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“Hard to Distinguish between ‘Short’ and ‘Tall’ with the Shape of Lips, but Happy”
--- Ms. Soon-Mi KWON with hearing impairment
Ms. Soon-Mi Kwon, selected as sub-manager in the face of hearing impairment in four years after entrance into Starbucks

Practiced ways of greetings hundreds of times and acquired the certificate of coffee master’

▲ ▲ Ms. Soon-Mi KWON, the first sub-manager with hearing impairment in Starbucks Korea ⓒStarbucks Korea

“I practiced speaking out ‘hello’ aloud hundreds of times every day just after joining this company. It was a tough time for me to overcome and practice something that most people can do easily.”

The first sub-manager with hearing impairment in Starbucks Korea appeared. It is Ms. Soon-Mi KWON(36 photo) who joined Starbucks Korea through the first recruitment of the handicapped in 2011.

She beat the competition rate of 10 to 1 and finally succeeded in promoting to the sub-managerial level after she had passed all the tests started in last October, including the writing test, the aptitude test, the job diagnostic test, the personality interview, and the executive interview.

She, the sub-manager of the branch at the south gate of the Olympic Park is a level 2 hearing-impaired person who can hear a little even through a hearing aid. But, she can understand the meaning of the other`s words by reading their mouths.

However, after joining the company, she practiced speaking out basic expressions like ‘hello’ every day to improve communication skills. Although at first, it was not easy to serve customers’ orders, she did not give up trying to find out know-how continuously.

She said, “Serving a customer`s order was the most difficult thing at first.

There were occasions when I missed additional orders in looking at a customer`s mouth and the screen of POS alternately, which resulted in serving the wrong beverage to the customer. Especially, it was really hard to distinguish ‘short’ and ‘tall’ merely by the shape of a mouth. So I rechecked the ordered size again by showing the customer the cup.”

She also tried to approach not only customers but also her colleagues first by explaining her physical condition that she has hearing impairment and asking them to touch her or looking at her face to face if she cannot hear their words.”

Her passion persisted in trying to become the best barrister and finally acquired the coffee master certificate of Starbucks last February. The coffee master program is a 6-month comprehensive process covering the knowledge of origins of coffee beans, bean tasting, coffee extracting device training and roasting.

Ms. KWON expressed her will to become a manager to give hands first to co-workers and customers and make efforts to grow together with colleagues with similar handicaps, helping each other.

Currently, a total of 142 disabled workers are employed throughout the branches nationwide. Hong-Sik Joo, Senior Manager of the Human Resources Team of Starbucks said “Ms. Soon-Mi KWON has played such great roles as the mentor of barristers with handicap. And even to the public, she has given such inspiration proven in an example that a regular customer met Ms. KWON and suggested her daughter with hearing impairment think about joining Starbucks. End. 

Lee Hana Women’s news reporter / Trans by Choi Eunyoung
1369호 [People] (2016-01-11)
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