Q&A with TOMODACHI Program Participants and TOMODACHI Alumni: Danielle Reed
For this interview, we spoke with Danielle Reed, alumna of the 2018 TOMODACHI Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program.
Ms. Reed experienced life in the Tohoku area during her JET program, in the difficult period after the Great East Japan Earthquake. She worked in communities greatly impacted by the disaster and connected with the TOMODACHI Initiative, later attending a TOMODACHI program herself.
Q1: What have you been doing recently?
In November 2019, I started my own consulting company PinPath, LLC with the goal of developing programs to create experiences that empower current and future global stewards to imagine and enact uniquely human solutions to uniquely human problems.
Q2: What has been the most memorable moment in your involvement with TOMODACHI? Please share your story with us.
There are a lot of memorable moments, but I was most impacted by the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Tohoku area. Over the years I was able to visit the area a few times to see friends, but through TOMODACHI, I was able to learn much more specifically about the recovery process from officials like the Mayor of Onagawa, Yoshiaki Suda, representatives from Tohoku Electric, and entrepreneurs like Gota Matsumura working on Ishinomaki 2.0. I was very moved by their efforts to not only rebuild, but to help their communities thrive through dedicated leadership in action. I was also struck by how much still needed to be done to stimulate the local economy seven years after the disaster.
Q3: What does leadership mean to you?
A leader needs to inspire individuals to work together to pursue a vision. They need to have the knowledge to effectively manage resources and create strong teams with the necessary skill sets to achieve their goals. In addition, leaders are change-makers. Without change makers pursuing solutions to the very real and increasingly imminent challenges we have, progress will not happen.
Q4: Could you tell us what you learned from your TOMODACHI program?
Through TOMODACHI I was able to see first-hand how much impact entrepreneurs and leaders with the entrepreneurial spirit can have in communities devastated by a disaster. I also learned a lot from my fellow American and Japanese participants many of whom founded their own companies, or non-profits. They are driven, passionate people who felt strongly about developing their global leadership abilities and affecting positive change in the world through their work.
Q5: What does TOMODACHI mean to you?
TOMODACHI to me means hope. TOMODACHI acted in the face of a terrible disaster to support the long-term growth of those young people who were affected. Its focus grew and evolved quickly to include future leaders in the U.S.-Japan relationship and also in local US and Japanese communities.
Q6: Please tell us your future goal or dreams
My dream is to live in a world in which everyone can interact successfully and respectfully with others and take responsible action toward sustainability, collective well-being, and higher quality of life for all.