Sharon Kim, C’05
Sharon Kim

Managing Director, Mt. Airy Community Development Corporation

Philadelphia, PA

Cinema Studies Major

Managing director is a varied role, kind of like director of operations, but also being the number two in the company. I could be planning an event or onboarding someone, drafting a lease, or arranging logistics for our series of workshops. Or I could be meeting with community members about pressing issues around the neighborhood. It’s pretty cool that I get to do what I get to do. Every day is really interesting, and the people I work with are really passionate. That makes a huge difference.

I’m proud of the street festival that we put on four times a year. To be able to create a space for neighbors to get to know one another and see one another again after COVID, to get to know the small businesses that make up the neighborhood—it’s just so fun. We also recently started a grant program, a $2,000 grant for first-time homebuyers, no strings attached. Knowing that we had a small part in helping someone achieve their dream of home ownership, building intergenerational wealth, is really inspiring.

Just separating myself from the person that I thought I was supposed to be was a hard lesson.

I loved all the clubs that Penn had. That was really fun and a great way to meet people. But what stays with me is the feeling of possibilities. Having all of these resources at your fingertips and the support of all of your professors is really special. Penn gave me an amazing foundation upon which to build this successful life and career, and I’m so thankful for my experience there and the friends I made.

After college I worked a couple jobs and then went to law school. I realized it was not something I wanted to do, so I took this job at a big construction company because I thought I wanted to go corporate. I think just separating myself from the person that I thought I was supposed to be was a hard lesson.

I wouldn’t change my trajectory. Law school was expensive, but it was really invaluable. The corporate job led me to prioritize things that were important to me and made me realize that I actually want to do something that makes me happy every day. — September 12, 2023 • Photo by Brooke Sietinsons