19th FEW Career Strategies Seminar “Women Rising” Recap

Archive blog post header image with old card catalog in background

On Saturday, May 28, FEW hosted its 19th Career Strategies Seminar on the theme of “Women Rising” at Shibaura House. Attended by over 70 FEW members, partners and guests, the day featured a diverse lineup of women from the corporate sector as well as small business owners, coaches and mentors from various industries who led participants through a dynamic program centered on the three pillars of Inspiration, Knowledge and Connection.

The morning session kicked off with an inspirational speech by Underwater Explorer and Double Guinness World Record Holder of  “The Longest Distance in Cave with only ONE Breath,” Ai Futaki, who shared with us how the human-water connection has helped her overcome various challenges and find her own unique path in life.

This was followed by the dynamic duo comprising FEW Strategic Partners, Sarah Furuya and Divya Marie Kato, who led us through an introductory session entitled Losing the Labels, Lose the Weight & Rise.” Attendees were encouraged to use their imagination and connect with others in a unique way and were led through a drawing exercise to discover what is weighing them down.

After a delicious lunch, the afternoon was opened by Jay Ponazecki, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce of Japan, who offered some insights into what is happening in Japan in terms of initiatives to help women rise as well as the challenges they continue to face. Reflecting on her recent 450 kilometer walking holiday in Spain, she offered the following words: “If your goal is to get to your destination so that you can take your boots off, don’t bother putting your boots on in the first place. Really question why you want to do things and adjust accordingly. We all talk about rising but make sure you are rising in a way that means the most to you.”

To round off the day, Divya guided a review of the morning drawing activity that linked to the above-mentioned pillars, while Sarah conducted a closing activity on our theme for the day: Rise.

Attendees were able to enjoy three out of ten workshops according to their interests. Workshops covered:

  • transitioning with emotional intelligence out of challenging situations
  • methods for having your opinion valued by men without resistance
  • preparing to take the leap from the corporate world to running your own business and what it will take to stick with it
  • how to nurture your personal brand online
  • four main areas of personal financial planning
  • how to better nourish your body, thoughts and emotions
  • how to define and exploit your true value
  • key things to think about before starting your business and establishing a corporate identity
  • common communication misconceptions and weaknesses and strategies to overcome them in an international setting
  • finding your personal style and how to dress with confidence

Thank you to speakers, workshop facilitators, attendees, sponsors and CSS organisers for helping make the day a huge success. We look forward to seeing you at the next CSS or at a FEW meeting or event soon.

What did attendees say?

FEW CSS 5 28 2016-275-2“CSS 2016 was a super energetic recharging cocktail with lots of great ideas, inspiring speakers and wonderful people – I wish I could attend whenever my batteries need to be recharged. Good job, FEW!”

“Once again the CSS delivers actual on-the-day value. Epiphanies were had, people had the space to take a day out of life and focus entirely on themselves, feel empowered and part of something, and get inspired by people getting right out of their comfort zone and into the zone. Lives change. You’ll be surprised and inspired at this event. It’s so much more than learning and connection. Something special happens each time.”

“Women Rising is how we FEW ladies left at the end of the Amazing day full of insights, laughter and inspiring stories. I truly appreciated the extra honoring of Maya Angelou by listening /watching her read her poem.”

“FEW CSS is like a wedding. You are all excited about it, then you spend an amazing day with lots of great and fun people, and it’s all over too soon. You can only wait for the next CSS and look forward to next FEW event!”

“This was my first time to attend anything by FEW, as I live very far from Tokyo. I was impressed by the focus and dynamism exhibited by many of the panelists and encouraging members.  I wish I had stayed the whole day, as I enjoyed myself!”

“I came to be inspired, learn something new, meet new people and have done just that! The talks, the workshops – so many to choose from!, the organisation, the handouts and oh my, the food, glorious food!! Truly honoured to be there, amongst such brilliant people. And so much FUN.”

CSS 2016 Speaker and Workshop Details

Keynote Speakers

CSSAiFutakeHeadshotAi FutakiUnderwater Explorer, Double Guinness World Record Holder of  “The Longest Distance in Cave with only ONE Breath,” TEDx Speaker
Two-time freediving Guinness World Record holder, underwater videographer, performer, model, speaker and instructor sharing the beauty and ONENESS with water. She is the bridge between the underwater world and the human world.

“Rising My Way”
Ai truly is part of the underwater world. By representing the aquatic realm in a way that the world has never seen, Ai will highlight the meaning and expression of the human–water connection.

