Life & Business Lessons From My Time on the Asian Underground Railroad

Life & Business Lessons From My Time on the Asian Underground Railroad


Michael Kim

East Asian Political Insider; Consultant to the U.S. Government of Illicit Networks; Award-Winning Author

PMIWDC Non-Member Rate

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About the Program

Mike will share the story of his time at the China-North Korean border helping North Koreans escape through the 6,000-mile modern-day underground railroad in Asia that runs from North Korea to Thailand. In doing so, he’ll draw upon his experiences founding a NGO, managing a team of 41 staff and volunteers, networking and relationship building, and planning and executing missions helping North Koreans gain their freedom.

Event Location

Fairview Park Marriott
3111 Fairview Park Drive
Falls Church, VA, 22042

Agenda and Cost:
Corporate table for 10: $550
Chapter Members: $45
Non-members: $55
Walkins: $60
5:00 PM - Registration Opens
5:30 PM - PM Tools
5:30 - Networking Reception & Cash Bar
6:15 - New Member Meet & Greet (Read More)
7:00 - Dinner & Cash Bar
7:45 - Guest Speaker
9:00 - Adjourn
PDUs Available: 
1.00 PDUs for Certified PMs

About the Speakers

Michael Kim

East Asian Political Insider; Consultant to the U.S. Government of Illicit Networks; Award-Winning Author

Mike Kim is an author, consultant, NGO founder, and North Korea specialist based in Washington, DC. He is the author of the Wall Street Journal featured book, Escaping North Korea, a current events memoir about his experiences at the China-North Korea border helping North Koreans escape the regime. On New Year's Day 2003, Mike gave up his financial planning business in Chicago, Illinois and left for China on a one-way ticket carrying little more than two duffle bags. While living near the North Korean border, he operated undercover as a student of North Korean taekwondo, training and competing under two famous North Korean masters from Pyongyang—eventually receiving a second-degree black belt.

During his time in China, he learned of the hundreds of thousands of North Koreans fleeing to China through a 6,000-mile modern-day underground railroad, which runs from Pyongyang to Bangkok, in search of food and freedom. He had a legal name change prior to moving to China and upon arrival conducted all North Korean operations while using an alias. He has successfully led sex trafficking victims to safety in Southeast Asia using drug trafficking routes in the region and has had many harrowing experiences, which includes interrogation, house arrest, and being held at gunpoint.

He founded Crossing Borders, a nonprofit dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees which has testified at a US congressional hearing and has been a long time contributor of the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Mike frequently appears in the media: He has appeared on CNN Anderson Cooper 360 and it was after his interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart that there was interest from Hollywood in turning Escaping North Korea into a motion picture. He is working with a team to develop the film and the project is represented by Creative Artists Agency.

Mike lectures to audiences worldwide about his experiences at the China-North Korea border and has now shared his stories of inspiration, courage, and hope on five continents. As a long-time student of business and leadership, he’ll share how key principles helped ensure success in founding a NGO, managing a team of 41 staff and volunteers in multiple languages and geographies, planning and executing projects helping North Koreans gain their freedom, authoring a book, and developing a movie with Hollywood agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Mike currently works with Keith Ferrazzi (Author of “Never Eat Alone” and “Who’s Got Your Back”) as a managing director at Ferrazzi Greenlight, human behavior change research institute and consultancy. Prior to that, he was a Specialist Master at Deloitte Consulting where he led initiatives applying business solutions and technology to social issues such as human trafficking. He resides in Los Angeles where he is a consultant and term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

About the Monthly Dinner Meetings

The PMIWDC Monthly Dinner Meetings are held at the Sheraton Tysons (8661 Leesburg Pike, Tysons, VA 22182), typically on the second Tuesday of each month (subject to change due to holidays and venue/speaker availability). Members and non-members are welcome to join us for the best speakers and networking the Washington, DC area has to offer.

The presentations are educational and informative to those professionals operating in the field of project management and functioning in leadership roles in industry and government. It is also of great value to those looking to step into the field of Project Management and begin their certification process. Each event will present specific learning points focusing on building a talent triangle of technical, leadership, and strategic and business management skills, unique to the presenter's area of expertise and the subject matter discussed while directly relating to improving the practice of managing projects and leading others. At each Monthly Chapter Event certified PMPs can earn 1 Professional Development Unit (PDU).


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