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.


Upcoming Fall 2018 Community Service Events

With the changing of the leaves comes many opportunities to support various NGOs and their efforts. Take a look at the events below and reach out to the organizations through the contact information provided if you’re interested in lending a helping hand! The Big Draw Festival 2018 The world’s largest cross-cultural drawing festival, led by […]

Published on 15th October 2018

Recap: WSC — Creating Your Story & Brand with the Help of Masterminding Groups

“A brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon For the 2018-2019 season, Women’s Startup Club focuses on helping you create YOUR story and brand, kicking off the season with Masterminding—Supporting Your Success. Thirty women from diverse career backgrounds, a wide variety of […]

Published on 7th October 2018

October 2018 Sponsor Offers & Member News

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

Published on 30th September 2018

September Monthly Meeting Recap – Rina Bovrisse

From Prada Epicenter to Court Battle…and How She Persists Rina Bovrisse, a former fashion industry leader who sued her employer – Prada Japan – for discrimination and sexual harassment in 2009 and, eventually, lost her fashion career due that suit, shared her inspiring journey at the FEW Monthly Meeting in September. Now running her own […]

Published on 26th September 2018

July Monthly Meeting Recap – Ama Divers

Living at the pace of the ocean In July, FEW welcomed professor Anne McDonald from Sophia University to share the stories of Ama divers, female free divers of Japan, during the Monthly Meeting. McDonald has been researching the Ama communities by interviewing the members and taking part in their daily life – even diving into […]

Published on 26th September 2018