tomocareertalks (1)
 The Name. 
TOMOKIN Career Talks is a casual gathering for the TOMODACHI alumni community to come together and connect across industries, regions, and interests. It derives its name from a combination of words “TOMODACHI” and “kinship”.
Our Aim.

The aim is to create a casual space for connection and inspiration for the TOMODACHI Generation, our next generation of leaders. We do this in two ways: 

1) Career Talks iinvites a guest speaker from the community to talk about their career journey. It helps the alumni to be more informed about various careers, advice, and life lessons from these speakers, and gain the confidence to pursue their dreams.
2) Specially curated networking sessions allow the alumni to feel connected with each other in a more casual setting making it easier for everyone to take part. 
Guest Speakers. 

Our guest speakers take the spotlight for 20mins and provide a brief overview of their current role, share stories and lessons learned from their career journey, either in a presentation style (with or without slides) or in a fireside chat style, and provide advice for our alumni as they take the next step in their own careers. We then open it up for Q&A afterwards. Interpretations will not be provided, but the talk will be in their language of choice. 

History.
The event began as a response to a TOMODACHI Alumni Survey conducted in 2021 to connect with other alumni in a more casual setting. Therefore, begun during the pandemic, it started as a one-hour virtual session, divided into two sections with the first half being conducted in English and the other in Japanese to accommodate alumni interested in furthering their engagement and knowledge in both languages. Since July 2022, the event has been conducted in-person and will be held seasonally going forward.

Since 2022, we have combined this event with our Career Talks series and have invited many U.S.-Japan Council staff members, USJC members, and TOMODACHI supporters from our community to speak with our alumni about their career journeys.

Why Omusubi. 
We work with Miki Yamada, rice farmer and omusubi caterer from Fukushima, whose family rice farm was impacted by the triple disaster of 3.11. When it became difficult to sell her family’s rice – even after safety measures were met – she decided to take creative action. Believing that the true importance of life was to have connection with others, she sought to create omusubis that “musubu” (tie together) people in order to create something meaningful and everlasting together. The TOMODACHI Initiative began in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and we continue to value the connections with Tohoku and our roots in all areas of our programming.
Any questions, please contact: alumni@usjapancouncil.org.

 

Past TOMO-KIN Events

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TOMO-KIN fall (October 2023)

On October 5th, the TOMO-KIN Career Talks, a pivotal part of the TOMODACHI Alumni Leadership Program, lit up WeWork Hibiya Fort Tower with the energy and aspirations of its attendees. Supported generously by Prudential, the event turned out to be an enlightening experience, particularly due to our esteemed guest speaker, Mr. Ryo Akima, President of Apple Japan Inc.
As the doors opened, the room quickly filled with anticipation. The event kicked off with warm welcomes and insightful opening remarks by USJC’s Mark Ikeno, setting the stage for Mr. Akima.Mr. Akima, who has been at the heart of Apple Japan for 21 years, shared his journey and the transformative products he helped introduce to the Japanese market. Yet, it was his inspirational words that left an indelible mark on everyone present. >Read more

 

TOMO-KIN Summer 2023 Group Photo
TOMO-KIN Summer (May 2023)

On May 31, TOMO-KIN Summer 2023 took place in Tokyo, with over 30 TOMODACHI alumni and Watanabe Scholars in attendance. Mark Ikeno, the Executive Director at the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan), shared his experience and tips for building a global career during his Keynote. As the G7 Summit was held this month, the omusubi (rice balls) prepared were G7-themed for globally-minded TOMODACHI alumni.

 

 

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TOMO-KIN Spring (March 2023)

On March 19th, over 30 TOMODACHI alumni and Watanabe Scholars gathered at a casual gathering called TOMO-KIN in Tokyo. Masataka Fukuda, Corporate Vice President at Prudential Gibraltar Financial Life Insurance, attended as a guest and made Welcome Remarks. He mentioned in his remarks that “as in the business world, sometimes continuing is more difficult than starting something new. This is because continuing is not simply a matter of doing the same thing but also of responding to changes in the environment in a timely and appropriate manner, creating new value as needed, and gaining recognition for that value from customers. I believe that the Alumni Program has continued to be valuable in this way because of the wonderful updates from people like you who have served as Regional Representatives in the past.”