CSSJayPonazeckiHeadshotJay Ponazecki
Chairman of American Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Jay Ponazecki is the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) and served as ACCJ President in 2014 and 2015. Until December 2015, Ms. Ponazecki was a partner at Morrison & Foerster’s Tokyo office. She represented multinational businesses in a wide array of industry sectors in a variety of cross-border legal transactions, including tender offers, privatizations, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances. Ms. Ponazecki also represented financial sector firms and asset management companies, assisting them with their portfolio investments, regulatory compliance matters, commercial arrangements and investor and operational issues. She also advised clients on the adoption of global corporate compliance, trade secret, privacy and data protection policies, as well as inbound clients on how to best launch or expand their business operations in Japan and other key strategic issues associated with doing business in Japan.

“Women Rising in Japan”
Jay will address whether Prime Minister Abe’s discussion of the importance of womenomics in revitalizing the Japanese economy is resulting in women rising more in the Japanese workplace, what some of the remaining challenges are and what business sectors appear to be most promising for career growth in Japan. Jay will also share some of the personal and professional lessons she has learned during her career as a cross border legal and business advisor and some of her reflections during a recent 450 kilometer walking holiday in Spain. There will also be time for questions.

Morning  & Afternoon Activity Facilitators

CSSSarahFuruyaHeadshotSarah FuruyaCoach & Facilitator at Clever Rebels, Curious Corporates
Sarah Furuya is a life and executive coach based in Tokyo for 15 years. She works mainly with women, listening to their stories, identifying and overcoming self-limiting beliefs, uncovering truth and having fun doing it. She speaks on women’s leadership in Japan at human resources conferences and is the Programme Director of the Flourish Leadership programme. She is a former president of FEW and now, as a Strategic Partner, offers sponsored coaching places to women on lower incomes. That’s all fancy and great but, basically, she just has one request: “Let’s play!”

CSSDivyaMarieKatoHeadshotDivya Marie KatoArtist & Author
Divya Marie Kato is an artist who specialises in drawing. But not the kind you learned in school. Take the label “drawing” off. Take the labels “good” and “bad” off. Take the label “art” off (you may need to tug a little). Less how. More why. Creator of the online course, “Drawing. Done Differently” and author of the forthcoming book, “When in doubt, draw.” One half of the Clever Rebel Mastermind with Coach Sarah Furuya of Clever Rebels, Curious Corporates. Together, though exclusive workshops and retreats, we get to the truth of your stories. Make sure the one you’re telling yourself is true. And serving you to rise up to the life you want.

Losing the Labels, Lose the Weight & Rise”
The ups and downs that make up a human life get stored in the body as information. How do we go about processing this information? Ancient Greek Aphorism: “Know thyself.” Something we all did as kids. Something our species has been doing since the beginning. Get out of the left brain and into the right. You’ll surprise yourself. Guaranteed.

Morning Workshop Facilitators & Outline 

CSSPaulaSugawaraHeadshotPaula SugawaraManaging Director for Japan at Lee Hecht Harrison
Paula Sugawara is the managing director for Japan at Lee Hecht Harrison, a global leader in talent development and career transition services. Her career spans 14 years in investment banking with Nomura Securities, Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs, as an equity analyst covering the Japanese machinery sector. After retraining as an executive coach and corporate facilitator, she was the Japan director for the global leadership development company Bridge Partnership. During her time there, she worked with C-level executives in a wide range of companies supporting them on their leadership journeys.

“Transition to Become One’s Best”
Not all life’s events involve smooth transitions. This workshop imparts knowledge and skills to be at one’s best in both our professional and personal lives by transitioning with emotional intelligence out of challenging situations with clients, in the workplace, or at home and to maximize relationships based on the approach of “success through others.”

CSSGregStoryHeadshotDr. Greg StoryPresident of Dale Carnagie Training Japan
Dr. Greg Story’s career has spanned the academic world, consulting, investments, trade representation, international diplomacy, retail banking and human development. In 2001, he was made the Minister Commercial for the Australian Embassy, as well as the Country Head for Austrade. In 2003 he joined Shinsei’s Retail Bank, eventually becoming Joint CEO, and later the Country Head for the National Australia Bank in Japan. He joined Dale Carnegie Training Japan as President in 2010, and served as the Chairman of the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan from 2008 to 2010. Dr. Story is a lecturer for the Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC), an advisor to the Waseda Marketing Forum and a Board Member of the Dale Carnegie International Franchisees Association.

