Run solely by members for its members, FEW Japan is governed by a Board of Directors, elected for a one-year term by the regular membership that meets monthly.
Comprising women from diverse nationalities and professional backgrounds, all board members serve on a volunteer basis and have separate full time or part-time jobs.
If you are interested in getting more involved with FEW, please talk to one of us at our next event or contact us via email anytime!
Meet the 2018-2019 Board of Directors
Riya has a BA in art history and also holds a conceptual jewelry art and a gemologist’s degree from the Gemological Institute of America. Her corporate career began as a specialist for the Jewelry Department at Christie’s Auction House in New York where she became Assistant Vice President. More recently, she has served as Head of Talent for two market research firms in Tokyo and in Sydney and co-ran a public school organic farm initiative. Originally from New York, Riya has also lived in Tokyo and Sydney, but likes to think of herself as a “Have Bag + Yoga Mat Will Travel” citizen of the world. As President of FEW, she hopes to broaden the membership to be more inclusive of younger, and Japanese members using English and relevant content as the common connector. She believes in community and wants to create a vibrant space for all.
Nicola has been in Japan for over 20 years, hailing originally from the United Kingdom. The last decade she has been working in various managerial roles at McAfee (the global cyber security company) and currently drives the Customer Experience advocacy program for the Consumer Business worldwide. In her second year as Vice President, she hopes to continue to leverage her extensive operational experience for the benefit of FEW and its members. Nicola is fluent in Japanese and is passionate about giving back to the community that has been her home for so many years.
Born and raised in Sapporo, and with a degree from West Virginia University, Sayuri has lived for nearly 20 years outside of Japan, including Washington DC, Paris, Hong Kong, and New York. She has spent the majority of her career in human resources, compliance, and general management roles in global companies in Japan and the United States and appreciates the nuances of both cultures, in particular as it concerns diversity in the workplace. Sayuri is a qualified teacher of the Sogetsu Ikebana School and enjoys creativity and calmness through the art of arranging flowers. As Membership Director, Sayuri is keen to get to know FEW members better and act as an effective representative of the members’ needs on the board.
Self-expatriated and originally from Germany, Nora came to Japan over a year ago to continue her international HR career in the automotive industry, finding FEW soon after that. In her role as Finance Director, she will draw on her studies and experience in auditing as well as her corporate and operational experience. Having led her company’s women’s career initiative for more than a year, she is now looking forward to contributing to FEW; an international community beyond company and industry.
PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR
Originally from France, Deborah has been in Japan for about a decade and is an avid lover of Tokyo. She has worked in various positions in both Japanese and multicultural contexts where she has enjoyed meeting many great people. Having joined FEW 5 years ago, Deborah has been inspired and energized by the dynamic community of women from all walks of life. In her role as Public Relations Director, she aims to give back to FEW by reaching out to and increasing the awareness of FEW among both young women and those already with established careers who could both benefit from and contribute to the community of women in Japan, based on the belief that at one point we receive and at one point we give back.
Jackie F. Steele
Jackie is a Canadian feminist political scientist focusing on the integration of women and diversity into democratic institutions and policy-making in advanced democracies. Over the past 20 years she has worked for a rural municipal government in Nagano, has been a researcher-activist with the Canadian and Québécois feminist movements, and has taught and pursued comparative research at universities in Canada and Japan. Jackie is founder and Vice President of NPO Chikuma International Exchange Association in Nagano, and is an avid amateur taiko performing artist. As a member of FEW since 2010, she looks forward to continuing to source inspiring speakers as Programs Co-Director and providing women of all walks of life a place to share their stories.
Annamarie is an anthropologist working in corporate culture development at a Japanese multinational consumer goods company. Originally from British Columbia, Canada, she first came to Japan 15 years ago and worked in tourism and consumer ethnography before moving into her current role. ‘Connection’ has been a long-running theme in her work and life—connecting cultures, ideas, and people—and, as Programs Co-director, she hopes to help make FEW an organization that connects members to personal and professional growth through an exciting and diverse speaker lineup.
COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING CO-DIRECTOR
Website and Online Content Management
A transplant from Illinois and then New York, Ayanna now finds herself living in Tokyo. Inspired by passionate thinkers and gracious leaders, it only took one meeting for her to realize FEW was a great place to connect with like-minded individuals. With degrees in marketing and library and information science, along with a background in nonprofit development, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing, Ayanna looks forward to helping shape and advocate for this community of forward-thinking women in her role as Communications & Marketing Co-director.
COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING CO-DIRECTOR
A writer, marketer, and food enthusiast, Johanna have been living in Japan for 8 years. Originally from Finland, she is currently working as a brand communication specialist in Tokyo. As a social media addict, almost always online and, when not, in the kitchen to create original recipes and doing food styling for her blog, Johanna looks forward to leveraging her diverse experience as Communications & Marketing Co-director to create the FEW voice and generate stimulating and inspiring content of interest to the FEW community, which may include the best content marketing tips and latest food trends.
SPECIAL EVENTS DIRECTOR
Kyoko is a Japanese national who has lived overseas in countries such as South Korea, Saudi Arabia, USA, Thailand for 17 years as an expatriate together with her family. Since she was little, she has learned Japanese traditional culture such as calligraphy, Nichibu (Japanese dance) Urasenke tea ceremony, Ikebana and Sodo Japanese kimono. It has been her passion to introduce beautiful Japanese culture to people for many years and, this year, she launched two corporations — Mypal Inc and Sake Lovers Inc — to do just that. Kyoko joined FEW in February 2018 and was inspired by many like-minded women. In her role as Special Events Director, she looks forward to coordinating events in line with the interests and needs of the FEW community.
Bianca left her home country, Germany, for Japan 10 years ago and first lived in Kyoto, where she was a member of FEW Kansai, before coming to Tokyo five years ago. She has a background in international marketing and works as a marketer and marketing consultant for various organizations to help them grow in domestic and overseas markets. In her free time, she loves discovering unknown parts of Tokyo and new places to enjoy a good cup of coffee. In her second year as Sponsorship Director, Bianca aims to further grow and curate the Sponsor network, connect them with the FEW community, and provide our members unique and FEW-exclusive services and benefit offerings.
COMMUNITY SERVICES DIRECTOR
Originally from the USA, Tia Haygood is a Tokyo-based photographer who has helped over 150 Japanese and internationally-owned businesses in Japan. She’s skilled in event, portrait, product, and food photography. Her main focus is to add visual branding power to local artists and entrepreneurs in the Kanto area. Tia brings an abundant amount of energy and compassion that her models and clients enjoy to her photo shoots. In her second year as Community Services Director, she looks forward to continuing to provide a space for FEW members to find interesting events and organizations where they can volunteer their time and skills while also leveraging their own unique knowledge and expertise to serve fellow members within the FEW community.
WOMEN’S STARTUP CLUB CO-DIRECTOR
Tanja, founder and CEO of Contents Bridge KK, a leadership training company, specializes in empowering the success of future leaders worldwide. Knowing first-hand what it takes to create a business in Japan, she joined the FEW Women’s Start-up Club’s committee in 2016 to support others in their entrepreneurial journey. Originally from Germany, Tanja has lived and worked everywhere except South America and Africa and has been a resident of Japan for the past 18 years. She believes in purpose-inspired action to live and, as Women’s Start-Up Club Co-director, looks forward to continuing to bring women small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs a fun and exciting program lineup to help start or grow their business.
WOMEN’S STARTUP CLUB CO-DIRECTOR
Ann-Katrin loves creating community and supporting others to make them feel ease when living abroad and she does so with her company At Ease, where she offers coaching and yoga. She is German-Swedish and, over the past 16 years, has lived in Belgium, Singapore, and Egypt as well as been repatriated to Germany. After her move to Tokyo in 2015, Ann-Katrin joined FEW to meet other women and to get inspired by other people’s stories. Since September 2017 she has served as Co-director of the FEW Women’s Start-Up Club, and is looking forward to continuing to support, connect, and engage with FEW members and other women in the vibrant entrepreneurial community.
WOMEN’S STARTUP CLUB CO-DIRECTOR
Victoria is a British jewelry designer and creator who founded her vintage kimono jewelry brand in Tokyo three years ago. She has lived in Japan for over 20 years as an international school teacher, mother, and entrepreneur. Victoria has been a member of FEW since 2017 and was an active member of the Women’s Start-Up Club for 2017-18. As the newest Co-director of the Women’s Start-Up Club, Victoria hopes to share her knowledge of running a small business in Japan with like-minded women while inspiring and encouraging others to tell their brand story with passion and clarity. When she isn’t working in her studio, Victoria enjoys playing the piano and ukulele, visiting galleries, and crafting with her two children.