Alumni from various programs and industries got to know each other through speed dating-style networking, a fun raffle, and some omusubis and light refreshments that signified U.S.-Japan relations. This TOMO-KIN was extra special as the 2023 Japan-based Regional Representatives were able to attend, bringing special treats from their regions across Japan. De’Jia Long-Hillie, the Regional Representative of the Kansai Region commented that she felt a greater sense of community by meeting lots of alumni and would like to create a similar gathering in her region as well.

Prudential has been generously supporting us since 2014, and this is the 10th year of their support of the TOMODACHI Alumni Leadership Program.

 

Web Alumni page (2)TOMO-KIN December 2022
On December 1st, a casual gathering for TOMODACHI alumni called TOMO-KIN was held in Tokyo. Over 30 TOMODACHI alumni attended, representing various TOMODACHI programs and industries. The event consisted of speed dating style networking, a fun raffle and light refreshments expressing U.S-Japan relations. Over the last years, some of the TOMODACHI programs took place 100% online due to the pandemic so this event was an opportunity for those to meet with alumni from different TOMODACHI programs. The participants enjoyed inspiring each other to take the next step forward for the coming year, omusubi (rice balls) that contain symbols of both the U.S. and Japan, and a raffle to win TOMODACHI goods. They wrapped up 2022 together and hoped to meet at the next TOMO-KIN and other opportunities for TOMODACHI alumni.

 

 

 Gray & White Wedding Photo Frame Instagram PostTOMO-KIN July 2022

On July 9, 2022, the very first hybrid TOMO-KIN was held at the WeWork Iceberg Building in the popular Harajuku Area of Tokyo. Nearly 20 alumni gathered who represented various industries like education, design, tech, nonprofit, and media; and were reconnected with alumni from other locations online. They shared their roles and goals at each organization and inspired one another to keep being an active leader in their respective fields. >Read more

 

 

 

 

 

画像1TOMO-KIN June 2022

Session #13

Theme: Diversity in Media (English)

2022 First Half Reflection (Japanese)

Facilitator: Haruka Nakajima

 

 

 

 

2TOMO-KIN May 2022

Session #12

Theme: Game Night

Facilitator: Honoka Kumazawa

 

 

 

 

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TOMO-KIN April 2022

Session #11

Theme: Cherry Blossom Viewing and Environmental Conservation

Facilitator: Honoka Kumazawa

 

 

 

 

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TOMO-KIN March 2022

Session #10

Theme: The Age of Adulthood Changing

Facilitator: Maho Suzuki

 

 

 

 

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TOMO-KIN February 2022

Session #9

Theme: Valentine’s Day Memories & Spring Break Goals

Facilitator: Maho Suzuki

 

 

 

 

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TOMO-KIN December 2021

Session #8

Theme: Looking back on 2021

Facilitator: Maho Suzuki

 

 

 

 

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TOMO-KIN November 2021

Session #7

Theme: Self-Care

Facilitator: Momoko Tajima

 

 

 

 

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TOMO-KIN October 2021

Session #6

Theme: Your major and Career

Facilitator: Maho Suzuki

 

 

 

 

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TOMO-KIN September 2021

Session #5

Theme: Traveling

Facilitator: Momoko Tajima

 

 

 

 

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TOMO-KIN Augst 2021

Session #4

Theme: Favorite Books

Facilitator: Maho Suzuki

 

 

 

 

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TOMO-KIN July 2021

Session #3

Theme: Cross-Cultural Experience

Facilitator: Momoko Tajima

 

 

 

 

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TOMO-KIN June 2021

Session #2

Theme: News

Facilitator: Maho Suzuki

 

 

 

 

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TOMO-KIN May 2021

Session #1

Theme: Let’s Talk in English

Facilitator: Kaoru Utada, Yukari Shishido

 

 

 

 

Past TOMODACHI Career Talks

Starting in August 2021, we have invited many U.S.-Japan Council staff members, USJC members, and TOMODACHI supporters from our community to speak with our alumni about their career journeys.

