Helen Kim

Helen Kim

Founder and CEO

Helen Kim is a pioneer and visionary leader in the fields of politics, business, and philanthropy.
She is the director and the founder of Development for Freedom international, organization based in
Haiti and registered in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Helen arrived in Haiti as a UN staff member shortly after the earthquake in 2010. She was struck
by the extreme poverty, lack of education and healthcare suffered by the people int Haiti. She resigned
her secure post in the UN and founded her own non-profit organization, Development for Freedom
International (DFI). As a visionary and strategic leader, she developed programs that resulted in
sustainable, lifechanging transformations in the lives of underprivileged and marginalized individuals in
Haiti. DFI provides shelter and accelerated education for street boys and men, provides heart surgeries,
cataract surgeries, prosthetics, and physical and psychological rehabilitations for Haitian children and
adults, and through training and employment programs , placed the most vulnerable women in Haiti on
the path to self-sufficiency.

Before the founding DFI in 2012, Helen had a career in the United Nations stationed both in
Haiti and the UN headquarters in New York, where she applied her extensive experience in business and
politics to design and fund programs for women. Prior to joining the UN, she founded and grew for-
profit ventures and established a career in the Korean national politics. She operated her own
international trading company in the tea sector and became a wholesaler to upscale coffee and tea and
coffee houses in Quebec, Canada. She founded a renewable energy company in Toronto Canada,
currently operated by her family. As Chief executive officer for an event planning company, she was
responsible for organizing national events in Korea—including its Millennium celebration event and the
ASEM (Asia Europe Meeting) opening ceremony in 2000. The event she developed for the families of
presidents during ASEM was selected as the “best event” by the international press.

Her expertise and accomplishments in politics and policy making are extensive. She participated
in two Presidential election campaigns in Korea as a policy advisor to the Presidential candidates. She
spearheaded the development and successful passing of the Women’s Business ownership Supporting
law by securing approval from 150 National Assembly members. The impact of this law has been
significant. It increased the percentage of businesswomen in Korea from less than 5% to over 30% of all
business owners in 10 years. During her tenure as the Executive Director of the Korean Women
Entrepreneurs Association, Helen utilized her political instincts and strategic leadership to grow the
annual budget from $135,000 to a total of $10 million in 6 years. Other prominent achievements of
Helen’s political career include the creation of a national Korean Businesswomen’s day and the
institution of business support centers for women in all provinces of Korea.

Helen has received the Letter of Commendation from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and
Energy in 1998 and the Letter of Commendation from the Ministry of Gender Equality 1999 for her
positive contributions to the business community and women in Korea. She also received the
Distinguished Service Medal from the Korean Businesswomen’s Federation in 1999.

Helen earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Ewha Women’s University in
Seoul, South Korea, and holds a Master of Art in International Law from Kyung-Hee University in Seoul,
South Korea.

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