Pushing Boundaries and Paying It Forward: Meet Gene Yoon

 

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At The Forem, we take pride in the fact that our mentors come from every type of industry and background.

Gene Yoon checks all the boxes and has tried his hand in a variety of industries: studying politics at Princeton and law at NYU, working in startups and tech giants in the Bay Area, excelling as a venture capitalist and leveraged buyout lawyer, and currently running for the California State Senate.

Yes, that is more career pivots than most people take on in a lifetime. But if there is one thing that we (and Gene) know, it’s that career pivots happen when people follow their passions and know how to reframe their experience into transferable skills.

Now, Gene sees his new path in politics as the perfect opportunity to bring together everything he has learned in his career.

“What I love about it is the same as any other job that I have had: I feel that this is the best use of my skills and background for having impact in the world. People think politics is different from tech, and of course it is in many ways, but as a complex field with many stakeholders and conflicting goals, it’s simply a very hard problem with huge impact if handled correctly… and that is what I’ve always sought in my work, so this is no different in terms of job satisfaction.”

Gene decided to run for office — and join The Forem as a volunteer mentor — because he says it is time to “pay it forward” and make dreams come true for the next generation and his community.

“The more experience you have, the more you gain from mentoring others. Connecting with empathy to others who have less (or different) experience is truly the only way to relive and reintegrate one’s own experiences into an increasingly rich tapestry of life. Similarly, the more success you have, the more you understand that there is nothing so satisfying as helping others become successful.”

His area of expertise lies in helping people step outside of their comfort zones.

“I just want to help people maximize their own potential. I help you frame problems in a way that allows you to break out of the limitations of the prior framework, whatever that framework is.”

It is this attitude for pushing boundaries that has led Gene fearlessly through his many career endeavours.

We’re taking notes!


GENE’S RECS:

Book: The Next Realignment, by Frank DiStefano

Movie: Minari

TV Show:Babylon Berlin on Netflix


BIO: 

Gene has been a tech product leader, a founder, startup exec, venture capitalist and leveraged buyout lawyer. At Google, he led product development for systems that protected online advertising. He has served as an executive leader at startups Linden Lab, Honeycomb, and Airespace, and worked in law and legislation at Kirkland & Ellis and the New Jersey Senate Majority Office. Gene received an A.B Politics from Princeton and J.D. from New York University Law School. Considering the current state of the nation, he is actively planning to run for public office. Gene lives in Lake County, California, where he leads his Firewise community fire safety group while working on local entrepreneurship and his permaculture ranch. He and his partner Jessica have four children.