At the Carlson School Honors Dinner in October, Carlson School alumnus Michael Byungnam Lee, '88 PhD-industrial relations, was awarded the University of Minnesota's 2012 Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals for his accomplishments in the field of human resources.
Lee began his work with LG Corporation's human resources executives by conducting benchmark research on U.S. human resource practices from his home country of Korea and eventually became president and CEO of LG Academy, a world-class leader in corporate management and human resource training.
When he left Korea in 1980, he had the aspiration of advancing the industrial relations systems in his home country that was torn by labor disputes. He has not only succeeded, but has remained true to his values on human rights and the importance of education.
Professor Emeritus John Fossum introduced Lee at the awards dinner stating, "Michael Byungnam Lee's success has spanned the academic and professional worlds."
Lee introduced LG's first overseas CEO seminar and employee feedback program, the first of its kind in Korea. He also helped encourage a five-day workweek throughout Korea and introduced mental health programs that focused on high levels of stress.
Not only has he had a large impact on Korea, but also on the HR programs around the United States, including the MA-HRIR Program at the University of Minnesota. He launched a program in which LG pays for some of its human resource professionals to get a two-year Masters degree from top U.S. master's programs in human resources; ten LG employees have completed the MA-HRIR Program at the University of Minnesota.
Lee has held external roles at the national level in Korea. Among his many titles are policy adviser to the Ministry of Education, executive board member of the Korean Association of Business Education Accreditation and vice chairman of the Korean Academic Society of Business Administration.
Lee was also the keynote speaker at the 2012 HR Tomorrow Conference where his selection as recipient of the University's 2012 Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals was first announced.