Culture & People

How We Lead: SK hynix executives explain the key to successful company culture

By May 28, 2020 June 11th, 2020 No Comments

Our industry is moving fast as we continue to develop products for the 4th industrial revolution. However, we know the importance in slowing down to take care of what matters most, our employees. Staying connected is becoming more and more imperative, and at SK hynix, we recognize this well.

We reached out to key executives at our overseas subsidiaries to talk about their leadership styles and the ways in which they cultivate, motivate and drive their teams forward. These employees from across SK hynix’s global network will share how they lead and why good leadership is important to create a positive company culture.


Paul Palonsky, VP of Sales, SK hynix America Inc.

Why SK hynix? “The reason I have stayed at SK hynix all these years is that I am always – still to this day – able to find new challenges. On top of it all, I have the pleasure of working with such a great group of people who are equally dedicated to creating successful outcomes for the company and our customers.

What does success look like on your team? “As one of the world’s leading semiconductor companies, we have many partners with which we develop advanced technologies. We must contribute to win-win collaborations in order to enhance semiconductors along with technology trends that continue to define the industry.”

What are you proudest of? “I am very proud of the sales team we have built at SK hynix America, where we have a great group of professionals who are driven to succeed and to innovate our business. We have redefined the sales role from that of a salesperson solely responsible for generating revenue, to a more comprehensive account management role.”

What do you look for in an employee? “When I recruit salespeople myself, I try not to have a preconceived notion of a minimum skill set. Rather, I look for people who have the ability to solve problems and can find ways to succeed by overcoming obstacles and objections.”

What’s next? “We’re working to improve the ways in which we communicate with our customers and how we reflect the voice of the market in our business.


Natalia Ryzhenkova, Head of SKHMS Eastern Europe

Why SK hynix? “I love that I’m encouraged to try new things out, overcome challenges and grow professionally. I love talented and dedicated people I work with. And I take my position above all as a great responsibility.”

What are you proudest of? “For more than 5 years of working for the company we have managed to create not just working relationships, but friendly relationships, based on honesty, trust and mutual respect.”

What makes a productive team?Every person wants to be appreciated, acknowledged and rewarded. And we try to create a corporate culture where every member feels that his/her contribution is valued. We also pay much attention and care to our member’s health and implement the philosophy of wellbeing. All this encourages every team member to play his/her important role in the continued success of the company.

What does success look like on your team?“In order to have good results we need to be one team all over the world. Our teamwork and a spirit of achievement will help us accomplish our most important goals.”


Tim Schafer, Vice President of the Enterprise SSD Firmware Team at SK hynix memory solutions (SKHMS) America Inc.

Why Solid-State Drives (SSD)? “I could tell it would become one of those technologies that would totally disrupt the compute and storage industries.”

Why SK hynix? “One of the big reasons I joined SK hynix is that I am always interested in learning new things. My role here makes it my job to do just that – and to lead a team into a relatively new area for the company.”

What’s the role of your team? “In enterprise SSDs, the firmware team is a key part of the entire product life cycle: from working the SoC team on the definition and validation of the next-gen SSD controller, partnering with planning and marketing teams on design-win and design-in implementation with our customers, and all the way to sustaining our products and customers past the product end-of-life (EOL). Everyone in the business is counting on us and a collaborative approach is paramount.”

What does success look like on your team? “Most of the customers and innovation for Enterprise SSDs are here in the U.S and having a fantastic firmware team here in San Jose is critical to our business. Ultimately, we want to be viewed by our customers as great partners and they want to work with us on the leading edge of SSD innovation. And yes, we will have a lot of fun along the way!”

What’s next? “I’m very proud of what the team has accomplished and can’t wait to see the continued growth over the next several years! It’s great to see them learn, grow, and be wildly successful along the way on our journey together.”


Leadership Matters

We believe that good leadership is an important quality that our executives display. It not only helps to create an empowering corporate culture for our employees but carries over and reflects back positively on our relationships with customers and partners.

In order to match the dynamic industry we’re in, we need to ensure that our leaders are just as dynamic and flexible to create an environment for our employees to thrive. We will keep pushing ourselves to be at the forefront of not only the next-generation technology we deliver but the growth and development of our colleagues.