Dr. Elaine Kim

A Special Feature by DBS Insignia
10 Sep 2017

Dr. Kim specializes in palliative care and is the co-founder of Trehaus, a family-friendly co-working space, as well as the co-founder and CEO of CRIB, a non-profit social enterprise that empowers women to become successful entrepreneurs. She is also a mother of three.

For most of us, multi-tasking is extremely daunting, so it’s impossible not to be in awe of Dr. Elaine Kim’s superhuman ability to juggle multiple roles (and then some) – she’s a doctor, an entrepreneur, a wife, and the mother of three young boys – Kyan, Luke, and Nate. She speaks Bahasa Indonesia flawlessly too.

“My parents are both doctors, so going into medicine was definitely on the horizon while growing up,” shares Elaine. “But to be a honest, a part of me also had this entrepreneurial spirit that always wanted to start something new. So when the time came for me to choose my degree, it was a choice between doing medicine or business and I figured I could become a doctor first and do business later on. Starting a business and then becoming a doctor was less likely to happen,” reveals Elaine.

While palliative care might not be the most obvious specialization for Elaine, she relishes it. “I grew up in a family with values that emphasize giving back and serving others. With my job, I am able to be in a position to give back through my work, especially since I am able to help people who are terminally ill, as well as their families.”

Initially, palliative care wasn’t easy for Elaine as the role took an emotional toll on her. “I went in a little skeptical and it was difficult because I was watching patients I got close to die on a regular basis. But I’ve come to realize that a lot of the elderly patients have lived full lives, they’re prepared to go, and what I’m doing is really helping them add life to days – and they desire that.”

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Meanwhile, becoming a mother changed the way Elaine viewed entrepreneurship. She realized that women with children who try to be in the workforce faced specific challenges, so she and a handful of friends, who are also parents and entrepreneurs, came together to start a non-social profit social enterprise called CRIB. “CRIB empowers women to become successful entrepreneurs and we do this through different programs — networking, raising funds, and skills training, to name a few. We also have a charity arm that raises funds for a beneficiary charity every year."

“I wanted to use CRIB as a platform to be able to make an impact on others. This year, our beneficiary charity is called EmancipAction, which helps prevent and fight trafficking of women and children in India."

In addition to CRIB, Elaine is also the co-founder of Trehaus, which is Asia’s first family-friendly co-working space. “As a working parent, I find it important to be able to spend quality time with my children during these precious first few years. Trehaus allows other working parents to do that because right next to the office space is a kid’s atelier, where people can drop off their kids for full child minding by a wonderful team of educators. Currently, we’re looking into expanding Trehaus into new locations and hopefully, it will create an entire mindset change within corporate communities.”

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