Employee blog: Japan 2015

Oct 16, 2015

Global Ambassadors Tokyo, Day 5 - Sally Dwyer

This is a diary entry from Sally Dwyer, co-head of Equity Technology Tradeplant for Asia and country manager for Equity Technology in Japan, reporting from the Global Ambassadors Program in Tokyo.

All good things have to come to an end, and so I am writing this from the final formal session of the Global Ambassadors Program in Tokyo. I have been fortunate to attend a number of the sessions this week, including the public forum on Thursday evening, which was a truly motivational event with four panels focused on:

  • “Abenomics” and the role of women in the Japanese economy
  • Women and entrepreneurship
  • Innovation and social entrepreneurship
  • Global Ambassadors Program spotlight

In addition to hearing from the keynote speaker, attendees had the opportunity to benefit from the experiences of the panelists, including Global Ambassadors Tamao Sasada, managing director and vice chairman of Investment Banking Division, Global Corporate and Investment Banking, Merrill Lynch Japan Securities, and Dr. Sachiko Kuno, co-founder, president and CEO, S&R Foundation. It was also a great opportunity for the mentees to showcase their organizations’ interesting and meaningful products at the marketplace.

This week has focused largely on providing the mentees with skills to further develop as business leaders. The session was different, with Zoë Dean-Smith, senior director of global programs for Vital Voices leading a thought-provoking discussion that focused on the personal rather than the professional.

This is not just a paper exercise as Zoë and her achievements illustrate the value of understanding what is important to each of us in our lives. She shared many of her own experiences and provided tips and tools for identifying and documenting goals and the paths to achieve them.

The honest and open discussion in areas such as health, romance, spirituality and career gave everyone food for thought, and occasional moments of humor. She challenged everyone to let go of their fears and to be the best they can be.

This week has been a very powerful experience for everyone involved. Although the in-person part of the program is drawing to a close, the ongoing mentorship and relationships that have been established this week will continue to provide value and inspiration for years to come.

Global Ambassadors Tokyo, Day 4 - Reiko Hayashi

This is a diary entry from Reiko Hayashi, head of Global Capital Markets in Japan, reporting from the Global Ambassadors Program in Tokyo.

Having been selected as one of next year’s mentors, I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend this Global Ambassadors Program event, and I look forward to directly participating in 2016. For the Global Ambassadors Program in Japan, I was excited to attend some of the training sessions and observe one-on-one conversations between the ambassadors and their mentees. As always, there is an excellent lineup of trainers, mentors and mentees, so I jumped at the chance to learn from them.

Throughout the week, there has been a flurry of activity including training, public events and mentoring. When I spoke with mentors and mentees during the U.S. Embassy reception last night and the branding and marketing training today, they shared that the program is profoundly meaningful and educational, and that they greatly appreciate the opportunity to take part. Through my observations, participants have taken the opportunity to expand their personal networks too. If these powerful and influential women are able to continue to grow and develop as a result of this program, I’m confident that they will make an impact not only in Japan, but on the global stage in the future.

The training sessions allowed me to gain insights on the value of the Global Ambassadors Program to help support women leaders looking to take their businesses to the next level. I also walked away with a greater understanding of the power of mentoring, and that it should extend beyond the weeklong program. Mentoring should be part of our regular routine and sustained throughout our professional and personal lives.

By joining these sessions, I’m reminded that we are driving a program to help amplify the global impact of women entrepreneurs. Bank of America has always been deeply involved in contributing to society through a wide range of activities. I’m truly inspired and proud.

Global Ambassadors Tokyo, Day 3 - Pamela Seagle

This is a diary entry from Pamela Seagle, CSR Executive, Manager Global Women's Programs.

As I’ve traveled with our Global Ambassadors Program from Haiti to India to South Africa and other countries in between, I am able to bring a unique perspective on our program and how it empowers women.

I have found that while there are certainly differences in each trip that we take, driven by culture, local laws or economic conditions, there are commonalities that all the women we meet possess. They’re all passionate about what they do, and committed to improving their communities and to helping empower more women.

Today our two Bank of America ambassadors, New York Market President Lisa Carnoy, and Tamao Sasada, vice chairman, Investment Banking Division, Global Corporate & Investment Banking, Merrill Lynch Japan Securities, opened the day by speaking to the group about elements of strong financial management for their businesses. During the presentation, they reinforced three fundamental lessons:

• Knowledge is power
• If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it
• Responsible growth through diversification

We continued our communications training from previous days with a session about on-camera presence. While many of our mentees have opportunities to speak to the media and create social media video content to help promote their organizations, this was still an uncomfortable session for many participants. Our trainer created a fun and creative environment to help us ease into the exercises. It’s better to learn and practice these skills in a safe environment surrounded by supporting mentors and trainers, than elsewhere.

It’s hard to believe we are half way through our time here. I feel that we are just getting going. On Friday, when we see the final presentations and learn what has been accomplished during the week, I’m sure we will be astonished by the progress we’ve seen. I know our group will be a little sleep-deprived but excited about the possibilities ahead!

Global Ambassadors Tokyo, Day 2 - Leisa Nagy

This is a diary entry from Leisa Nagy, head of Global Human Resources for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Japan, reporting from the Global Ambassadors Program in Tokyo.

Hello from Day 2 at the Global Ambassadors Program in Tokyo. At this afternoon’s session, our dynamic group of women leaders and their assigned mentors focused on the critical importance of networking for success as their businesses continue to grow and evolve.

Led by Allison Shapira, president of Global Public Speaking LLC, I was drawn into a highly interactive conversation which emphasized how face-to-face networking can be supported and sustained through the multitude of social media platforms which span today’s global business context.

It’s a fact that we do business with people we know, like and trust. With this in mind, Allison encouraged participants to think of networking not as an insincere, transactional conversation, but rather as building relationships that are mutually beneficial and can be sustained over a period of time.

Successful networkers have a number of common attributes; they are curious, are willing to help others, are active listeners, speak succinctly and stay in touch. They consider the time spent networking as an investment in a long term, productive relationship and remain focused on not just the individual they are speaking too, but on being given access to their broader network.

A key take-away for me was the difference between informal networking which can happen spontaneously with someone sitting next to you on a plane or at a large event where you find a common interest, connection or issue contrasted with formal networking which is more planned, directed and strategic in nature.

For those of us who shy away from networking, Allison stressed the importance of our mindset in how we approach someone. Think of networking not as you pitching yourself to someone, but rather as you speaking on behalf of your organization or an issue that you represent.

Through live discussions, participants were encouraged to bring this to life by crafting an individual one-sentence "statement" that could be used to open a conversation. Reminding us that the best networkers ask great questions and are authentic and honest in their engagement, we were then on our feet mingling, shaking hands and nervously testing our individual statements on each other. It was a terrific opportunity for me to see the mentees growing in confidence, their renewed energy and most importantly the passion which each of them bring to their respective businesses.

Read more about our Global Ambassadors and their trip to Japan.

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