The U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference 2023: Empowering Future Leaders: TOMODACHI Voices join the USJC Vision at the 2023 Annual Conference in Washington DC
From November 8 to 10, 2023, the 2023 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference was held in Washington, DC. The U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference, a pivotal event in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations through people-to-people connections, welcomed over 500 attendees and was particularly illuminated by the engagement of 30 TOMODACHI alumni and participants representing a diverse range of programs, regions, careers, and interests.
On November 8, the TOMODACHI Workshop, “the Next Generation Launchpad” took place focusing on networking, mentorship, and cross-cultural collaboration. On November 9, five TOMODACHI alumni took the stage at the Closing Plenary to share their TOMODACHI experiences and stories of lasting impact on the topic of mentorship and cross-generational collaboration.
TOMODACHI Workshop, “Next Generation Launchpad,”attended by 30 TOMODACHI alumni and current participants,consisted of three parts in a workshop focusing on mentorship and networking, the twin pillars of professional growth and development.
The first part of the workshop focused on networking and shared tips and tricks as a prelude to the main day of the Conference where they would connect with other attendees at the Annual Conference. For the second part of the workshop, guest speaker Royanne Doi, former Board Chair of U.S.-Japan Council (Japan), spoke about Mentorship. For the third and final part of the workshop, the group answered the question “What keeps you up at night?” and broke up into groups to discuss potential solutions. It was a space where participants learned the intricacies of effective networking, learned the different styles and types of mentorship, and the importance of forging meaningful connections through shared experiences.
Closing Plenary Panel,“Cross-Generational Insights” was moderated by Laura Sheehan on November 9. This panel closed the entire Annual Conference by bringing the focus on the next generation, particularly on the role mentorship plays. The panel highlighted USJC and TOMODACHI alumni and brought together diverse voices: Yukina Chiba, Leona Iizuka, Eiko Tsukamoto, and Taiki Yamamoto. The panelists shared transformative experiences within different mentorship frameworks. This session effectively showcased how mentorship bridges generational gaps and cultural differences, fostering innovation and forward-thinking leadership.
Closing Plenary Speaker, You Sato’s speech was a testament to the life-changing impact of the TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training program. She recounted a harrowing incident where she applied her training to assist in a car accident, embodying the program’s teachings on self-care and emergency response. Her story underlined the importance of practical skills and emotional intelligence in nursing, highlighting how her connections and experiences through TOMODACHI enriched her professional journey and personal growth.
The TOMODACHI speakers at the 2023 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference showcased real-world applications of leadership, mentorship, and cross-cultural collaboration. The personal stories of growth, challenges, and triumphs presented by the speakers and panelists illustrated the profound impact of the TOMODACHI Initiative in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations and empowering individuals to become agents of change in their communities.
The Next Generation Launchpad and the Closing Plenary Speakers are supported as part of the TOMODACHI Alumni Leadership Program that has been generously supported by Prudential since 2014.