Q&A with TOMODACHI Program Participants and TOMODACHI Alumni: Ayaha Kanno
In this interview, we talk with Ayaha Kanno, alumna of the TOMODACHI Summer 2017 SoftBank Leadership Program and several other TOMODACHI programs. She also served as a 2019 TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Leader, Tohoku-Hokkaido Region.
Q1: What have you been doing recently?
A: I started college in April, but due to the coronavirus (COVID-19)outbreak, I’m attending classes online. I’m also working hard to study English!
Q2: What activities did you participate in through the TOMODACHI Alumni Program?
I served as one of the TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Leaders of the Tohoku-Hokkaido Region, where I organized two events. The first one focused on the issue of food safety from the angle of farmers, local government officials, and our peers. The second was an event supported by Calbee, Inc. to come up with new product ideas that highlighted the needs and interests of communities in Fukushima. I also participated in the TOMODACHI KaoLINK Fukushima Rebranding Program to learn about how scent and emotions are closely linked and ways they can help bolster Fukushima communities, and the TOMODACHI Generation Global Leadership Academy to learn about civic engagement and global leadership.
Q3: What was the most challenging part of your TOMODACHI program?
The most challenging parts were the group discussions, as we had to consolidate many different opinions into a team consensus. In the first week, I tried to keep my distance from my team members, especially those who strongly expressed their opinions. But I soon learned that everyone has different views, so I tried to accept those with other ideas. I would not have been able to learn this without going through this challenging time.
Q4: Why were you interested in participating in so many TOMODACHI programs?
The biggest reason was so I could meet other alumni and people involved in the program, and learn new things. There were many alumni who served as Regional Leaders under the TOMODACHI RISE Leadership Program, so I was able to learn what they were working on. Though I participated in many alumni programs, I always felt that I gained so much, but hadn’t really given back. I saw an opportunity to utilize my previous experiences and combine what I learned through the many TOMODACHI programs I took part in during my high school years. That’s why I decided to apply to become a Regional Leader and give back to my region.
Q5: What are your future goals?
I haven’t exactly decided yet, but I’m interested in CSR activities and program coordinating. Thanks to my experiences planning and organizing events, I would like to challenge myself with further events. I’m interested in trying product planning, too.
Q6: What does leadership mean to you?
I’m still not sure if this is the correct answer regarding leadership or being a leader, but I believe those who can naturally build trust, take action, and create what society needs are leaders.
Q7: What does your TOMODACHI program mean to you?
Potential. In the TOMODACHI community, when you want to take action, you’re able to connect with others and find role models. Because of this, I think TOMODACHI is the embodiment of potential.
As Singapore has restarted importing previously banned foods from Fukushima, Singapore TV featured Ayaha Kanno in her role as the Regional Leader of the Tohoku-Hokkaido Region, under the TOMODACHI RISE Alumni Leadership Program, focusing on issues related to food in Fukushima.
Ayaha commented, “I was nervous to be featured as a main speaker. But I hope that my efforts as a Regional Leader can be shared not only with the people of Japan, but also with audiences abroad and make an impact.” Please watch her segment at the URL below:
Singapore TV 8 world (Chinese only)