Over 140 Program Participants and Guests Unite for the 2018-2019 TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program Annual Conference in Tokyo
On May 26, 2019, the TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program (TMWLP) participants from Sapporo, Tokyo, Osaka, and Naha gathered in Tokyo for the program’s capstone annual conference. Under the theme of “Own Your Life, Design Your Future,” the conference brought together over 140 people, including program mentors and mentees, USJC representatives, MetLife leaders, and U.S. Embassy representatives. This year marked the sixth anniversary of the program, in which 538 women have taken part since 2013.
The conference kicked off with an interactive session on global leadership, led by Janelle Sasaki, Director, EY Japan, Gender Brand, Marketing and Communications, Women Athletes Business Network（WABN）Japan Area Leader.
Joy Sakurai, Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate Fukuoka, shared the story of how the program was born under her leadership. Ms. Sakurai also reminded the participants the importance of challenging one’s self, and “getting your shoes dirty.”
Three student groups then delivered their presentations on the future of leadership and the kinds of leaders they hope to become. Inspired by the U.S. trip, the winning group (Group 9) talked about the importance of shared responsibilities for couples and the role of work-life balance in having a successful career and finding fulfillment in life.
In her keynote address, Ms. Yumi Tomei, Former Olympian, Soccer; EY Women Athlete Business Network (WABN), drew on her soccer career, especially her struggles as a woman athlete and, later, as a business woman, and talked about the importance of learning from failures and finding your true passion.
The conference continued with a panel discussion on Moving Forward with Mentorship, led by Karen Kelley, Consul General, U.S. Consulate Osaka, where four accomplished professional women shared advice and their experiences. The panelists included Christina Ahmadjian, Professor in the Graduate School of Business Administration at Hitotsubashi University, Kathy Matsui, Vice Chair of Goldman Sachs Japan, Hikaru Nagano, a TMWLP Alumni Mentor, Osaka and Ms. Sasaki.
Elizabeth Handover, Lumina Learning Partner and President of Lumina Learning Japan, shared keys for relationship-building, before holding a discussion on successful networking with Megan Burke Roudebush, Founder, keepwith.
Summing up the program, Maho Kitano, 2018-2019 TMWLP mentee, said,“This program helped change me as a person and how I see and experience life. It helped me to discover more of who I am, and inspired me to be true to myself.”
Mr. Eric Clurfain, Chairman, President and CEO of MetLife Japan concluded the conference with a heart-felt congratulations to the participants, and reminded the audience that “everybody has something to bring to the table. Think about what your strength is, and be generous in offering it to others.”
Application information for the 2019-2020 TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program can be found here.