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David Yoo of GenBody America On The 5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry

An Interview With Luke Kervin

The global health and wellness market is worth more than 1.5 trillion dollars. So many people are looking to improve their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. At the same time, so many people are needed to help provide these services. What does it take to create a highly successful career in the health and wellness industry?

In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry” we are talking to health and wellness professionals who can share insights and stories from their experiences.

In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing David Yoo.

David Yoo is the Founder and the CEO of GenBody America, a leading South Korean manufacturer of rapid diagnostic tests and reagents for point of care applications for COVID-19 and other diseases. He is also the Founder and CEO for Pingo Solar, a leading residential and commercial solar company, and is a licensed contractor in the State of California in roofing, electrical and solar. David graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Economics in 2004.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you grew up?

I was pre-med in high school, but I never thought I would be in the health business. But when the pandemic started, I felt that I had to take a stand and do something about it. I realized this pandemic was something that would not only affect the present, but it would have lasting future implications for my twin daughters who are only 6 years old. Looking around for answers and solutions, it led me to South Korea. In Korea, they were managing the pandemic well, there was a wealth of experience, and a lot of technology was developed there, so I realized very few individuals in the United States were putting it all together and it led me to start GenBody America.

Was there a particular person or event that inspired you to live a wellness-focused lifestyle? Can you tell us about your main motivation to go all in?

The event was the pandemic and how it related to my children. In all honesty, I’m a bit old school. My idea of being a good father is to work hard and provide for my family. With the pandemic, just providing financially was insufficient. As I stated earlier, I realized that something had to be done about the pandemic itself. We are not the answer to all the problems, but we are definitely one piece in getting a handle on how to move forward and get back to normalcy. That piece I believe has to do with the ability for people to test and to test regularly. This will allow people to be in the know versus being in the dark. No one was going to make testing widely available and that’s when I realized I had to do something about it. I started the company literally on March 28, 2020, and sent a team to South Korea shortly thereafter, and a year later we have FDA Emergency Use Authorization.

Most people with a wellbeing centered lifestyle have a “go-to” activity, exercise, beverage, or food that is part of their routine. What is yours and can you tell us how it helps you?

This interview is more personal than I expected, not that this was your intention. I shared about my children as to why I got into this specific business, but this question hits home as I haven’t done the best in taking care of myself. Being a workaholic, my own health hasn’t been a priority, so what does having daily COVID testing available matter? But in answer to your question, as I get older, I find myself seeking more simple foods with more natural ingredients and wanting to just eat at home versus eating out. This helps both for my health and the time it gives me with my family.

Can you share a story about the biggest challenges you faced when you were first starting? How did you resolve that? What are the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

People didn’t realize what COVID was all about. We reached out to consultants who claimed to know the virus, COVID-19 testing, and how to detect SARS-COV-2. The deeper we dug in, the more questions we had. We realized that no one had any experience with this virus, and that realization gave us the sense that we had to learn this ourselves. We built a task force and started reaching out to diagnostics companies outside the United States. Our search led us to South Korea, which had been preparing for this kind of pandemic for 12 years. The best prepared nations had dealt with mini pandemics. The regulations continue to change as the science evolves, so we had to keep up with those changes to make accurate decisions on the fly. And in order for us to bring the product to market, as a grown man, I’ve never cried as much as I did last year. Navigating the regulations, requirements, and demands was frightening, difficult, and a tough time. The grit and the resolve to see it through were the most important lessons I learned.

Can you share a story about the biggest challenges you faced when you were first starting? How did you resolve that? What are the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Watching your savings account dwindle toward zero and looking at your wife and telling her it’s going to work out.

Can you share with us how the work you are doing is helping to make a bigger impact in the world? Can you share a story that illustrates that?