“How To Successfully Promote Your Opinion: Disarming negative Pushback From Men”
“Mouths outpacing brains sparks unnecessary trouble.”  Let’s understand the triggers. “A man arguing his strong opinion is powerful, but a woman . . .” Have your opinion valued without resistance – disarm your disparagers, outsmart your opponents, rise above the resisters. Fight or fold – you lose either way. Instead, learn how to boost your business and career with a simple, well-proven methodology. Well it’s simple to grasp, but it takes practice. Intellectually, you get it, but your lifetime habits have to be refreshed. Partner work, drill, review, only good/better feedback allowed (no critique) make this a fun and valuable session.

CSSLaurenKawasakiBlissLauren Bliss KawasakiCo-Founder of Best Living Japan
Lauren Bliss Kawasaki launched BestLivingJapan in late 2014 to help Japan-based, globally minded families find information, services and products. Her motto is “Laugh, Learn and Live!” Lauren started BestLivingJapan following a 14-year career at Amazon and Amazon Japan where she started as product manager in the toy department and grew to a vice president in retail managing over 10 categories from books to shoes. Her passion is thrilling the customer by making their lives easier. As a busy and creative mom of four children (ages 17, 15, 12 and 3) and a dog, making life easier and more fun is a priority. Prior to Amazon, Lauren worked in product development, marketing and public relations at BabyCenter, Clorox and Hill & Knowlton. Lauren is a graduate of Skidmore College and Harvard Business School.

“Exploring Launching Your Own Venture”
Are you satisfied with your present job, but not jumping out of bed anymore? Do you daydream about starting your own thing, but don’t know how or where to start? Do you talk yourself out of taking the leap and following your dream? There are no perfect plans or paths to making sure you’re making the right decision. However, I can share with you how I made the leap, how to prepare and what it will take to stick with it. A good session if you’ve always wanted to have your own biz but have not taken the first step . . . yet. 

Afternoon Workshop Facilitators & Outline (Further details to be added soon)

 CSSJenniferShinkaiHeadshotJennifer ShinkaiAPAC Marketing & Communications Manager at en world group
Jennifer Shinkai is known for her energy, enthusiasm and commitment to continuous improvement for both processes and people. With more than 15 years experience working in Japan, she’s held a variety of management roles across learning and development, marketing, sales operations and sales. Jennifer is a driver of change, supporting her organisation’s development from a 25-person, privately-owned Tokyo office to an 800-person listed company connecting great people to great companies across seven countries in the Asia-Pacific region. She’s passionate about developing women’s participation in the workforce and founded LeanIn Circle for foreign working mothers in management roles in September 2014.

“Making Your Online Brand Work for You”
Everyone has a digital footprint, but what does a potential employer or customer see when they Google you? Are you presenting a consistent and authentic image online? In this session, we’ll explore how to nurture your personal brand online. Who do you help? How do you help them? With feedback from your fellow participants, you’ll create an action plan to bridge the gap between your brand goals and the reality of market perception.

Stefanie RichertSenior Adviser at Banner Japan KKCSSStefanieRichertHeadshot
Stefanie Richert, MA, ICFA, is a senior adviser based in Tokyo and has been with her firm, Banner Japan, since 2002. As a financial planner and investment adviser, she’s been advising expatriate and Japanese clients for more than 15 years. She assists with structuring finances to achieve set objectives and secure a solid financial future for both individuals and families. As an independent adviser, she deals with a large number of financial institutions, sharing her knowledge on numerous products and asset classes.

“Take Control of Your Financial Future”
Whether you’re self-employed or a corporate employee, this workshop will equip you with the necessary tools to develop a truly personalised plan and rise to your full financial potential! We’ll cover the four main areas of personal financial planning using structure and common sense, starting with a short survey and discussion on beliefs and habits concerning money, followed by an exercise to analyse our spending, budgeting and saving practices with a view towards future financial security. Stefanie will introduce the basic facts of investing, including investment options available while living abroad, as well as what to consider when building a diversified portfolio.

CSSCarmelaFleuryHeadshotCarmela FleuryCertified Martha Beck Life Coach & Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
After a decade as a professional snowboarder and working with Burton Snowboards, Carmela Fleury became a certified Martha Beck Life Coach and journeyed to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where she became certified as a holistic health coach. Carmela received her 110-hour YTT under the leadership of Sarah Powers, one of the founders of Yin Yoga, and is currently undergoing her training to become a certified Insight yoga teacher. Her overarching mission is to guide clients to get healthy in their own intrinsic way. She has a soft spot for working with mothers of young children and currently leads “How to Raise a Happy and Healthy Mother” workshops.

