We were introduced to our next #FREDAGirl at a pop-up event and were so inspired by her story that we had to share it with you all. Enter, Jenny Kim, VP & Associate General Counsel in the corporate legal group at Intel. Jenny is hard working, kind-hearted, confident and fun. She is as accomplished professionally as she is personally, working alongside the greatest minds in Silicon Valley, all the while raising a teenage daughter. Jenny invited us into home where she continued to inspire us with her warm embrace, radiant smile, peaceful demeanor and closet filled with FREDAs. She is a true FREDA Girl and we are so honored to be a part of her story.
You are the Vice President and Associate General Counsel in Intel’s Corporate Legal Group. Tell us about your day to day and what exactly you do at Intel? How did you get to where you are?
I am fortunate to work in a legal department at a Fortune 50 technology company with hundreds of smart and talented legal professionals. My team and I are responsible for corporate work to keep Intel “legal” in areas of public filings and disclosures. We advise senior executives and our board on matters of corporate law, governance, and securities. While no two days at work are the same, I would have to say that each day shares a common theme – that is, “complex problem solving”. I joined Intel in 2015 after almost 14 years at Visa where I was part of its global reorganization followed by its IPO. I had been hired as vice president and worked my way to a senior vice president serving the board and our top executives. Before Visa, I was at several other public and private companies in the Bay area. I have a large firm training background and have counseled start-ups to global companies as a corporate attorney during my 20 + years of practice.
You work in a predominately male environment at one of Silicon Valley’s top institutions. How do you hold your own with the boys?
Being confident and having subject matter expertise helps to develop one’s goodwill and brand; it also served for me, as an equalizer. I work very hard to build trust with my clients and colleagues. While that requires doing the work well, a very important part of building the trusting relationship includes being a calm and stable influence in the work environment. For me, I know what I can bring to the table; I know what others may not. I have always been a keen observer of how people speak, look and address me and others. Observing and having those data points show me which biases may be involved and what I need to do to offset them. I’m up for the challenge and know that I can continue to minimize those with each opportunity (i.e., emails, meetings, phone calls). That gives me the confidence to speak up when I want to. I don’t always feel I need to. That is an important distinction which developed over time.
We love your style and spin on corporate attire. Where do you find inspiration? Do you find that dressing for the occasion makes you feel more confident? How does FREDA fit into your style?
There are so many more options for corporate attire these days. For me, the looks range from jeans with a silk blouse all the way to a slim skirt and jacket which can then be varied depending on the shoes I am wearing. Because I am busy at work (along with a life at home with a teenage athlete), I insist on an impeccable fit and cut to my clothes and shoes. I tend to gravitate towards clothes with some nuanced details (i.e., fabric color, unique buttons, reverse stitching, etc.). And, FREDA is an integral part of my closet. I don’t have to think twice about reaching for any pair.
I think it’s pretty universal that dressing appropriately for a particular occasion boosts one’s confidence. The real trick is how to replicate that into your day-to-day routine, particularly when it’s a busy, stressful day. I have some trusted, reliable pieces that I readily turn to for any day, even when such a day includes meetings with board members and executives. Since FREDA launched, the brand has accompanied me to some of the more memorable meetings and speaking engagements of my career. If only my FREDAs could talk.
Your greatest or most rewarding career moment to date?
I would have to say taking a 30+ year company public — that doesn’t happen very often — while working as a single mom. It was an extremely exciting, challenging, frustrating and stressful period of my life. It’s only by looking back at those long hours and days that I can now really appreciate what was truly accomplished by everyone involved, including my daughter. She traveled with me to New York for key meetings that were part of Visa’s reorganization and IPO. I did that because it put me in the best frame of mind to get the work done that faced me. For me personally, she will always be a part of that deal team.
Describe Freda Salvador in three words.
Unparalleled, Smart, Effortless
Advice for anyone who wants a job like yours.
Ask for feedback from those around you at all levels. It takes more than just your own initiative to become a great manager, leader and/or trusted advisor. (You may excel in one area but not in others and, frankly, unless you ask for direct, specific feedback, you won’t receive it). In order to advance, you have to be prepared to adapt and listen to feedback (the negative ones may hurt your ego but those are the ones that matter the most). Almost all of the great leaders I’ve come to know always ask for feedback; if you pay attention, you’ll see that they all do, even if they don’t use those exact words.
A quotation or saying that inspires you professionally or personally.
You have to learn the rules of the game. Then you have to play better than anyone else.
– Albert Einstein