Making the Most of Multiple Opportunities
May 28, 2019
In our employee profile series, we highlight Astellas’ commitment to Diversity & Inclusion through exploring the personal stories of employees. In this edition, we speak with Executive Director of Insights & Analytics, Paul Kang.
You manage the Insights & Analytics department—what does your team do?
We develop data and research driven insights about our products, customers and markets to help brand teams make decisions. A major component of this is understanding the patient and physician journey—what decisions are critical along the way and how we best inform and engage with our customers throughout.
This month we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month. Tell us about your participation in the Astellas Asian Employee Resource Group (AERG).
I’ve often worked with the AERG in a mentoring capacity—helping junior colleagues understand what influenced my trajectory and my career path—and have presented about challenges and opportunities in our industry for Asian-Americans. I remember last year I shared some of my own experiences about emigrating from Korea to the U.S. Hopefully, my story resonated with my AERG colleagues, some of whom had similar experiences.
Can you share more about your history and heritage, specifically your experience relocating to the U.S. from South Korea?
I came over to the States when I was four. None of us spoke English. We had some family here but it was a completely new culture and new experience. When I started Kindergarten, I started picking up English pretty quickly, so I don’t remember that being a big problem, but I do remember not knowing how to tie my shoes and having to ask a teacher for help. So it was the little things that sometimes presented the biggest challenges.
But it was much more challenging for my parents. Growing up and witnessing the sacrifices they made by moving here—working to assimilate and find good jobs to provide a better life for my siblings and I—has always been a big motivator for me. I felt like it was my responsibility to do everything I could to succeed and make a positive return on their investment.
Which I feel that I did, but I remember my parents always asking me, “what do you do?”. It was kind of hard to explain my job to them. If I had said, “I’m a doctor” or “I’m a lawyer,” then they would have understood that. But “strategic planning” or “marketing analytics,” they didn’t get. There’s no exact Korean translation for the role, at least with my limited Korean vocabulary. But I know they would be proud of what I am doing just as I am proud of them and the sacrifices they made.
What makes Astellas a unique place to work?
After five years with the company, I am convinced, now more than ever, that Astellas is a great company to work for. The culture, our focus on the patient and our investment in our people are three of the fundamental reasons I love working here.
Coming from an immigrant family, we really cherished the whole idea of the American Dream—of achieving success by working hard and pursuing your passions. I think Astellas offers these opportunities. We’re all very fortunate to be at a company that allows us to pursue our dreams and provides many ways to develop ourselves and our careers.