Greetings from USJC’s New President & CEO Audrey Yamamoto

Greetings, USJC community! 

As I step into my new role as the Council’s President and CEO, I am filled with gratitude to have the opportunity of a lifetime to build on the enduring legacy of Irene Hirano Inouye and exceptional leadership of Suzanne Basalla. Thanks to their dedication and commitment to working in partnership with so many of you, USJC is poised to enter its next chapter with great strength and momentum.

Adding to that momentum is Prime Minister Kishida’s State Visit next week in Washington, DC, that underscores the enduring strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance, and the critical role our two countries play as global leaders in promoting peace, stability and prosperity worldwide. 

I’m proud of the role that USJC has played over the past 15 years to ensure the U.S.-Japan alliance is as strong as possible through unparalleled people to people connections. From high school classrooms to corporate board rooms, from university lecture halls to the halls of government, we are connecting and developing leaders who are equipped with a global mindset to address the most pressing bilateral issues of our time.

My ohana at my first pau hana

As the mother of two teenage gosei sons, the mission of USJC is deeply personal given the critical role we are playing in shaping and developing the leadership of their generation. The caliber of USJC’s leadership programs is exceptional and it was a tremendous honor to be part of the 2023 Japanese American Leadership Delegation. It was a transformative turning point that sparked my passion and commitment to strengthening ties between the United States and Japan. Being at the helm of USJC as it enters its next exciting chapter is the ideal way for me to fulfill that commitment.

Although I just started last week, I am already thoroughly inspired and impressed by the people who are the driving force behind USJC – its extraordinary boards, dedicated team and incredibly engaged members. Our members are our superpower, delivering exceptional programs, coordinating gatherings and enabling us to build a strong and enduring sense of community that is grounded in our shared values. 

I look forward to connecting with many of you in the weeks ahead. As an homage to our roots and largest base of members, my first stop was Hawaii. I’ll then be heading to DC, New York City, Houston, Dallas and Seattle in April, and then Los Angeles and Tokyo in May. Hopefully we will be crossing paths either in person or virtually soon! 

With warmest regards,