Entrepreneurial Thinking for Business Success (Summary) – 2014 Annual Conference

The following is a summary of the breakout session “Entrepreneurial Thinking for Business Success” at the 2014 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference on October 10, 2014.


  • Ms. Susan Yamada, Executive Director, Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Hawaii at Manoa (moderator)
  • Mr. Warren Haruki, CEO – Grove Farm and Maui Land & Pineapple Co.
  • Ms. Merle Aiko Okawara, Chairman, JC Comsa Corp.
  • Amb. John V. Roos, Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan & CEO, The Roos Group

This session focused on the need in both the United States and Japan for entrepreneurial thinking in order to remain vibrant economies with bright futures. Discussion areas were: identifying where innovation and entrepreneurship are flourishing, capitalizing on these opportunities and how it all integrates into a strategic plan for local economies and individual companies.

Ms. Susan Yamada moderated the session and panelists Ambassador John V. Roos, Mr. Warren Haruki and Ms. Merle Akiko Okawara joined the discussion.  The panelists shared their stories from youth and how they became so successful.  They repeatedly said that taking a risk is the most important step to becoming a successful entrepreneur.  Ambassador Roos said, “Risk capital is very small when you are young.  The more you start taking risks, the more you will learn and become better at managing risks.”  They also encouraged Japanese business owners and the Japanese government to be more flexible in hiring people from foreign countries, students who have studied overseas, and women to obtain great new ideas.  Ms. Okawara concluded the session with this advice: “Have a strong desire to become successful and take positive steps towards your goal.  You can become anything you want.”

Click here to learn more about the 2014 Annual Conference.