Written by Mark Mensheha for Chicago Business Journal
The Chicago Business Journal is proud to announce its 2020 Women of Influence honorees.
The women that we’re recognizing have made an impact both professionally and in their communities.
They’ve found success in a range of businesses affecting the Chicago economy, including law, finance, engineering and real estate. They’ve also been active pursuing charitable endeavors, serving in their communities, and working to develop future professionals for their companies and their industries.
The executives featured here were selected from a field of nominees by a team of editors and reporters representing the Chicago Business Journal and its parent company, American City Business Journals.
See all honoree profiles on the Chicago Business Journal website.
Name: Suzanne Yoon
Company: Kinzie Capital Partners
Title: Managing partner
Where born: Chicago
Education: University of Iowa (B.A., economics); Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University (Executive Scholar)
In my job, I’m responsible for: Leading strategic planning, team development and investment decisions for Kinzie Capital Partners.
The most challenging part of my job: Is also the most rewarding: the continued development of our very talented team.
I know I’ve done my job well when: My firm was named PEWIN (Private Equity Women’s Investor Network) North American Female Founded Firm of the Year 2020.
A tip I’ve learned that’s helped me with networking is: Be willing to collaborate and help others. Treat everyone like a future referral source, client or employee.
The best advice I’ve received for career development is: Ask for what you need and go after what you want.
The attributes I look for in a candidate when hiring are: Potential, resourcefulness, integrity and work ethic.
Do you serve as a mentor for someone? If so, how do you try and fill that role?: I have served as a mentor in the past, but I believe, as a leader, you are always mentoring. Transferring knowledge to my direct reports and being an example to my entire team and those I come in contact with, I believe, is a form of mentoring.
Do you have a mentor yourself? If so, what do you look for from that individual?: I have had many mentors throughout my career whom I admire and also go to for advice. I also believe everyone should have their advisory board of both people who are aspirational and peers. The most important thing I have learned from my mentors — Norm Bobins and Peter Schwab, to name two — is how meaningful relationships and partnerships are throughout your career.
Knowing what you know now: What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?: Starting a private-equity firm will be harder than you can even imagine, but it’s worth every second.
How would you describe what the year 2020 has been like?: I have one word and two numbers: Covid-19. Seriously though, despite all the challenges of the pandemic, 2020 has been a year of personal growth for me as a CEO and wife and mother, and I am grateful for both.
What’s been the biggest challenge of this pandemic-driven year for you?: Balancing kids going remote, and managing and balancing the team while considering everyone’s mental health.
Favorite vacation spots: The Northwoods of Vilas County, Wisconsin, and Costa Rica.
Book I’ve read recently that I’d recommend: I just finished “Beneath A Scarlet Sky” by Mark Sullivan.
TV show, movie or program you would find me watching if I had several hours of viewing time available: “Star Wars.” Classic good vs. evil plot, sharing of wisdom, and the fascinating universe created around it. My boys and I are “Star Wars” fans.
Something about me that would surprise my fellow Women of Influence honorees: I love the outdoors. I recently (pre-pandemic) went on my first fly-fishing trip and had the best time ever.