How I got Here: Kirsten O’Connor


I decided at age 7, quite resolutely that I wanted to be a teacher. All my decisions thereafter created the path to a teaching qualification, a first teaching post in London, a promotion and then the biggest decision of all – to apply for a teaching job overseas. In Japan no less. Accepting a job offer at a school in a country I had never visited really was a leap of faith, and understandably a great shock to my parents!


Teaching is my passion. Inspiring children to love learning and be thoughtful and kind is magical. In my 24 years of teaching I have never underestimated the privilege it is to teach children to read and write – both skills they need and use for the rest of their lives. My passion led me from Heathrow to Narita.


I moved to Tokyo for two years. In August 2001. Almost the minute I arrived I fell in love with the city and everything it offers – well perhaps not quite everything but almost! A two year contract turned into five years. Then a promotion to Deputy Headship and another six years flew by. When the opportunity to become Head Teacher presented itself, I grabbed it. Being a Head is the best job in the world – most days! To say it was a challenge would be somewhat of an understatement but seeing the children thrive and happily skip into school each morning made all the newly acquired white hair more than worthwhile.


So why on earth did I leave in July 2018? Well it was time. Time for a new challenge for me and time to meet a need in the community I have seen for many years.  So many families are looking for extra educational support in a range of areas and I am keen to meet those needs.


Setting up QUEST TOKYO has been a steep learning curve so far and I know that will continue. Joining FEW and particularly the FEW Start Up Club over the past 18 months has been invaluable; I have met so many inspiring and supportive women. I hope I can offer something useful back to the community in the months and years to come.


Q&A with Rina Bovrisse, activist and founder of the Chateau School

Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting – The Accidental Activist : From Chanel to Governor of Tokyo? – we’re featuring a quick Q&A with speaker Rina Bovrisse. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Join us for an insightful discussion next Wednesday, September 12, as Rina […]

Published on 9th September 2018

Insider Intel on the Japan Market Expansion Competition

When the opportunity to apply for a Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC) scholarship through FEW arose, FEW members Jane Szafraniec (pictured center left) and Nina Cataldo (pictured center) jumped at the opportunity. To understand the full extent of why this was such an amazing space to be in, they’ve shared what JMEC is, their experiences […]

Published on 7th September 2018

Event Recap: TELL & FEW Presents The Feminine Eye

On Saturday, August 8th, a group of 11 people interested in learning more about photography gathered at the National Art Center in Roppongi for a women-led photo walk by Selena Hoy, TELL Outreach Coordinator and FEW Community Services Director Tia Haygood, who also is a professional photographer of TopTia Photography.

Published on 3rd September 2018

September 2018 Strategic Partner Member Offers & Other News

Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners and other FEW Community Events here! Our Strategic Partners are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. And go to our Strategic Partners page to learn more about all of FEW’s Strategic Partners, who not only support FEW’s activities but also […]

Published on 27th August 2018

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