Students learn various leadership styles through TOMODACHI Sumitomo Scholars Spring Leadership Training program
From March 25 to 30, five TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program Scholars visited Washington, D.C. as part of their Spring Leadership Training program. (To view the Winter Leadership Training program, click here.) The program spans across New York City and Washington, D.C. and presents the scholars with opportunities to meet and engage with leaders from a variety of sectors. In New York, the scholars had an opportunity to meet with Mr. Shingo Ueno, General Manager for the Americas; President and CEO of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas Group; Director and President of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas.
Takara Inoue reflected his most memorable moment of training as followed; “the interview with the CEO changed the way I saw leadership. He told me that leadership was not about leading, and I came to understand leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives. During the training, I noticed that every scholarship member had a different leadership style. For example, some were affiliative leaders who promoted harmony among members and made us feel connected to each other, while others were democratic leaders who encouraged members to be more involved in the decision-making process. Throughout the training, we worked to help each other with the different strengths each of us possess.”
While in Washington, D.C., the scholars visited USJC headquarters to meet with President Irene Hirano Inouye. Scholars wanted to know about the history of the TOMODACHI Initiative, the role of the corporate sector in addressing social issues and what leadership look like to USJC. The discourse was lively with the students asking follow-up questions. They in turn answered some questions posed by Irene Hirano Inouye including what has been the most challenging about studying in the U.S. and what have they had to adapt to. While all the scholars faced some challenges in the U.S., they have really enjoyed the experience as well as improved their English skills.
Prior to that meeting, USJC created an opportunity for the scholars to meet local high schools students from Washington DC who are currently studying Japanese as part of the Japan Plus Language Program. Scholars formed small groups with the high schools students wherein they engaged in discussions in both Japanese and English. They found common ground on topics such as foreign language study, international study, and being a student in the United States. Both sides came away excited to continue developing the connections they made that day.
Sumitomo Scholars then had a chance to meet with USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye. That evening, the scholars were joined for dinner by a selection of DC area Young Professionals including USJC Associate members. The dinner is an informal opportunity to hear from professionals across various sectors about their career paths and experiences.