Students Gathered Virtually for TOMODACHI – U.S. Embassy Go for Gold Sports Leadership Program
Virtual Orientation on January 21, 2023
The second of three virtual Orientation calls was held on Saturday, January 21 for the ten delegates of the inaugural TOMODACHI – U.S. Embassy Go for Gold Sports Leadership Program. Opening remarks were made by Junko Tsuda, Executive Director (Japan) as the program continues to build momentum for their February 26 departure to the United States. Two sports-related panel discussions were the focus of this call.
Panel 1: POWER OF SPORTS: Differences between Japan and the United States
Janelle Reiko Sasaki, EY Global Director, C Suite & Board Advisor, Mentor to Olympians & Paralympians served as moderator with panelists, Tom Byer World-renowned Coach & International consultant, Founder – ‘Soccer Starts at Home’and Jon Omori, former U.S. Olympian based in Tokyo creating Olympic Host Town legacy events in Japan.
Tom talked about how learning soccer skills at an early age with parental encouragement is essential to the child’s development not only for the sport but is currently being studied by leading academic institutions for its proven benefits applicable to educational development. Jon talked about his success in Japan merging sports with local culture with halo benefits in his mid and long-term commitment to strengthen the connections between the US and Japan via sports cultural and commercial exchanges leading up to and beyond the Olympic & Paralympic Games in Los Angeles 2028. Janelle (moderator) leads the strategy and initiatives of EY Global Women Athletes Business Network (WABN) for women athletes and entrepreneurs. She is passionate about addressing the needs of businesses to find diverse talent and women athletes on realizing their leadership potential in the business world.
Panel 2: Building the Next Generation in Sports Leadership: Education & Youth Development in Sports
Dr. Daichi Oshimi, Associate Professor, School of Physical Education – Tokai University led the panel as moderator with panelists, Shintaro Sato, Associate Professor, Faculty of Sports Sciences – Waseda University and Kaoru Nakazawa, PR Manager – Nippon Foundation Parasport Support Center. Dr. Sato talked about how sporting events have positive impacts (economic, cultural, and environmental) on the host communities. Using the Rugby World Cup 2019 (RWC 2019) as the example, his studies revealed that these events encouraged residents to have “hope for the future.” Such a positive feeling can enhance happiness among the residents in the host communities. Fulbright scholar Kaoru Nakazawa talked about her path to the sports business in Japan and America now expanding across Asia. Kaoru is committed to empowering and increasing understanding about Paralympic athletes. She is also promoting the 2023 FIBA World Cup hosted by Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia while balancing her career and life as a mother of two small children.
Dr. Oshimi, with expertise in the socio-economic aspects of sport is one of two program mentors along with Dr. Munehiko Harada, is the mentor who will travel with the group of delegates to the United States.
Please watch the orientation video here.
Virtual Orientation on December 17, 2022
Ten delegates of the inaugural TOMODACHI – U.S. Embassy Go for Gold Sports Leadership Program met virtually for the first time on Saturday, December 17.
Three online orientation seminars are planned in preparation for their trip to the United States. Junko Tsuda, Executive Director (Japan) – U.S.-Japan Council and Philip Roskamp – Public Affairs Officer – U.S. Embassy Tokyo made the opening remarks.
Other participants included program mentors, Dr. Munehiko Harada, President – Osaka University of Health & Sport Sciences and Dr. Daichi Oshimi, Associate Professor, School of Physical Education – Tokai University, and representatives from the LA84 Foundation, a nationally recognized leader supporting youth sports development, and LeadOff Sports, a professional sports agency headquartered in New York City.
Dr. Oshimi was the first speaker providing an overview of the current Sports Management situation in Japan, focusing mainly on Facility Management and Creating Lasting Impact of sports events in Japan. He is the mentor who will lead and accompany the group of delegates to the United States.
Marcia Suzuki, CFO – LA84 Foundation, focused on Legacy Building, Facility Management in Los Angeles, their role supporting the 2028 Olympic Games, and long- term commitment to elevate Youth Sports as an integral part of American life. LA84 Foundation is the program partner in Los Angeles.
Court Honda, Business Development Associate – LeadOff Sports talked about representing professional Japanese athletes in the United States and how they generate incremental revenue streams for clients through collaborative agreements with Japanese and American corporations. LeadOff Sports is the program’s partner in New York. Dr. Harada spoke about the rapidly growing interest in Sports Tourism and as Chairman– Japan Sport Tourism Alliance what they are doing to influence/lead the future direction of Sports Tourism across Japan.
The TOMODACHI – U.S. Embassy Go for Gold Sports Leadership Program is designed to inspire next generation leaders through the Power of Sport by exposing Japanese college students to the sports business in America, spending one week each in Los Angeles and New York. Upon their return, participants are encouraged use the knowledge acquired to advance the global sports industry, further strengthening
economic growth in Japan.
For more information about this exciting new program, please see here.