“Health Is Your Biggest Wealth”
Your body is hardwired to self-heal itself, provided you give it the right environment and nourishment to do so. What are your needs and how can you better nourish not only your body, but also your thoughts and your emotions? Come explore and fine-tune what nurtures you in your career/life and find ways to add more of it into your life.

Tanja Bach, Consultant, Trainer/Facilitator & Coach
Tanja Bach is a Tokyo-based trilingual management consultant, trainer/facilitator and coach with a passion to empower and inspire her clients to reach their full potential in multi-cultural and global environments. With a focus on leadership development, communication and individual & organizational change, she has delivered programs in many countries around the world across a variety of sectors and industries including financial services, FMCG, pharmaceuticals, IT, manufacturing, and retail.  Tanja currently consults for The Bridge Group K.K.NetExpatPlatinum Training Consultants and AMT Group K.K., delivers psychology-based virtual workouts across Asia for Mind Gym, and teaches at  Kenichi Omae Graduate School of Business.

“Rise to Your Full Potential”
Are you at a crossroads in you career, not sure of your next move? Would you like to determine a clearer career path? Tanja will help you discover what motivates you, your strengths, and how your strengths can be valuable assets to your next career transition, whether it’s a promotion in your current work, a  transition to a new field, or a completely new start as a business owner. In this workshop you will start to learn to define and exploit your true value to rise to your full potential, and live the career you dream of.


Barbara LangOwner of atelierfünfdrei
Barbara Lang is a self-employed graphic designer, illustrator and art teacher. She started her career in the early ’90s as an art director and instructor for media design trainees. After a decade of leading the graphic design department of a worldwide acting media company, she took the chance to establish her own studio, Atelierfünfdrei, in 2003, focusing on corporate design. With her 20 years of experience and brilliant approach, she has a vast knowledge of how to support people in developing their corporate identity. Due to her passion for bringing art and design closer to people, she’s constantly teaching and leading workshops.

“Essentials for Visually Branding Your Business”
This workshop focuses on the creative process of finding and developing the visual appearance of your business. The actual “making” is the second step. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. We will explore this. Is text better than a symbol? Flyer or postcard? Facebook or website? Or all together? It all depends on you. Reflect and visualize with the help of the other workshop participants on your needs, wishes and ideas, learn some key things you should think about before starting your business and establish a corporate identity you’re passionate about for a lifetime!

CSSHeikeGeilingHeadshotHeike GeilingFounder of Beyond Global Mindset and Cross-Cultural Competence
Heike Geiling is an intercultural communications consultant and trainer who has held leading positions in communications and marketing in a variety of industries and lead large scale projects across 27 European countries. Using her extensive experience in communications, diversity and inclusion, she trains Japanese and foreign employees in global issues, provides pragmatic and sustainable solutions to successfully maneuver in a global workplace and strategies to create value to be leveraged in a changing environment.

The Art of Female Assertiveness”
It’s said it takes just one-tenth of a second for us to judge someone and from a first impression, so we better make sure we’re putting out the right one, both personally and professionally. From eye contact over a firm handshake to your presence in a room, from the volume of your voice over structuring your thoughts to strategies to make yourself heard, this workshop will raise your awareness for your behavior in an international setting and help you rise in your career. In a mix of lecture, discussions and practical exercises, we’ll discover common misconceptions and weaknesses, and we develop strategies to overcome them.

CSSLucyBarrettHeadshotLucy Barrett, Style Coach
Lucy has worked as a personal stylist since 1997 and, in 2013, qualified as a Style Coach™ with the Style Coaching Institute®. She is a member of the International Association of Style Coaches™ and has been living in Asia — in Hong Kong and Japan — since 1994. Lucy works with clients on all aspects of their physical presentation as well as working as a life coach. She believes how we look on the outside and how we feel on the inside are intrinsically linked. Lucy has worked with individuals and groups in addition to providing workshops and presentations to corporate clients, social and professional groups. Lucy has worked in Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai and Japan.

“The Power of Personal Style”
Personal style can seem elusive and difficult to define but is often recognizable, especially in others. We wear clothes every day in all areas of our lives. How we dress and present ourselves is a powerful form of nonverbal communication to ourselves and others. It’s also a great source of confidence. In this workshop, we’ll look at how to find your personal style and look at what you would like to say, to yourself and others, through your appearance. Do the clothes you wear work with you? We’ll look at how to begin having the clothes you wear support you in the way you want to present yourself in all areas of your life.