Introducing our 2022 Board Chair, Carol Kim

Introducing our 2022 Board Chair, Carol Kim

“Dreamer and doer. Working toward a kinder, healthier world.”

Those words guide Carol Kim’s approach to life and leadership. Known for her passion for community building and organizing, Carol recently became the Business Manager of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council. This year, she’ll also serve as the leader of our volunteer Board of Directors.

Reflecting on 16 years of life as a San Diegan and more than four years on our Board, Carol discussed her interests, experiences, and favorite places to enjoy our beautiful city.

What prompted your initial interest in serving on our Board?

Well, if I'm going to be strictly honest, it was Comic-Con! I love that event and have been attending since my family and I moved here in 2006. When I was approached about an appointment to the Board, I didn't hesitate.

Has anything surprised you during your time on the Convention Center Board?

I wouldn't say this surprised me exactly, but the level of talent in our staff and how consistently they perform for every client, no matter how big or small the event, is pretty great. Our event coordinators, culinary teams, hospitality, facilities and security teams, and more, are exceptional, and I think everyone who comes to the Center gets to experience that when they attend a meeting or event in the building. Our people are some of the best in class for the industry.

But probably the thing that surprised me most is how we lead in the convention and meeting industry not just in quality of event, but in revenue generation for our building and the region. Our Convention Center is a significant contributor to the city's general fund on an annual basis. As San Diegans, we should be extremely proud of it and continue reinvesting in this public asset.

“I'm hoping to ensure that our internal systems are as robust and resilient as possible, in anticipation of a full and safe return to large meetings, conferences and conventions.”

What excites you about your new role as Chair?

As we enter what looks to be shaping up as our third year of this pandemic, I'm hoping to ensure that our internal systems are as robust and resilient as possible, in anticipation of a full and safe return to large meetings, conferences and conventions. Also, we are looking forward to a potential building expansion, creating a significant increase in exhibit space that would likely move us into the top 15 convention centers in size. I want to make sure we're prepared to manage that expansion efficiently and well.

Is there any specific advice you would give to young women who are interested in leadership positions?

Girls and young women often feel a lot of pressure to be likable or well-liked. Pleasing others can be something we are conditioned to prioritize by societal norms. It's true that you should always seek to create win-win-win situations whenever possible. But leadership is not—cannot be—a comfortable space where everyone is happy with you all the time, and that can feel really uncomfortable. You need to be willing to be uncomfortable and willing to make those around you uncomfortable, when necessary, because that's what growth and improvement usually takes. But also, be good to people and work in a way that treats people with respect, care, and honesty. 

Where are your favorite places in San Diego to relax and recharge?

I like exploring hidden corners of Balboa Park, hiking Rose Canyon, and seeking out the best sunset spots in the county. Gazing at the ocean isn't so bad either.

Authored by Maren Dougherty

Maren Dougherty is the San Diego Convention Center's Executive Director of Marketing & Communications. When she isn't writing articles or talking to media, you can find her enjoying San Diego's climate. She loves running through neighborhoods, visiting Balboa Park, and relaxing at San Diego's beautiful beaches.

San Diego Convention Center Logo Sails Elements Without Text

  • San Diego Convention Center
    111 W Harbor Drive
    San Diego, CA 92101
  • 619.525.5000