Getting To Know You: Ji Mi Choi

1. Name and title

Ji Mi (pronounced Jimmy) Choi, Associate Vice President, Knowledge Enterprise Development, Arizona State University

2. What do you do in your current role?

I lead ASU’s Entrepreneurship + Innovation team in support of student, faculty, and community entrepreneurs. We offer an extensive support suite of programs and resources from courses to competitions, mentors to makerspaces, and faculty to funding to help launch, grow, and scale startup companies and promote an entrepreneurial mindset across the university. I also work with private and independent organizations in support of economic development locally, regionally and nationally.

3. How long have you been in the Valley?

I moved from Manhattan to join ASU in November of 2015. I currently live in south Scottsdale, adjacent to SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center.

4. What’s one of the most gratifying projects you’ve worked on in your career?

I am doing it now –– every day –– by working to help ASU actualize our vision of inclusion with excellence and impact at scale!

5. What is your favorite part about the AZ tech scene?

It’s fast-paced and growing, yet intimate and generous community. People are willing to share ideas and leads, make introductions, leverage resources and do it with a great and friendly attitude. I also like that there is no sense of “been there, done that.” People are genuinely interested in solving problems, creating solutions, and are excited by the prospect of working on new things together. There are fewer jaded tech entrepreneurs here and certainly far fewer “entitled” tech entrepreneurs here.

6. What is your favorite book, podcast or news site?

There’s something magical to me about the radio program, “This American Life.” It is now also a podcast but there has been very little change in format from its original iteration because the production values are the same. The range of subjects, the interviewees, the quality of production and storytelling is fantastic. Now there is a new crop of podcasts by producers and storytellers who cut their teeth at “This American Life.” Instead of sounding like more of the same, there is a freshness and real curiosity in telling a fantastic story –– an investigative journalism quality that never gets old.

7. What is one hobby, adventure or pastime that gets you over-the-top ecstatic just thinking about doing it?

I am an all-in person. Either I am in or I am out, which makes it hard to pinpoint just one thing. I have a little girl in my life (she’s nine) so I spend a lot of time finding ways to amuse her. Hey, there are worse things in life than trying to figure out how to elicit that deep belly laugh from a loved one.

8. One person in Arizona you’d like to have brunch with?

Michael Crow, the president of ASU. I do have the chance to work with him so I am fortunate in that sense but he’s a genius. He’s really a polymath of a genius who, as it turns out, is actually also a really nice guy. He may seem intimidating to some, but he’s funny and quirky but deeply interested in people and their lives. Oh, actually, speaking of Michaels, maybe Michael Phelps. But then I would have to bring my 8-year old nephew from NY. The kid can’t stop talking about Michael Phelps and how much he admires his super-freakish talent (as he puts it).

9. Tell us about your family (spouse, kids, pets, etc.)

It’s complicated : )