Welcome to Bossy Like Me, an interview series and resource destination for and about women small business owners and pioneers.


Edition 4 - Lisa Kim

Edition 4 - Lisa Kim

Lisa Kim is an art advisor and public art administrator based in Brooklyn, NY. As director of cultural affairs for Two Trees Management Company, a real estate development company responsible for the development and revitalization of the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, she manages the company’s arts initiatives and cultural philanthropy. Her projects at Two Trees include public art commissions, support and development of DUMBO’s art community, and management of an artist studio grant program and a rent subsidy program for artists and arts and community focused groups.


(1) What is your most hard fought win?

I had to think deeply about this - sure, I've gone to battle for projects and on behalf of artists, but I feel these battles have been the normal process part of dealing with project development and managing multiple stakeholders with varying interests and goals. These fights are part of anything that is worthwhile pursuing. Digging deeper, I'd have to say my hardest fought win is with myself and learning to listen to my inner voice. There's a fine line between trusting your gut and self-doubt. So learning to trust my instincts and having the confidence to stay the course would be my most hard fought win.

(2) What has been your most surprising failure? 

In studio art classes, I learned very quickly that I was a terrible artist. My draftsmanship skills are poor and my attempts at painting turns paint into mud. However, what I can't produce from my own hands, I am able see and appreciate in other's work. This appreciation for art and creativity is what drives me and gives me fuel to do my work. There's also a failed retail business under my belt. I learned invaluable lessons from my one year as a part-time owner-operator of an eco-friendly, fair trade goods shop on the Jersey shore. I let my own personal interests guide the business without reading the market and location. It was too small of a place, too narrow of a focus and too cash poor to survive. I made so many mistakes along the way, but I am grateful for the experience. Overall, its great to be able to identify my weaknesses to know where and when I need to ask for help. 

(3) What is your favorite book in the past 12 months?

I recently completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training and one of my favorite books from the course was Health, Healing, and Beyond: Yoga and the Living Tradition of T. Krisnamacharya, by T.K.V. Desikachar. The book is a tribute to Desikachar's father,  T. Krisnamacharya, who we can thank for bringing yoga to the west and from whose teachings modern yoga can be traced. As a yoga practitioner for nearly twenty years, the lineage, history and philosophy of yoga were not part of my understanding of the practice. Yoga's history and teaching, which goes far beyond the physical postures and stretching is a powerful system of learning how to navigate this world as humans. I'd recommend this book to anyone with even a scant interest in yoga and especially to anyone interested in health and well-being. Yoga has helped me in every aspect of my life, and has become a powerful tool during my workday to help me sort through ideas, thoughts, reactions and actions.

(4)  How do you define success for your current job?

Joy. I see joy and excitement from people who experience our public art projects. I hope people will walk away from their interactions and learn to appreciate art, creativity and the role of artists in our society. I am able to see artists and small arts and community service groups thrive because of the work we do. Having affordable space and a community to connect with is a major part of an artists' toolbox and I'm pleased we are able to offer such precious commodities to our local community.

(5) Where do you find news and new information?

The beautiful thing about living in New York City is that there's new information daily - it may be an impromptu performance I stumble upon on the subway, or something that catches my eye in a shop window. I'm constantly amazed by artists work in galleries and open studio events. And where would be be without blogs and Facebook? I learn about great local events through Facebook and I follow art and design blogs. Some of my favorites are ARTINFO, Hyperallergic and SWISS-MISS. I'm a public radio addict and I'm a big fan of TedTalks, however ubiquitous. I'm inspired daily by ideas, inventions and new ways of approaching old problems. As for world news: the almighty New York Times.



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