There are two types of COVID tests available. A PCR test is a lab-based test and the typical response time is 24–48 hours and it’s highly accurate. The other is a rapid test, like a pregnancy test. We didn’t think PCR tests would save the day. The world market for these types of tests focused on low-cost and rapid and that’s what we decided to focus on. Our vision was that we were going to make rapid diagnostic tests available in the United States and we connected with GenBody Inc. in South Korea. Being able to produce a large number of tests at a very low cost at the speed we’re able to will allow for increased testing. Rapid tests detect acute viral infectivity the best. PCR tests are highly sensitive, but we’ve seen cases where someone has recovered but are still coming up positive. PCR tests even amplify dead DNA. Rapid tests are good at detecting acute infectivity so people who are shedding virus during their peak infectious period show up on rapid tests. Rapid tests are important for speed, cost, and as a mass diagnostic tool. For reopening the country, it’s the only option. You’re trying to screen out the most infectious people.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

We just started clinical trials for over-the-counter tests, if that’s successful, we’ll have OTC test kits available by the end of the year or early next year. We’re currently validating our Jurupa Valley, California, factory for Point of Care test kits, we hope to be up and running by the end of the year, and the throughput will be 300,000 test kits per day.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

The most important aspect of the way I see it is determination and grit. Ninety-nine percent of people who start something quit. If you have the determination to see it through, that’s very important. I heard a story about runners trying to break the 4-minute mile. Once the first person did it, everyone was breaking the 4-minute mile because they now knew it was possible. Being curious is another. I look at everything from the ground up rather than relying on expert feedback. Everyone tells you why something isn’t possible. Being curious is an important trait for successful leaders because you ask what is possible. And the third, maintain a positive outlook on life.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. Wellness is an incredibly broad topic. How would you define the term “Wellness”? Can you explain what you mean?

Being able to have the freedom to do the things you want to do, to go back to doing the things you did pre-COVID, freedom to go outside again and meet with friends, go to concerts, etc.

As an expert, this might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons with our readers about why focusing on our wellness should be a priority in our lives?

I come at this question from the COVID-19 angle, it’s still a disease where we’re still trying to figure out the science and the long-term effects — getting the vaccine and supplementing the vaccine with testing are critical. We’re entering a post-COVID world, if you think about life or nation-changing trajectories, what is this conversation today? We are realizing pandemics are going to be a part of life. For health and wellness, the focus is going to be vaccinations and testing for the foreseeable future.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increasingly growing understanding of the necessity for companies to be mindful of the wellness of their employees. For the sake of inspiring others, can you share steps or initiatives that companies have taken to help improve or optimize their employees’ mental and physical wellness?

Early in the pandemic, the country was frozen with fear. It’s about empowering your employees to be safe and maintain their health. It will be a combination of vaccinations or giving your employees choice through testing.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

I am new to the healthcare industry, and I don’t know all the answers. COVID caused a lot of disruption to supply lines, diagnostics, and companies…

  1. Have an open mind because things that were believed to be true are no longer truths.
  2. Experimentation is very important. You must be able to experiment and take on new challenges.
  3. Grit. If someone hands you the responsibility you should have the grit to see it through.
  4. When I worked for Samsung, one of the things they stood for was speed, doing things quickly, so being able to do things quickly is an important trait.
  5. Smile. Be happy. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Having a positive outlook on life, having the ability to change yourself incrementally is very important.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would promote the most wellness to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Humans are malleable. There’s nothing stopping us. You’re only limited by your mindset, by your mind. To promote the most wellness to the greatest number of people, it’s important to believe it’s possible, possible to change your circumstances, possible to get healthy — it’s possible. If I was to start a movement it would be about hope. I came from a poor background, homeless at one point, but I was able to go to school at the University of California, Berkeley, and have a successful career. The most important thing for me was hope. To change my circumstances, I had to change my thinking. There’s hope for the future and you can do the impossible if you think it’s possible. We’ve overcome a lot of adversity in this country and sometimes we feel defeated, but I think we’re headed in the right direction. If we believe that, we can move forward.

How can our readers further follow your work online?


This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!



In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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