Mosaic Senior Program Manager, Vin Ko, featured in St. Louis Business Journal

Life in Balance: Vin Ko finds being out on the field is the best way to relax

Vin Ko’s family history and hometown roots fuel both his passion for work and play. Ko is the son of Chinese immigrants and grew up in St. Louis before moving to California for college. He worked first in state politics and then in fundraising before moving back to St. Louis and becoming the senior program manager for the St. Louis Mosaic Project. Much of Ko’s job focuses on creating an inclusive community for immigrants in St. Louis. He continues to pursue this goal outside of work as a member of both the Asian and African chambers of commerce. Ko brings his commitment to work home with him. Ko helped start St. Louis Pick-Up Soccer and plays the sport with a large, diverse group of people and enjoys trying various international restaurants arounds the city.


What does your daily routine look like? If I have an early morning meeting, I’ll wake up around 6 a.m. Even while I am still in bed, I read the Business Journal, STLToday, CNN and St. Louis Public Radio just to know what’s going on and get my bearings. Then I will jump into the shower and head into the office. The cool thing about my day is that it really varies. I could be meeting with 14 area universities or colleges, or I could be meeting with a small business owner looking to connect to funding and resources or meeting with an immigrant professional looking to connect to a job. Typically after work, I love to cook, so I will usually cook a quick dinner, and then typically I have a soccer game.

What do you do to de-stress? When I moved back to the St. Louis area, I started a nonprofit called St. Louis Pick Up Soccer, which organizes soccer games all over the region. We started with an email list of about 40 people, but we’ve grown to over 5,000 and play practically every day of the year. It built this really cool community of not just ethnically diverse people, but also socioeconomic. We have local executives playing with newcomers to St. Louis, students, artists and engineers. For me, that’s a real way to de-stress and relax — to be out on the field and play as much as possible.

How involved are you in St. Louis’ soccer scene? I play at least three times a week. I also participate in an indoor league because the level of competition is higher than pick-up soccer. At the end of the day, pick-up soccer is whoever shows up, so you can’t be mad if you are playing with people who have never played before. Other than that, I also coach the Wash U women’s club soccer team during the fall.

What other parts of the community are you involved in beyond soccer? My partner does roller derby, so I go to her games and watch her play. Her travel team is actually No. 5 in the world for roller derby. If I am not on the soccer field, you can usually see me at a roller derby game. Or, I am eating at the various international restaurants in St. Louis. Me, my co-workers, and friends all really enjoy this restaurant “Cate Zone” on Olive Boulevard. 


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