Songyee Yoon PhD ’00, an entrepreneur, innovator, investor, and leader in AI and the gaming industry, has been appointed as a School of Engineering visiting innovation scholar for the 2023-24 academic year.
Yoon, who is as a member of the MIT Corporation, serves as president and chief strategic officer of NCSOFT, a world leader in game publishing and digital entertainment. Under her leadership, NCSOFT has expanded to include locations in seven countries on three continents. She played a pivotal role in founding the NCSOFT AI Center, a state-of-the-art AI research facility that has helped the company develop and integrate the latest AI and machine learning technologies into their products.
In 2021, Yoon founded Chamaeleon, an early-stage venture capital firm. As a managing partner at the firm, Yoon focuses on consumer software, content and media, and deep and frontier tech. She particularly supports entrepreneurs working at the intersection of AI, entertainment, and social platforms.
As a visiting innovation scholar, Yoon will engage in a variety of activities with faculty, students, and staff across MIT’s School of Engineering. She will provide guidance to the dean of engineering on strategic initiatives, cutting-edge programs, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem within the school.
“I am both humbled and excited to embark on my journey as an innovation scholar, where I will champion entrepreneurship and empower female engineers to flourish within diverse career paths,” says Yoon.
A central theme throughout Yoon’s career and many philanthropic pursuits has been a passion for promoting inclusivity and supporting future leaders.
“As technology continues to transform our world, there is a growing need for inclusive innovation. Throughout my career, I’ve seen firsthand how amplifying all voices fosters more creativity and adds richness to building,” adds Yoon. “I am honored to help the School of Engineering bridge the gap between inspiration and realization, and nurture the next generation of trailblazing leaders who will shape the world with their brilliance.”
Yoon received a bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and a PhD in computational neuroscience from MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. She also received a juris doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law and is a graduate of the Stanford University Executive Program.
After receiving her PhD, Yoon worked at McKinsey and Co., then served as vice president of communications intelligence at wireless service provider SK Telecom, where she used AI technologies to develop a smart, personalized data services platform. In 2008, she joined NCSOFT.
As a member of the MIT Corporation, Yoon has served on several visiting committees at MIT and is the current chair of the Governance and Nominations Committee. She serves on a number of advisory boards. She is an inaugural member of the Advisory Council of Stanford University’s Human-Centered AI Center and a board of trustees of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Yoon is chair and founder of the NCSOFT Cultural Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes corporate social responsibility and supports the socially disadvantaged. In an effort to support working parents, Yoon personally oversaw the development of the “Laughing Peanut,” a 400-child daycare facility located at the NCSOFT R&D center, and “Projectory,” for nurturing and fostering creativity.
Yoon has received a number of awards and accolades for her contributions to technology and business. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering of Korea, was named one of the 50 Women to Watch in Business by The Wall Street Journal, and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
“Dr. Yoon is a true visionary. Her extensive experience in AI technologies, coupled with her passion for supporting entrepreneurs and championing diversity in engineering, make her an ideal fit as visiting innovation scholar,” says Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “The faculty, students, and staff in the School of Engineering will all benefit from her expertise and vision.”