Name: Nina Kong
Title: President and Chief Art Advisor of smART Advisory
First and foremost, Nina Kong considers herself an art historian. She’s also an advisor who specializes in Art Collection Management, Catalogues Raisonnes, and Artist Websites. And after seven years of gaining valuable corporate experience, this Hunter College grad realized she’s also an entrepreneur. Nina is also a member of Dreamers // Doers, a highly curated community of high-achieving trailblazing women who come together to support each other on their entrepreneurial paths. The community encompasses a diverse mix of female founders, women working at startups, and other female creators, change-makers, and influencers.
Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?
Nina: I’m an entrepreneur because I love the challenges and solving problems. Being an entrepreneur fuels my creativity as it allows me to be more open minded and expand myself to other possibilities. I realized stable, structured 9 to 5 job no longer works for me after 7 years in the corporate world. I thrive in uncertainty and less confined situations.
Me: What problem would you like solved?
Nina: A lot of people get intimidated by art, especially contemporary and abstract art. These people also feel isolated from the art world and feel that it’s very opaque. I want to make art more transparent and inviting for everyone. I spend most of my time trying to come up with solutions to how to make art more engaging and accessible to everyone. My goal is to preserve the legacies of established artists and promote their work with the help of technology. Artists inspires me everyday and my mission is to translate the visual experience and share my knowledge with everyone through meaningful, interpersonal connections.
Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?
Nina: I wished I had followed this advice sooner “the answer is always no if you don’t ask.” Growing up, I was really encouraged to be independent and was discouraged to seek for help, as it was considered a sign of weakness. I was also misled to think that success comes from one person’s visions and actions. This notion, unfortunately prevented me to take more risks and see other possibilities.
Me: What does success look like for you?
Nina: For me, success looks like fulfilling my true purpose in life and being of a value to my industry and community. Albert Einstein’s quote resonates with me. I do my best to live by these words each day: “Strive not to be a success but be of a value.”
Success is also about being passionate and finding joy in my work. The challenges are easier to overcome if you have a purpose and passion in your work.
Me: Who are your heroes?
Nina: My heroines are all members of Dreamers//Doers, especially Gesche Haas, Dawn Quaker, Patrycja Slawuta, and Ling Hu. I feel so grateful and have been so fortunate to be part of this amazing group of women who empower each other. They have been the source of inspiration and role models for me. Gesche showed me how to be vulnerable and embrace all my imperfections. Dawn helped me realize my true potentials and gave me the courage to launch my company. Patrycja’s Self-Hackathon series led me to discover more about my true self and demonstrated that we can rewire our old beliefs and behaviors to become the best version of ourselves. Lastly, Ling has been an awesome partner in crime, where we encourage each other to venture out to discover and learn something new every week.
Me: What is your best discovery?
Nina: My best discovery is my company, smART Advisory. I discovered my dream job by an accident, while working as a researcher at an architecture firm. One of the partners at the firm was searching for an art historian to document his father’s plexiglas sculptures (www.leroylamis.org). While documenting and researching this sculptor’s work as a consultant in my spare time in the past 6 years, I realized my true passion and the core mission of my company: To preserve and promote the legacies of established and emerging artists. smART Advisory offers artists the opportunities to showcase their work in exhibition/public/residential/commercial spaces and help clients to discover new artists to expand their art knowledge and collection.
Asides from discovering my true passion, my best discovery is also the ability to let go of the outcomes and the past mistakes. I’ve learned to embrace and see my mistakes as invaluable lessons, not as failures. This enable me to take more risks without any expectations and allow myself to discover something new.
Me: What would the title of your biography be?
Nina: The Successful Risk Taker
Me: What is your biggest regret?
Nina: In retrospect, my biggest regret is not taking enough risks to learn tons of lessons early on in my life. Instead of being open to making mistakes and learning from them, I used to get so caught up with perfecting the tiniest details to “prevent” mistakes and often failed to see things in a larger perspective and make time for things that really mattered. In the end I realized perfection does not always lead to great outcomes, it just adds extra layer of unnecessary stress and anxiety. It’d be more fulfilling to have the same outcome from taking more risks and chances in life.
Me: Anything else we should know about (product launch, crowdfunding or marketing campaign, recent interview, job openings..)?