Staff Reporters
Oct 25, 2023

Women to Watch 2023: Yunkyung Ha, BBDO

A natural socialiser and lover of people, Yunkyung’s ability to build relationships, balance between cultures and languages has propelled her career as a rising star far and wide.

Women to Watch 2023: Yunkyung Ha, BBDO
Celebrating outstanding talent in marcomms

Yunkyung Ha

SVP, head of business
South Korea

Yunkyung Ha started her career as a junior account executive at Grey, when it was still a joint venture with the local SangAm Communications in 1996. From the moment Ha stepped into the industry, she learned the delicate balance between local and international cultures, tapping into emotion and channeling logic with problem-solving, managing to juggle all these elements whilst becoming a people-person in the process. It’s no surprise she was awarded the best senior account executive title at Grey, and has always been considered a rising star.

This same ability has allowed Ha to expand her career and coverage beyond Korea, leveraging her mother tongue in local markets (Korean), tapping into English for business purposes, French for her Masters in Art degree, and Japanese for her shopping!

As the first ever Korean expat there, Ha worked at Grey Tokyo for several years, and played a key role in bridging the gap between the Japanese and Korean businesses. Attributing her success to her passion and sense of natural peopleship, Ha even managed to have all her Japanese colleagues cheering on the Korean soccer team during the World Cup in the 2000!

Ha set up the regional hub in Seoul for P&G Fabric Care with BBDO Korea for the first time since 2009, inaugurating the account into the local market when the remit has usually sat with the likes of the US, Singapore or Hong Kong. Under her leadership over the last two years, client business growth has increased by up to 134% and exceeded annual goals. Ha has managed to extend the account’s coverage to include campaigns for Febreze Fabric Deodorizer, Car Freshener and Downy. As a result, her team has been recognised by the P&G client as the best on ground through awards for consecutive years.

Additionally, under BBDO Korea, she’s led key campaigns for Brown Forman and Skippy (by Hormel)—all first-time clients working with them in Korea. The campaigns have resulted in 30% + growth for their businesses. Currently, Ha she is busy developing new clients to expand the company portfolio across various industries and brands. She was also key to the newly-won North Face, Hormel Foods, Agoda and AIA Life Insurance clients.

Ha’s warm and honest leadership style stands out, and she has a reputation for making her team members feel secure and stable, whilst being able to simultaneously push boundaries and grow. Her people management skills and unique ability to build and maintain great relationships, conversations and passion, are all regarded as stellar qualities Ha brings not just to her work, but also her life. Her motto centers on being practical and efficient, whilst always maintaining respect and support for those around her.

This extends to her love of mentoring and education. In addition to her exceptional client work, Ha has been leading training for junior staff and interns for years, passionate about nurturing and educating them on the fundamentals required for jobs in this industry. Under her leadership, more than 100 global talents have been able to grow and shine in their various roles of choice. She also plays a key role in the wider industry, adamantly championing to increase the representation of female directors nominees at the Cannes Lions Awards since 2015. She has also been an advocate for working with female directors, working with Thai director Mantanakorn Ngoenwilai (Jan), and encouraging her teams to follow suit. 

Last but certainly not least, Ha currently serves as an Effie Awards jury board member and has done so for years. A truly deserving woman to watch.

Celebrating outstanding talent in marcomms


Campaign Asia

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