Council Leader Masami Tyson, Global Director of FDI and Trade at the Tennessee Economic and Community Development (ECD), uses her unusual experience as a Japanese business professional in Tennessee to impact the state’s future. Ms. Tyson used her expertise in June to accompany Governor Bill Lee on his first economic development trip to Asia, where he addressed the 196 Japanese companies that have directly invested in Tennessee. Click here or on the image above to learn more.
USJC members recently spoke at an event hosted by the Japan Society of Northern California in San Francisco. This event, called “When Women Lead: Female Career Empowerment in Japan,” featured Member of the USJC Board of Councilors Susie Roos and Council Leader Suzanne Basalla, as well as Ms. Sakie Fukushima (wife of Member of the USJC Board of Councilors Glen Fukushima). Many thanks to Associate Saki Takasu (who knows the speakers as the former Director of Development at USJC) for providing the following recap and photos!
(L-R) Ms. Roos, Ms. Fukushima and Ms. Basalla
So much power, grace and intelligence in one room. It was a pleasure to hear Susie Roos, Sakie Fukushima, and Suzanne Basalla speak about their very unique and impressive career paths.
Susie - an accomplished employment lawyer with over a decade of partnership, mother of two amazing children, and an important voice for women’s empowerment in Japan (during her time in Tokyo, as her husband worked as the U.S. Ambassador in Tokyo). Now embarking on a new adventure as CAO of a late stage-focused VC, Geodesic, working with her husband.
Sakie-san - an impressive woman who began a career teaching Japanese to Americans, and found her way to a teaching job at Harvard and eventually a Stanford MBA. Then went on to partnership and board positions at BCG, Korn Ferry, Sony, Bridgestone, Kao, Mitsubishi, Ajinomoto, Benesse, among others. Now running her advisory business across the Pacific at G&S Global Advisors.
Suzanne - an accomplished U.S. Naval officer (one of the first women to work on battleships), Olmsted Scholar turned White House staff and Pentagon Japan Desk Head, and senior advisor to Ambassador John Roos (during the pivotal moment in 2011), and COO of the U.S.-Japan Council. Now, the Chief of Staff at Toyota Research Institute.
Susie is passionate and a fighter. Sakie-san is quiet but carries gravitas in her words and actions. Suzanne draws her strength from her sense of humor and comfort in building friendships among traditional and masculine organizations. It goes to show that you can have so many different paths to success, and there’s no typecasts to what a strong female leader should look like, sound like, or behave.
It was a truly impressive, inspirational and nostalgic evening. I am grateful to have worked closely with Suzanne and Susie, and so glad that I got to know Sakie-san’s story better.
Ms. Basalla with Associate Yuri Maruyama (left) and Ms. Takasu (right)
Congratulations to Laurie Van Pelt for being appointed as Oakland County, Michigan's first woman Deputy County Executive! Ms. Van Pelt, who was a delegate of the 2018 Japanese American Leadership Delegation, is also the first Japanese American to serve in this position. Ms. Van Pelt has worked for the county for over 40 years, serving in roles that include the Director of Management and Budget. She is a Certified Public Finance Officer, conferred by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). She is an active member of national and state associations, often serving as an expert to assist governments with common financial challenges. Click here for more details.