How I Got Here: Tia Haygood

TopTia Photography FEW Members Photos (4 of 1)If you were to tell me that I would be an entrepreneur in a country 11,000 kilometers from my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, I would have laughed. Yet here I am running my own business, TopTia Photography.

I officially moved to Japan in 2011 as an English teacher, biding my time before graduate school. But photography had been a hobby of mine since I was 13 years old, and the beauty and unique qualities of Japan kept me on the go, camera in hand.

In 2015, I wanted to push myself more as a photographer and began to build my portfolio. In doing so, I met many people, several from FEW, who praised my work and encouraged me to take up photography full-time. Their words were kind, but the thought of taking the leap terrified me. Everyone around me believed I could do it, but I spent many months asking myself if I could. Can I create a thriving business? Can I give my clients a solution to their problems? Can I grow as a better person and photographer?

This past year my strengths have indeed grown in providing professional photographic services to my clients for events, portraits, food and products. I have worked with many of the FEW ladies this past year, and providing aid to the community has allowed me to feel a strong sense of contribution to the FEW family.

March 2017 will complete TopTia’s first year in business. In this first year, I have advanced in communication skills, technical skills, and confidence. I am confident in TopTia’s brand and look forward to providing a visual catalyst for other entrepreneurs and businesses in the upcoming years. I’m also excited to be working on a project combining my backgrounds in education and photography to create an online, and in person, junior photography course for English-speaking students.

I’m really looking forward to contributing even more to the FEW network. See y’all at the next meeting!

See more of Tia’s photographs at:


Q&A with Jackie F. Steele and Megumi Ishimoto

Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Celebrating Women as Change Agents in Post-Disaster Tohoku,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with Jackie F. Steele, a political scientist at the University of Tokyo, and Megumi Ishimoto, Executive Director of NPO Women’s Eye. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Join us […]

Published on 14th March 2018

March Strategic Partner Member Offers and Other News

Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners 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 provide professional and personal services […]

Published on 1st March 2018

February Meeting Recap: Survivor – How to Overcome Adversity

You never know where life is going to take you. That was the message from our February guest speaker, Maxine Van-Cliffe Arakawa, who has had a decades-long career as a fashion stylist, make-up artist, and fashion show director in New York and Japan. She shared her personal experiences dealing with bi-polar disorder and gave her candid advice to […]

Published on 1st March 2018

March Community Services Feature: Five Tokyo-Based Organizations That Fight For or Empower Women

In honor of March’s International Women’s Day, we’d like to present to our FEW community a list of five organizations that have established themselves as organizations who fight for or empower women as well as a list of five events that you can attend to show your support for this year’s theme of #PressFor Progress. […]

Published on 28th February 2018

How I Got Here: Johanna Nousiainen

I first came to Japan as a study abroad exchange student. That year changed my life, even though at first I didn’t know it would. I was supposed to become a journalist in Finland, since that was what I loved to do – looking for information, interviewing people, writing articles about unique encounters you have. […]

Published on 28th February 2018