How I Got Here: Mari Kiyota

Mari KiyotaI came to Tokyo in 2016, after university graduation and working as an immigration assistant in the Washington, D.C. area of the U.S. I initially planned to stay for a year, study some Japanese and travel – I never imagined I’d fall in love with my life here so much. I knew early on that I’d be staying for the long haul, so I dedicated myself to finding and participating in communities and learning Japanese.

I’m now at nearly two years in Tokyo, and I’m a full-time Japanese language student in the mornings and working in digital marketing and social outreach at a startup called Baamboo in the afternoons/evenings/weekends. My work with Baamboo doesn’t even feel like a job – I’m incredibly passionate about our mission. We connect NPOs/NGOs with skilled volunteers to help them scale their growth – I’m an avid lifelong volunteer myself, so this work fulfills my need to help drive impact on a social level.

Currently I volunteer with Kizuna Baby, where I go to a local hospital and massage infants on a weekly basis. I also volunteer with Hands on Tokyo on various local projects, and an international organization called Love Without Boundaries, where I write child welfare reports and create online content.

Once I joined FEW, my mindset skyrocketed. I suddenly found myself in a room with these brilliant successful women who were still challenging themselves and striving for greater success – they may have “made it” in a conventional sense but they weren’t resting on their laurels. That inspired me to continue to act, to drive myself on an intrinsic level to stretch my mindset and challenge my internal beliefs about what success meant.

Being around and interacting with these passionate women has given me boundless energy to continue running full-speed down my own path. I have so much gratitude for FEW Japan and all I’ve gained from it!

Hear more about Mari’s unique experiences in community service, along with tips on how you too can get involved in volunteering at our members-exclusive April 22 Mentoring Moments Senpai Brunch: Giving Back and Getting Involved in Your Community. Event details here.


May 2018 FEW Women’s Start-Up Club Recap: The Importance of Cyber Security to Entrepreneurs

In our May Women’s Start-Up Club, Nicola Vote of McAfee shed light on how entrepreneurs can protect their customers and also protect their reputation and business online. And she managed to leave us all well informed, alert yet a bit “scared”, too.   Let’s jump into some definitions and which aspects are important when it […]

Published on 24th June 2018

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Published on 24th June 2018

Q&A with Cynthia Usui, author and Head of Hospitality, Tokyo 2020 Olympics, The Coca-Cola Company

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Published on 7th June 2018

June 2018 Strategic Partner Member Offers and Other News

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Published on 6th June 2018

May 2018 Monthly Meeting Recap: Stronger Together: FEW x FAJ

Who knew that our members had so many hidden talents? The first joint event with FEW and FAJ — the group for French-speaking professional women in Tokyo — on May 15 unveiled quite few surprises as we listened to presentations about their work, projects, lives, experiences and aspirations. Members of both associations are involved in […]

Published on 5th June 2018