The role of women in Japan’s economy and in the broader region was highlighted during our 11th Global Ambassadors Program, convened in Tokyo in October by Vital Voices Global Partnership and Bank of America. We brought together 11 women leaders from Japan who are engaged in business, social enterprises and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) paired with 11 senior women executives from some of the world’s leading private sector and civil society organizations. This event, which was part of our ongoing partnership with Vital Voices, included one-on-one mentoring sessions and strategic planning workshops focused on building organizational management acumen and leadership skills.
Through guidance from their mentors, including Lisa Carnoy, U.S. Trust executive and New York City market president, and Tamao Sasada, vice chairman of Investment Banking Division, Global Corporate & Investment Banking, mentees walked away inspired and motivated to help advance women and social entrepreneurship platforms.
Mentee Tamiko Hayashi is founder and CEO of Wtree, Inc. & NPO Social Concierge, connecting fashion and social enterprise, noted: "Our mission is to sell quality products with a social conscience."
Satoko Kono, president, ARUN LLC., Japan’s first social investment platform, was honored to participate in the program as a mentee, stated. "We’re committed to creating greater connectivity between Japanese people and encouraging more women in business."
Women shine. Women lead.
To engage the public and regional stakeholders on women’s economic empowerment, the program featured a public forum entitled “Women Shine. Women Lead.” The forum encouraged dialogue around and exploration of the role women play in advancing economic development and social progress in Japan and the broader region, particularly in relation to women’s leadership and participation in the workplace. It also featured insightful panel discussions on the role of women in the Japanese economy, entrepreneurship, innovation and social enterprise, and the power of mentoring a new generation of women leaders in Japan.
Tim Latimore, country executive for Japan, welcomed guests who had come to hear thought leaders from media, technology, banking and social investment, reinforcing the bank’s commitment to connect women entrepreneurs to human, social and financial capital to support the global economy.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy encouraged continuing discussion on empowering women, saying that “to really change society [and realize the benefits of diversity and inclusion] will require action at all levels — government, business, family, and individual men and women.”
During the final panel, Rena De Sisto, International CSR and Global Arts & Culture executive, discussed the significance of promoting women’s empowerment in Japan, and why it’s important for all sectors to join forces to address these important issues.
Conversations continued at a networking reception and pop-up marketplace — where mentees showcased products made by their beneficiaries’ organizations, from fair trade accessories, to elegant handbags made from recycled aluminum can tabs, to chocolates made without child labor.
To learn more, visit the Global Ambassadors Program website.