Congratulations to the 2020 Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) cohort for concluding their virtual program! Due to the global pandemic, the 2020 program was extended through summer 2021 and aimed to provide quality leadership programming in a virtual space. While the 12-member cohort could not meet in person, the virtual format allowed for a 6-month period that highlighted seven leadership topics and numerous speakers. The leadership sessions were supplemented with additional networking opportunities hosted by ELP alumni.
The program kicked off in January 2021 with USJC President & CEO Suzanne Basalla conducting a fireside chat with ITO EN executives Yosuke Honjo (Member of the USJC Board of Councilors) and Rona Tison (USJC Board Member), who shared their own stories of leadership, and reasons they support young leaders. Representative Director of the USJC (Japan) Board of Directors Royanne Doi provided insight on the differences between mentors and sponsors, and how connecting with both can significantly impact one’s career trajectory. USJC Associate Craig Ishii (ELP ‘13) led a lively session on leadership styles, and how different styles interact with each other. USJC Associate Stephanie Nitahara (ELP ‘19) organized and led a panel discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion. She was joined by USJC Associate Niki Robins (ELP ‘19) and USJC Board Member Curtiss Rooks (JALD ’04). ELP advisors and Members of the USJC Legacy Council Jill Nishi (JALD ’10) and Colbert Matsumoto (JALD ’10) shared personal lessons on leadership and the importance of work-life balance. They also encouraged members of the class to bring their authentic selves to the workplace as Japanese American leaders. USJC Board Chair Paul Yonamine and USJC Associate Steve Sakanashi (ELP ‘15) shared key cross-cultural leadership experiences, and what factors contributed to their success as Japanese American professionals in Japan. Council Leader John Kobara led a session on networking, an important skill to have in all settings. Mr. Kobara also inspired the class to think about career pathing throughout their professional lives.
Congratulations, Class of 2020!