Corporate Executive Leadership & Mentoring

“Corporate Executive Leadership & Mentoring” was one of ten panel discussions that was held on October 4, 2013, during the 4th USJC Annual Conference.


Moderator: Ms. Moni Miyashita, Senior Advisor, McKinsey & Co.
Speakers: Ms. Phyllis Campbell, Chair, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Pacific Northwest
Ms. Royanne K Doi, Corporate Chief Ethics Officer, Prudential Financial Inc. – Japan Representative Office
Ms. Tracey Doi, Group Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
Ms. Yuko Kaifu, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Union Bank USA


This session explored mentoring in the corporate environment through a conversation among four successful executives from top U.S. and Japanese companies operating in both countries.  The speakers have proven very successful in traditional companies and sectors, bringing diversity to their workplaces.  They discussed their experiences along the way, including the role of mentoring throughout their careers and in their current positions.  They also shared their views on being a mentor to the next generation of diverse corporate leaders, and discussed the leadership skills that were most instrumental in getting them to the corporate executive level.  The moderator engaged the audience to broaden the discussion, and identified useful tips for successful mentoring and leadership in the corporate workforce.


Special thanks to moderator Moni Miyashita for providing this summary!

This session explored mentoring in the corporate environment through a conversation among four successful executives from top U.S. and Japanese traditional companies who brought diversity to their workplaces.  It was attended by a very diverse audience of men and women from the youngest participants in the Emerging Leader Program to the most distinctive members of the USJC Board of Councilors.

The panel was moderated by Moni Miyashita, prior VP at IBM and current Senior Advisor at McKinsey & Company.  She began by asking panelists to frame the challenge to ensure the participants gained important insights on why this topic is so critical to develop the next generation of leaders. 

Royanne Doi began the discussion by ensuring the audience knew the difference between a mentor and other forms of support required for success such as role models, advisors, coaches or sponsors.  She defined a mentor as a trusted confidant and counselor who will provide a tailored perspective and feedback.  She said that it is someone with whom you can discuss the good, bad and the ugly.  Royanne urged the audience to recognize that there are many important forms of support, but that mentoring in particular requires an investment and allows leaders to give back and impact the next generation.

Phyllis Campbell shared important facts on why it was important for us to focus on mentoring the next generation.  She said that diversity of leadership teams and board composition are competitive advantages, as many studies show that teams with diverse folks have greater innovation.  There is empirical evidence of positive correlation between three or more women on boards and company return.  Regardless of these known facts, there are less than 17% women (and less than 4% Asian women) on Fortune 500 company boards.  In Japan, the percentage of women on (publicly traded company) boards is less than 1%.  While mentoring will not solve these problems, it is a critical element in developing a diverse pipeline and giving access to powerful networks in order to change the situation.

Yuko Kaifu followed by sharing the situation unique to Japan given recent Abenomics, which includes plans to focus on women as part of its growth strategy.  She said that while the government plans are positive and needed, their policies and infrastructure alone would not bring about necessary changes.  Through mentoring, women should be able to learn how to develop self-confidence, assertiveness and aspiration, despite Japan’s traditional values such as modesty, humbleness and quietness.

Tracey Doi was asked to share, “What is our call to action?”  She pointed out that people are the core foundation of any company, non-profit or organization.  It’s critical for leaders to develop their team, consider succession planning and look for opportunities to strengthen talent.  She said that mentoring is an important aspect of professional development.

Moni then asked the panelists to share one key element of their own personal journey to help the audience gain insights on how mentoring helped them overcome challenges and be successful in their own careers. Phyllis shared how early in her career she learned from a boss the idea of always “Being Ready – Getting Ready.”  Her key point was that you will never feel ready for that next big job, but that you must not hesitate when asked or offered.  Instead, stretch yourself and always be ready for the opportunity when it comes.  Royanne shared some advice given by her life mentor to persist until you succeed “or” when the timing is right – he said a teacher will see your efforts and appear before you to help you reach your goal. She advised that we need to have “guts” or “resilience in the face of challenges,” and never give up. Yuko topped that with the idea that as a mentor and a mentee we should have a “teachable attitude when criticized” and be able to give and take useful criticism.  She related an experience where she was criticized by a mentor for an overuse of certain words that questioned her capability and she was able to quickly correct it.  Tracey shared with the audience that one mentor is not enough and it is important to“have a diversity of mentors.”  She commented that this included everything from parents wrestling with the college search process; the past head of Lexus who shared the intricacies of the auto industry; a CEO providing a role model on leadership; women from professional organizations and trusted confidantes who give helpful and candid feedback.

In closing Moni summed up one charge from each of the panelists regarding mentoring and the impact that each of the participants could have on the next generation of leaders:

“Our base in mentoring is confidence, so have an expertise and be distinctive.”

– Yuko

“Mentoring is not an option! In order to succeed, you need to be able to manage talent.”

– Royanne

“Weave mentoring in and make it a lifestyle!”

– Tracey

“We are all mentors. Let’s go!!!”

– Phyllis