Meet Nina — Head of Coupang Legal IP team
A leader at Coupang, Nina heads up one of our Legal IP teams. Here she discusses how Coupang is a great place to work lets her bring her own self to freely leverage her unique experiences and background.
Hi, Nina. Please introduce yourself.
Hello, I’m Nina and I’m from the US. I joined Coupang in December 2021. Before joining Coupang, I was at one of largest global consumer goods company — working out of the headquarters in Cincinnati. I’m an attorney by training and have been practicing law for approximately 13 years now.
Currently, I’m heading up one of the Legal IP teams here at Coupang. Our team is in charge of trademark, copyright and, brand protection. My team’s mission is to help protect our IP assets (trademarks and copyright) here at Coupang. We also prevent others outside Coupang from using them without authorization. We also ensure that we keep counterfeits off the platform. This includes working together with government stakeholders as well as brand owners.
Your work sounds interesting. Could you tell us some of your inherent skills and how you add value to Coupang?
I’m a natural problem-solver. I thrive on finding creative solutions to problems. I believe that no two decisions are static. We should always be able to prioritize and evolve with each decision we make. I also believe that if we always keep to goal to “wow the customer” at the forefront of everything we do, all decisions we make, even in Legal, will reflect that consumer-centric goal. Finally, as a leader, we should always be reminded of the value our people bring. For me, watching my team grow and develop gives me a lot of personal satisfaction as I know that my success is really dependent on my team members’ success.
In your career journey, what’s the greatest risk you’ve taken?
Can I say moving to Korea? (laugh) Jokes aside, I think taking the role at Coupang has been the most rewarding risk. It is definitely a growth opportunity — both professionally and personally. I knew I was stepping into a role as a leader who would have to make decisions that impact both the company and my team members. Having that accountability and responsibility did seem daunting at first. But with a great boss guiding me through all the difficult decisions, I am thankful for the ability to hone my skills as a leader.
When I left my previous company, I was worried that I would not acclimatize to the environment here, a new country and company. I am grateful that I took that bold step to challenge myself in what I deemed to be an “uncomfortable situation.” The best amount of growth happens when you stretch yourself and I am grateful for this opportunity to see this personal growth in my life.
It certainly sounds like joining Coupang was a bold decision for you.
Joining Coupang felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be on the cusp of something much bigger. I knew I wanted to be part of it. I typically have chosen to work at safe and established companies which were also great opportunities. But I also wanted to challenge myself. As mentioned earlier, I personally believe one of the greatest growths comes from being “uncomfortable.” I also knew it was the right role for my career growth and development.
My family was initially a little apprehensive about the move as they weren’t sure about life in Korea and whether I would be able to adapt to both life in Korea and a new working environment. But in the end, they saw a great career opportunity ahead of me and were very supportive of my move.
Let's talk about leadership now. Any leadership lessons you’d like to share?
Sometimes, as a female leader, there’s a belief that consensus decision-making is the best way forward. Generally, female leaders are conditioned to believe that you shouldn’t be “too strong” in your decision-making as you may be judged adversely.
I’ve learned over the years that you shouldn’t be held back by labels as long as you are confident and know that you are making the best and most appropriate decision backed by a clear thought process, strategy, and relevant data. I know not every situation is the same. And sometimes we feel held back because of our gender stereotypes. But I truly believe we should step up to the challenge and prove that we are equals to anyone else in the room. Don't be afraid because your voice will be heard and your point of view will be
Any advice to the next generation of female leaders?
I’d like to say to aspiring female leaders that “You are powerful and amazing, even if you don’t always feel that is the case. Be the best version of yourself. Keep growing and developing as both a professional and a person.”
Some people may say that having empathy at the workplace can make you weak. But I believe that is what makes true leadership. I received messages from my team members who thanked me because they could be open and honest with me. That was so rewarding for me. Use your unique talents and strengths to your advantage while remaining humble and learning from the best around you. Find good mentors who will encourage, teach, and lift you up. Women have a huge opportunity to lead in this and the next generation. I am honored to be able to take part of this generation shift.
How about a challenge you had to overcome?
Some people will make assumptions based on your gender, culture, ethnicity, etc. That’s inevitable. People have preconceived notions from limited data points. But just stay true to yourself — be fair, honest, and authentic. I celebrate the fact that I embody diversity. I try to share my experiences with others so that they can benefit from them too. With more knowledge and education, I hope more diversity will be embraced and our lives will be richer.
Do you find Coupang to be an organization that values diversity?
Absolutely. I believe Coupang is making huge strides towards gender equality. And with hiring talents from all over the world, the emphasis is on the diversity of experiences and ideas. The acknowledgment of diversity is the first step and with a good proportion of women in leadership positions, we’ve done well as a company. But of course, there is always room for further improvement and I look forward to D&I being embedded in each and every of our decision-making processes.
Thank you Nina for sharing your stories. Explore more on our site and discover career growth opportunities for you. To explore job opportunities at Coupang, visit our "Teams" page.