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 creative projects (Valerie Cordier, with her Hanoi-Tokyo design line, Alex Morrow, with a Southeast Asian home decoration business, Sandrine Romanacce-Smith with her party planning), education (Kirsten O’Connor, who’s setting up a support network in Tokyo) and engineering (Alison Hightman, who’s on GE’s digital technology leadership program).


Clarisse Adom (who’s just launched her app Proliky) hit a nerve when she said that sometimes you’ve just got to go for it. That view was echoed by Tia Haygood, who found a way to parlay her Japanese language skills and photography hobby into a successful business here.

Both groups are happy to welcome Japanese members with international outlook, and Kyoko Nagano’s presentation on her work setting up a company to link this country’s cultural experts with foreigners gave us a great Japanese perspective.


Another theme that came through is how it’s important to be open to reinvention, which was evident in the career of Stephan Boerhof (who’s working with Japanese spas as a consultant). That certainly holds true for Jennifer Cervara, who flipped a job in finance for one as a pastry chef.

Jennifer also provided delicious French ‘Tropeziennes’ to accompany the buffet from Kiwi Kitchen, and FAJ member Erika Nakaoji showcased the work of Japanese female sake makers with a popular sake tasting.

Energy levels were high at the packed event as members and guests of both FAJ and FEW forged new connections and developed new ideas. Thank you all for joining us!