In Japan, I founded an organization called Women on Top. This blog is an extension of that perspective. Although I will often refer to important men in my life, I was happily single from 23 to 44 and I am very capable of taking care of myself. I admire powerful women and enjoy their company.
I have been moving back to the USA from Japan gradually since 2005 and now finally, I am here.
I left a comfortable job at IBM to take myself into the unknown in Japan in 1981. I invested immense effort and time into mastering Japanese language while working full time. In my limited personal time, I took advantage of kind Japanese gentlemen who were willing to trade dating a blonde girl (back then much rarer in Tokyo than today) for communicating with me only in Japanese. Absorbing myself quickly into my cultural surroundings, it seemed that every day was a workday and they were very long.
One of my Japanese boyfriend’s ideas of an entertaining date was to visit supermarkets on the weekend. He worked for Mitsubishi Trading Company in their food business. Just to show how far gone I was, this was also entertaining for me. We took a trip to Phuket once for three days. Three days! That makes for more time in airports than on the beach.
After 10 years in Japan, I went back to LA, then NYC, where I met my darling Ray on a tennis court at the Vertical Club on 63rd street. At the end of 1993, I was back in Japan, as Representative Director of Coors, having somehow convinced Ray to marry me and come with me.
There is much more, which I will get into later. Suffice it to say that there was never a boring moment in Japan. If you want a glance at my career (and Ray), you can jump to my brief profile at the Courage Group Principals page.
My claim to fame in Japan is my launch of ZIMA in Japan. This was a low cost and unique marketing and distribution strategy that was well ahead of its time and worked very well.
I have always enjoyed connecting with people. There were tremendous opportunities to do this in the international community in Tokyo. I served as chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Japan Marketing Programs Committee, which allowed me to hobnob with both speakers and guests. The Economist Corporate Network brought together CEO’s of western companies for spirited discussion. As CEO of Club Med, I enjoyed supporting the French Chamber of Commerce, although as CEO of Barilla Japan, I have to say the Italians had the best dance parties. I also became deeply involved with the Nihon Keizai Doyukai, an organization of 1,000 + Japanese CEOs (and 14 foreigners) that was set up to give advice to the Japanese government. It was conducted entirely in Japanese, so in many ways my early years of language immersion paid off. On the topic of language, after Japanese, I studied French, Italian and Spanish.
Since 2004, I became heavily involved in social media marketing. Social media is a natural space for me combining my natural inclination to be a connector and my background in Marketing. It doesn’t hurt that I continue to love learning new things and appreciate spending time with geeky people soaking up WordPress and SEO tips on the fly. I list many of my social media links here.
Today, I enjoy working together with my husband for Courage Group. As a team we are able to provide clients with everything they need to build a website, search engine optimize it, and learn to use the social media tools to drive traffic to it. Ray is an accomplished graphic designer, photographer and videographer so we are able to provide logos, Facebook Page elements and other graphic intensive work as well as high quality photos and videos.
Courage Group is involved in a number of projects. We serve on the board of the Commercial Marine Biology Institute and Abalone Farming International where I concentrate on Marketing and Ray on Infrastructure.