By Lisa Matsumoto, Public Relations & Communications Intern
On February 9th, FEW members and guests leaned in to listen to our guest speaker, Rena Suzuki, co-founder and leader of Lean In Tokyo. Lean In is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women achieve their ambitions. Lean In Tokyo helps women gain confidence and take an active role in their workplace by changing the attitudes and individual mindsets of working women in Japan.
Rena Suzuki was born and raised in Tokyo and majored in commerce at Keio University. Following her dream to become successful in the business world, Ms. Suzuki set off to work at an investment bank in Singapore where two-thirds of her colleagues were women. Feeling empowered, she came back to Tokyo to work at another investment bank, but to her dismay, only 7 out of almost 100 of her fellow colleagues were women. She felt restrained in her male dominant workplace, but knew that if she spoke up, she would not become successful, and so kept quiet when male colleagues spoke of women as trophies or objects. Ms. Suzuki’s ambition diminished as she gradually stopped reaching for new career opportunities. Soon after, she got engaged and planned to become a housewife. However, a reunion with her college friends and their remarks asking what happened to the ambitious Rena Suzuki they knew reawakened her drive. She started to take on more responsibilities again and decided that she needed to help other women who were struggling with the restrictions that social norms produce, thus founding Lean In Tokyo.
Lean In aims to educate and build a community where women can share their stories, learn from one another, and share the idea of Lean In with both women and men. Lean In Tokyo has 3 main activities: monthly women speaker events, updates on social network sites, and bi-weekly meet ups. It aims for a society where “all women can challenge and pursue their ambition.” Although Japan has been changing to help women, individual mindsets must first be changed in order to make policies effective. For instance, using maternity or paternity leave should not make employees feel guilty.
Ms. Suzuki gave two very simple tips on how to get started on changing your mindset: First, say thank you when you receive a compliment instead of “sorry” or “thank you, but….” Second, acknowledge your abilities by saying yes to offers. Many women doubt themselves and let good opportunities slip away, but Lean In aspires to help women not hold back and to go for these opportunities.
We are eager to see where Rena Suzuki’s endeavors will lead and hope that both men and women alike will continue to change social norms and their own individual mindsets for a more diverse and inclusive society. Ms. Suzuki’s final piece of advice? Do what you want to do.
Learn more about Lean In Tokyo here: http://leanintokyo.org/
March 2017 Women’s Start-up Club Recap: The Art of Pricing and Negotiation
On March 29, 2017, the FEW Women’s Start-Up Club covered two crucial topics to successfully grow your business: Pricing and Negotiation. Vanessa Oshima, General Manager, Women’s Category, at Nike Japan, first led an engaging discussion on identifying and developing strategies for successful price setting. Tanja Bach, FEW Women’s Start-Up Club Committee Member, then continued the discussion with insights on successful negotiation […]Published on 4th April 2017
History of FEW Series: Top Highlights from Past CSS Events
By Raena Murakami, Public Relations and Communications Co-Director One of FEW’s flagship events is the biennial FEW Career Strategies Seminar (CSS), a full-day professional development event led by experienced, successful female business leaders and mentors. The event consists of workshops and skill-building sessions to equip participants with the tools necessary to enhance their lives and […]Published on 3rd April 2017
Q&A with Travel Industry Experts Chiara Terzuolo and Rie Miyoshi
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Unveiling Japan: New Themes in Travel & Tourism,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with speakers Chiara Terzuolo of Veltra and Rie Miyoshi of Outdoor Japan. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Here, Chiara reflects on valuing those who […]Published on 1st April 2017
The Way of Tea Recap – An Introduction to Japanese Tea Ceremonies with Ruth (Sōshin) Lionberger
By Tanja Kinnen, FEW Special Events Director The Way of Tea and the chance to gain deeper insights into this mysterious Japanese tradition brought 15 curious women to attend our special event on a sunny Monday afternoon. The national holiday seemed like the perfect opportunity to get to know more about the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Ruth (Sōshin) […]Published on 1st April 2017
How I Got Here: Tanja Bach
Ever been asked “What do you do?” My answer: “I empower people to become the best version of themselves.” As a coach and facilitator, I am lucky to do what I love by enabling leaders, teams, entrepreneurs and anyone with a dream to realize their potential and be the best version of themselves. I like […]Published on 1st April 2017
Inspiration and Creativity
Each of us has a creative side just waiting to be awoken! Join us as we hear how a panel of creativity-focused women took the leap to turn their creative passions into their life's work.
Mirai No Mori Fundraiser at Toriizaka Art Gallery
Join us for this special fundraiser for our Community Strategic Partner Mirai no Mori at Toriizaka Art Gallery. Hear from the gallery founder, Karen Thomas, and enjoy a tour of the gallery over wine, cheese and delicious food. All proceeds to Mirai no Mori Back to Nature Program.
Midweek Lunch Mixer at Le Petit Marché Roppongi
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking on our monthly midweek lunch gathering at Le Petit Marché in Roppongi.