Speakers take the spotlight for 30mins and provide a brief overview of their current role, share stories and lessons learned from their career journey, either in a presentation style (with or without slides) or in a fireside chat style, and provide advice for our alumni as they take the next step in their own careers. We then open it up for Q&A for the remaining time. Interpretations will not be provided, but the event will be marketed in their language of choice.

The aim is for the TOMODACHI Generation –  the next generation of leaders – to feel more informed about various careers and life lessons and gain the confidence to pursue their dreams. We also hope they will be able to understand the importance of giving back to the community and the people committed to this community.

Past Speakers

IMG_0503Session 11:August 16, 2022

Chieko Tashiro

Chieko Tashiro is the Marketing Communications Manager for U.S.-Japan Council – Japan. She talked about how she started her career as an editor and moved into marketing communications. She shared his experiences of personal character elements being transformed through the environment. She encouraged the young generation there will be learning from all experiences. Read More>>

 

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Session 10:July 19, 2022

Sayummi Koizumi

Sayumi Koizumi is the PR Manager at Prudential Life Insurance. She is one of the youngest employees to be promoted to manager at the age of 28. She shared her tips to work with people with longer experiences and how she overcame challenges associated with diverse departments that she worked in previously. Read More>>

 

 

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Session 9:June 21, 2022

Curtiss Takeda Rooks

Curtiss Takada Rooks is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, Loyola Marymount University. In relation to Juneteenth, he shared how he built his career in the field of Asian and Asian American studies and his advice regarding identity, community building, and community engagement, especially for minorities. Read More>>

 

 

画像3Session 8: May 17, 2022

Lauren Matsumoto

Lauren Matsumoto is Membership Engagement and Regional Coordinator at U.S.-Japan Council. She shared her leadership journey at the University of California San Diego’s Nikkei Student Union and student leader for the San Diego Chapter of the Japanese American Citizen League, as well as how she utilizes her experiences in her current role at USJC. Read More>>

 

 

画像4Session 7: April 19, 2022

Mio Yamamoto

Mio Yamamoto is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of World In You (formerly known as World In Tohoku). She shared how she founded her own organization, the challenges she faced and overcame, and the mission of WIY as well as the society she wishes to create through serving social entrepreneurs at WIY.

 


画像5Session 6: February 9, 2022

Mary Lou Akai-Ferguson

Mary Lou Akai-Ferguson is the campaign manager for Michelle Wu, the first female mayor of the city of Boston. As the Japanese-Irish American and female political activist, she shared how she took part in an active role in politics and her mindset that successfully led her campaign to victory.

 

 

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Session 5: January 20, 2022

Jill Kashiwagi

Jill Kashiwagi is the Program Manager for the TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program. Prior to joining TOMODACHI, she worked for M Financial to address women’s issues in the finance industry and engaged in operations at Nike for 16 years. She shared her numerous leadership experiences and passion for women’s empowerment.

 

 

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Session 4: November 21, 2021

Laura Winthrop Abbot

Laura Winthrop Abbot was the Vice President of the U.S.-Japan Council. She shared how she founded the TOMODACHI Initiative as one of the founding members of the great disaster that struck the northern part of Japan in 2011. She also shared her personal story about being a working mother and encouraged younger generations to pursue their passion and dream.

 

 

画像7Session 3: October 13, 2021

Lia Camargo

Lia Camargo is the Global Business Manager at Fermata Inc which provides femtech products and services. She is a graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. She introduced how her business supports both women and men and the importance of sex education.

 

 

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Session 2: September 8, 2021

Aya Hashimoto

Aya Hashimoto is the Program Director of TOMODACHI Initiative, implemented by the U.S.-Japan Council. She shared her previous work experience both in Japan and the U.S., particularly the unique experiences at the U.S. Force in Japan.

 

 

JunkoTsuda_03Session 1: August 11, 2021

Junko Tsuda

Junko Tsuda is the Executive Director of the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan). She shared her various leadership experiences at a number of companies and organizations as well as various roles including communication, human resources, and fundraising. She also shared her takeaways from each experience and encouraged the younger alumni not to be afraid of failure as every experience provides us something to learn.

US-Japan Council
Embassy of the United States Tokyo, Japan