Project Description

Reference over Role Model

Can I make a life and space my own?

Can something I like become my work?

Can my values and work coexist?

This project, conducted with the Yonsei University Institute for Higher Education, was a study on women, work, and future careers. We worked with six young female students who expressed concerns over their future as working women despite excelling in their college entrance exams (a big accomplishment in Korea). These students conducted interviews with seventeen working women in their 20s-40s and, with our help, published the interviews and what they learned late in 2020.

The answers we heard in the interviews reflected the lives and worries of these young women. Even if their stories cannot serve as paths to follow and these people role models to 100% emulate, we believe that their answers are valuable as a reference for others with similar concerns and questions.


“As your career is bound to be a winding and unpredictable road, I believe that people with whom you can share concerns with and look back will be exceedingly important. It will be a long process of exploration, travel, and adventure.”
– from References over Role Models –

Project Processes

  • University students with no prior writing experience became authors, and a brand marketer with no prior publishing experience became a planner and editor.
  • We collaborated with a professor who was deeply interested in discovering insights in womens’ lives and career development to create this book.
  • Everyone who worked on this book on good references became better references in their own way.

Project Insights

  • We learned that the 2030s will experience too many social and environmental changes for true “role models” to exist.
  • Rather than highlighting females who made successful careers, it is important to show references for the different positions and places one encounters themselves in in their career.
  • The small references of today give the women of tomorrow the gifts of possibility and positivity.
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