Young innovators: Monica Kang of InnovatorsBox

By the time she was in her mid-twenties, Monica Kang had a master’s degree in strategic studies from Johns Hopkins University and was working in the highly competitive world of Washington politics. She had landed a job focusing on nuclear non-proliferation—a field she was passionate about—but found herself becoming increasingly unhappy. “I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I did something just for me: not my boyfriend, a friend, or family,” says the 29-year-old entrepreneur. “I started taking just a few minutes a day to write, take a walk, or do something I enjoyed.” Those small, incremental steps began to shift how she felt about both her life and her work. Instead of stressing out because of a tight deadline, she could step back and look for a more creative solution.

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The reason I started to love my job again was I shifted the way I thought about it. That changed the way I do everything.

Kang’s personal experience became the unexpected catalyst for a massive career change. In 2016 she launched InnovatorsBox, an education company that teaches individuals and businesses how to open up to their own creativity. In a short time, the member of D.C.’s WeWork Manhattan Laundry has become a leader in her field, speaking at six conferences, sponsoring 45 workshops and networking events, and turning her passion into a viable business. “When people realize how powerful creativity is,” she says, “they become empowered, better communicators, better at meeting challenges, and eventually have more opportunities.”

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