NOVEMBER SPOTLIGHT:

DAVID KIM & SOCERO  

BY NASSAR KHAN

ayi6mcsthewxgqtm0eek.jpg

The Ascend Network is not only a social issue motivator and a leadership development movement, it also builds and develops skills that are useful to your professional advancement. This month, we place our spotlight on one of our Mentor Alumni David Kim and how Ascend helped him create the mindset that launched his new app, Socero.

As a mentor during the Ascend retreat pilot project, Kim was an early adopter of the student-run leadership experience, and that drive for innovation is reflected in his event discovery tech startup, Socero. Started at York University, the application, which Km describes as "basically Tinder for events", uses artificial intelligence to gather information on events happening in close proximity to the user, based on a set of "favourite" interests set by the user. The app enjoyed a promising start, raising over $4,000 on their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, and was supported by over 100 community members, reaching over 70,000 people through social media on Thunderclap before their September 2017 launch. In an interview with TAN, Kim speaks about his passion regarding student loneliness, and how it helped inspire the Socero team to combat isolation in the post-secondary community.

"(Last year) 30% of Canadian uni students felt lonely in the last week, and that's surprising...We want people to get out there." Kim remarks. On the topic of how the theme of  loneliness connects to the app itself, Kim adds, "The average American goes to 5.3 events per year, based on a statistic from 2014, and we think that they'd actually be going to 15-20 events, they just don't know about the other 10-15 events. If they knew about it, they'd get out there. Maybe they'd be less loneliness. Maybe students would feel more part of the community, part of the culture, maybe they'd discover things like ASCEND, perhaps. That's our short term goal."

open-uri20170808-3-z2od5s.png

"...If you don't on a human level know whats going on in (your colleagues') lives, there's a disconnect. You're just going in, doing work and you're a slave to the clock, you don't really feel the connection, the humanity. I feel like as someone who wants to enjoy life and enjoy the presence of other people, Ascend cultivates a sense of vulnerability that I've
never seen in any other retreat."

When asked about TAN and the Ascend retreat's effect on both himself and his endeavours, Kim replies, "It really showed me the importance of being vulnerable...It's a bit of a lateral move, but now I'm doing app stuff and even if you're in "business", you still have to have compassion and understand the fellow humans you're working with." Kim goes on to describe his experience with leadership in the workplace,

"...If you don't on a human level know whats going on in (your colleagues') lives, there's a disconnect. You're just going in, doing work and you're a slave to the clock, you don't really feel the connection, the humanity. I feel like as someone who wants to enjoy life and enjoy the presence of other people, Ascend cultivates a sense of vulnerability that I've
never seen in any other retreat."

As an active member of the Ascend Network community, Kim talks about how much the retreat experience has travelled with him throughout the following years and experiences.
"(Ascend) was very emotionally powerful, and the network that came out of those few days still carries over, and we still get the community supporting (Socero). Leaders create leaders, and that's the kind of network that I feel like I've grown into." 

With Socero growing more and more every day, and with Kim and his team reaching out to more investors and gaining corporate support, they are a shining example of the way that the Ascend community supports each other emotionally, socially and even professionally, with real world business networking applications, and it is this drive for connectivity and community engagement that makes David Kim and Socero our November Ascend Spotlight.

Socero is available for download on iOS here and Android devices here. Visit their website at socero.com to keep up with David and the team on all their social media, and support Ascend alumni making a difference in the community.

3.jpg