2020 40 Under 40 award recipient: Sungjin Yoo

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Sungjin Yoo Courtesy 616 Media

Sungjin Yoo, 29

In-house counsel
Ottawa Avenue Private Capital

Sungjin Yoo has lived in many places including Seoul, Charlottesville, Vienna, St. Louis and Hamburg, but Grand Rapids ultimately is his home and the city he loves.

“When my family first moved here in 1996, we immersed ourselves in the Grand Rapids community by attending an American CRC church and the local Christian school,” he said. “Needless to say, I could play Dutch bingo even if I had not attended Calvin University.”

Through Ottawa Avenue Private Capital, Yoo provides day-to-day legal services for the execution of the private equity fund and co-investment portfolio, the execution of third-party capital programs, registered investment adviser compliance and other projects for the group and its affiliates.

Although he’s been part of many M&A deals and private equity investments that helped businesses and the economy thrive, he’s most proud of helping host Chuseok: A Celebration of Korean Thanksgiving in the fall of 2019 with Korean Connection in West Michigan.

The event was held as a fundraiser for a Korean orphanage support group, while celebrating a Korean-style Thanksgiving. As a board member for Korean Connection, Yoo sold corporate tables to local businesses, solicited raffle prizes from local businesses, recruited Calvin University students to do K-Pop, Taekwondo and song performances and invited Korean War veterans to honor them.

“My wife and I had a small wedding, but this felt like planning a wedding for 200 people,” Yoo said. “Korean Connection in West Michigan received such positive feedback and was able to raise money to sponsor a student from the Korean orphanage support group to study in West Michigan.”

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