The 2021-2022 TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program (TMWLP) Annual Conference
The 2021-2022 TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program (TMWLP) Annual Conference was held on May 21st and 22nd virtually. This two-day conference, Own Your Life, Design Your Future consisted of leadership workshops, amazing presentations, speeches, panels, group networking, and more. There was a broad range of audiences participating in this conference from the mentors and mentees of the program to USJC members, MetLife Japan, U.S. Embassy, and our guest speakers.
Day 1 of the conference kicked off with four interactive workshops: Global Leadership led by Janelle Sasaki from EY, Financial Literacy led by Yuki Miyake from MetLife Japan, Elizabeth Handover and MaryAnne Jorgensen from Lumina Learning spoke on “Reaching Out: Staying Connected Through Connection”, ending with our TOMODACHI Alumni, Yukari Shishido, Momoko Tajima, Maho Kitano, and Yumiko Kurii gave a presentation about maintaining the relationship between the alumni community as well as the unbreakable bond between the mentor-mentee relationship.
On the second and final day of the conference, our host and emcee by Junko Tsuda, the Executive Director of the U.S. Japan Council welcomed our valuable guests from MetLife Japan, U.S. Embassy and Consulate Offices, guest speakers, participants, and U.S.-Japan Council members. Susanne Basalla, President and CEO of the U.S.-Japan Council, Shannon Dorsey, Cultural and Educational Attaché from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, and Tamami Kaneko, a TMWLP mentee delivered warm welcomes, preparing participants for the subsequent day of the Annual Conference.
Our Keynote presenter was Vanessa Oshima, founder of Heart-Data Inc. presented on Unlocking Your Brand Ikigai. She shared her personal experiences as a cancer survivor, and running every single day no matter the weather, inspired and empowered the participants. Our panel session included two U.S. Japan Council members Aya Kameda, Shell Energy Japan & Yoko Otani, Straterix, Inc., Paul Miles from MetLife Japan, and Kei Takatsuka from Harvard Business School. The discussion was moderated by the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane, Laos, Joy Sakurai. With her clear and concise delivery as well as her reactiveness throughout the panel discussion, the panelists were able to have a lively discussion regarding the future of Japan’s career women.
A highlight of the conference was the presentations of the top 3 groups presenting their ideas of what the future world will be like and what type of leader is needed. All teams inspired us and the winner was announced in a close victory. As we neared the conclusion of the conference, 4 leaders, Sachiko Izumi, MetLife Japan, Paul Miles, MetLife Japan, Joy Sakurai, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, Laos, and Vanessa Oshima, Heart-Data, Inc. hosted a group networking session of Leading with Passion and Purpose.
The Chairman, President and CEO of MetLife Japan, Dirk Ostijn concluded the conference by congratulating the mentors and mentees for the completion of the program. He noted to the mentees that they are the next generation of female leaders of the future. Mentioning how MetLife Japan aims to build a confident and sustainable future, he emphasized saying that the TMWLP influenced the world for the better and that it is a great program to enhance one’s skills and build a network.