived in four different countries and has always been drawn to diversity, trying new things, and connecting dots. She was attracted to Bloomberg for those very reasons and has made a career out of connecting people to solve complex problems.
From Sales to Financial Solutions to her latest chapter in Core Product, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), Soojin dedicates her time trying to “democratize ESG,” making it transparent and easily accessible for our customers. Read more to find out about Soojin’s 17-year career journey, the top priorities of the Sustainable Finance Solutions group, and what she wishes everyone knew about ESG.
Q: Can you tell us about your background and your career journey?
A: I am from South Korea, but I grew up in Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and the US. I moved around frequently when I was younger, so I’ve been drawn and exposed to change, diversity, and trying new things. I believe that was one of the things that attracted me to Bloomberg.
I joined Bloomberg in Hong Kong in 2006 after I graduated from university in Korea. I was wowed by the view from the Hong Kong office, but more impressed by the intelligence, motivation and collegiality demonstrated by everyone I met regardless of rank or role within the firm. The culture also stood out to me. I immediately knew I wanted to work for the company, and now it’s been 17 years!
I spent the first nine years of my career in Sales and Specialist roles in Hong Kong. I was passionate about emerging markets as well as managing APAC-wide accounts and influencing product development for the region. Then in 2016, I moved to London for three years and had an amazing role in the Financial Products Knowledge Group (now known as Financial Solutions Knowledge Group).
After three years in that group I moved to New York in 2018 and after spending time back in Sales with a broader remit as Sales Manager and COO, I joined the newly formed ESG Product team (the Sustainable Finance Solutions group) when Bloomberg was beginning to make big investments in this area. I still work on this growing team, but have since moved back to London. I feel very fortunate because the role requires me to collaborate with so many groups across Engineering, Data, UX, News & Research, Sales, Analytics, Marketing, Communications and also with many other Product teams.
Q: What are some of your top priorities?
A: In recent years, we’ve invested significantly in our Sustainable Finance Solutions, notably to expand the ESG content we provide to our customers, and lay the foundational infrastructure for ESG solutions.
This year, we will expand on our differentiated content and focus on delivering seamless workflows that empower customers to make thoughtful investment decisions with ease, through quality analytics and integration.
Q: Can you speak to some of the trends that are shaping the momentum around sustainable finance and ESG?
A: In the past, ESG was seen as something niche. What’s changed is that the majority of our customers now integrate ESG factors into their investment process. That’s been the biggest shift from five years ago. We’ve also recently seen an increasing demand for thematic and impact investing, from concerns for climate change and biodiversity loss among others.
Q: How is ESG data beneficial for our clients?
A: The struggle our customers have with data is lack of disclosure and lack of standardization. There is also the fact that there isn’t one data provider that meets all the needs of our customers for ESG assessment. On average, customers take in data from more than six providers, so managing all of that data is another struggle.
How do we help solve that? Bloomberg is the best in the industry for transparency and robustness, and has a seamless ability to integrate. The investments that we’re making in our infrastructure are to guarantee quality and provide transparency. We are continuing to expand our content offering every year, and when it comes to problems like lack of disclosure, we have models to help fill in the gaps, where we can estimate on a very large scale.
There are many reports that show ESG will only increase in significance. We’re not the first and only in the industry, but Bloomberg has the ability to integrate ESG content into existing workflows in a seamless manner on the Terminal so that customers don’t have to work with fragmented tools.
Q: What do you wish more people knew about the work you do?
A: Our customers are struggling and looking for simplicity and clear answers. ESG is not standardized, it’s highly scrutinized, it is also constantly changing and has fragmented regulatory requirements. In that kind of dynamic environment, whether you’re a new player just starting to look at ESG or you’re more advanced, Bloomberg can help!
Q: What inspires you about the work that you do?
A: I like to connect people to solve customer problems, build consensus and reach a common goal. I’m in this role because I love bringing different stakeholders together and tackling issues for our customers. Each person in our group brings unique skill sets and when there’s a problem, we rely on one another and work together to find solutions. I also love it when a large group of people all agree that there is a pressing customer need or opportunity, and we align on a plan – refine, work out the dependencies to deliver and accomplish a goal, and our customers validate our work with adoption and feedback.
Q: What’s some of the best career advice you received? And some that you would pass on to someone entering the firm?
A: The impact you leave on others is important. When people think about working with you, they will remember how you made them feel — how you appreciated their work and invested time for them to succeed. People at Bloomberg have been my greatest assets.
The other piece of great career advice I received is to never stop learning in every role. There is always an opportunity to make connections and take the things that you learn from each role to help you grow into the next, potentially bigger role.
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