L.A.’s Most Inspiring Women

When it comes to making L.A. better, those who made this year’s list of power hitters aren’t just leaning in—they’re leading the way

Hyepin Im

The founder of Korean Churches for Community Development urges faith leaders to use their pulpits for social change

Why she does it: When pastors answer the call to ministry, they think they will be preaching the word of God and saving souls. But they are more often called upon to respond to community issues—the need for housing, jobs, disaster readiness, you name it. Unfortunately, many don’t know how to leverage their resources, expand their outreach, and impact policies that would translate into developments for their congregation. That’s where we come in.

Her greatest challenge: When people talk about who has needs in this country, they usually talk about the black and the brown, and the Asian community is left out wholesale. People consider us a minority only when it hurts us, but not when it would be to our benefit.

Her proudest moment: In 2012, KCCD commemorated the anniversary of the Los Angeles riots. Our dream was to bring together the different stakeholders of 21 years ago—the LAPD, the African American community, and local Korean business owners. Organizing it was tough, but on April 29 we had 1,500 people turn out for the event. We mourned the lives lost and the ugliness of the past, and then we lifted up those who had helped to rebuild L.A.

NEXT: Los Angeles City chief of staff Ana Guerrero