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Special Lecture by Kay Song - Chairwoman of BT& I & BeMyConcierge

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

On Friday, November 1, our team had the valuable chance to receive a special lecture by Chairwoman Kay Song, which covered not only her expertise on the business world, but also important parts of her life experience.

While studying at Ehwa University, Chairwoman Song had to work part-time to support herself financially as her family was in the USA. Soon after she graduated, she established BT&I (currently SM C&C) at the age of 25 with a starting capital of $2000. She turned the company into Korea’s leading corporate travel group with $350M in revenue generated from air ticket sales. In 1996, she became the first official partner of HRG (Hogg Robinson Group) in Korea, introducing a global travel network which operated in more than 100 countries worldwide.

BT&I continued to expand. In 2006, it was publicly listed in KOSDAQ as the first company in the corporate travel sector and fourth in the industry. Then, in 2009, BT&I merged with Tour Express, an online travel agency run by DAUM, and acquired one of the then leading online hotel reservation websites, "". In 2012, BT&I merged with SM Entertainment (Korea’s largest entertainment group) to expand their business in the entertainment industry, as well, offering special travel-packages for overseas fans of Korean pop music (K-pop), and changed its name to SM C&C. Later in 2016, a separate MICE (MICE - Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing & Exhibitions) company emerged from SM C&C and was named after the original enterprise, BT&I. Next, Chairwoman Song established the BeMyConcierge, which specializes in VIP travel services. She decided to reward those sincere employees who have been working for her for around 20 years, by giving them shares in the company, so that they can become a vital part in its management and decision-making.

Chairwoman Song is considered the first to have professionalized MICE as a service in the Korean travel market, developed the first entertainment-oriented "K-pop travel" business model, and started the first 100% service fee return system for clients to maximize customer satisfaction.

For Chairwoman Song, happiness is sharing. She is actively organizing charity activities and was listed as the first female CEO for Honors Society, which recognizes donors with contributions over $100K. She was spotlighted in Asia’s Top 40 Donation Heroes by Forbes Asia in 2011. Moreover, she has been actively involved in volunteering, local and international donations, and mentoring university students by sharing her insights and spreading messages about positivity and happiness. Besides having received a number of awards and recognitions, recently she wrote a book entitled “나는 99번 긍정한다”, which can be translated to “I am Endlessly Positive.”

One of the things we learned during her lecture is that to be happy you need to be positive, passionate, proud, patient and willing to share. Happiness cannot be bought with money, it needs to come from within. Financial greed has no end, eventually making people only think of achieving more and more, without being able to achieve satisfaction.

Also, Chairwoman Song mentioned that we need to keep ourselves busy and learn as much as we can. Early adulthood is the time to gain various experiences and remember: no pain, no gain. She stressed the importance of stepping out of one's comfort zone. An egg can break its shell to become a chick, or it can stay in the same place until it eventually becomes a fried egg!

Despite her busy schedule, Chairwoman Song answered our questions patiently. One of her advices regarding what kind of work we should be aiming at in the future, was that we need to work with what we can do well as a starter, so that we can achieve a certain level of success that will later allow us to switch to doing what we love.

Our members asked her about whether we can achieve immediate results from our work. She advised us to be more patient. We need to do our best and have faith that the results will be good. If they are not, it can mean that that was not the right path to follow, that we need to improve our way, try a new way, or start over. We need to believe in ourselves and the fact that everyone is unique in their own ways. We need to stay confident and proud of who we are.

The time with Chairwoman Song passed quickly, yet the effect she left on each of us did not. We parted our ways with hope to see each other again, inspired by her activities and positive ideas.

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