2021 is quickly coming to an end and here at kay me we’ve taken time to reflect on a few of our most cherished memories of this year. As our team grew with every new store opening, we celebrated our 10th anniversary with a special collection, as well as many exciting events! Among these were our Exclusive Interviews, hosted by kay me founder Junko Kemi, where we met esteemed guests in the top of their fields in Japan to share their experience and wisdom with us. Here is a recap of our first three remarkable guests who graced us with their abundant knowledge and tips for blossoming female entrepreneurs!
The path to leadership with Ms. Natsumi Akita, Marketing VP of Adobe Japan
On our very first episode, we welcomed our guest Ms. Natsumi Akita, Marketing Vice President of Adobe Japan. Before Adobe, she extended her marketing chops in both the U.S. and Japan (from the likes of Master Card, Citi, HSBC to name a few), handling large-scale global teams. According to Ms. Akita, for ambitious individuals chasing the top, the first step to becoming a leader is to simply envision yourself in that position:
“It’s important to hold an image of how you want to be seen, and planning steps on how to become that version of yourself. If it’s a leadership role you are envisioning, you need to take a step back to see what parts you are missing and slowly take your time to obtain those missing elements.”
From there on with time and experience, you mold into the shoes that you create for yourself.
From large-scale global team management, dealing with cultural differences to male-dominated environments and maintaining leadership, and advancing to the global stage, Ms. Akita shares her seasoned advice in wealth in our exclusive interview below:
See Ms. Akita’s Interview:
Part 1: How Ms. Akita was introduced to marketing, the different work environments of the west and east coast of America and how to play an active role in the global environment
Part 2: How to lead a large-scale team, how to shine through a male-dominated environment and the importance of ‘positive self-evaluation’
Part 3: Your personal branding, how to carry yourself in the business scene through clothing and Ms. Akita’s future goals
Weathering the economic storm with Ms. Sakie Akiyama, founder of Saki Corporation Ltd.
Our next remarkable woman we spoke to is founder of Saki Corporation Ltd., Ms. Sakie Akiyama. Pursuing the path of entrepreneurship in the industrial machinery sector, she has had her fair share of tough times and knows the importance of turning a bad situation into a chance for opportunity – something she has done for the past 25 years to keep her company running.
With the impact of COVID-19, many businesses have exhausted their resources, including their optimism and spirit. Similarly during Ms. Akiyama’s company presidency, she led her entire team through the devastating Lehman Shock of 2008 and not only recovered company earnings, but brought it to a steady increase just simply through a change in mindset. She recalled her toughest memory of the Lehman Shock:
“During that experience, the least I could do as an entrepreneur and a company president was to look at the situation through numbers. I used this to communicate with my employees for them to understand the situation, and… brainstorm what steps needed to be taken to alleviate it. In order to do this I had to truly believe in what I was going to tell them and to make my mind up prior in order to truly convince them with my words and to win their trust over… I learned quickly how important being able to convey your thoughts is.“
That’s when Ms. Akiyama adopted a new approach and what she recommends to those facing adversity and struggling to regain composure: imagine yourself in the worst-case-scenario and realize that it is not so bad. Stepping back to imagine herself in the worst case, where she sat in a dim-lit dingy room, eating a simple bowl of eggs over rice across her husband, she accepted she would be OK even at “rock bottom”. With this new positive outlook and no longer overcome with negativity, it was easier to concentrate on work and for Ms. Akiyama, a turning point both in her life and business from there on.
Check out her story and advice for women seeking global advancement below:
Ms. Akiyama’s Interview:
Part 1: The necessary ‘courage’ of an entrepreneur and the most memorable and toughest moment of her 25-year company presidency
Part 2: The mindset of ‘turning something bad into something good’, how to advance globally and what women in the business world must match out for
Part 3: The transition of career and fashion and how clothing should stay true to you
Finding your drive with Ms. Miwa Koyasu, founder of Will Lab Co. Ltd.
Finally we spoke to Ms. Miwa Koyasu, founder of Will Lab Co. Ltd., a company working to promote women with career opportunities, mentorship and development especially in the rural areas of Japan. Founded around the principle of ‘Will’, a term she uses to describe your ideal version of yourself, she walked us through ‘Will’, ‘Can’ (what you can do), and ‘Must’ (what you must do), three key features of drive that allows one to complete tasks and reach goals and explains why any entrepreneur needs to find their ‘Will’:
“There’s a lot to do, a lot of ‘Can’. They possessed skills and knowledge but no ‘Will’, which caused people to become lost, especially in their careers.
Of course I knew the importance of ‘Can’. It’s important to have skills to be able to complete the tasks at hand. But those who had skills but no ‘Will’, from my observation, did not grow as quickly as those who possessed ‘Will’. Although it is important to be able to complete given tasks, without ‘Will’, people lack the drive to push forward, which is key for any entrepreneur who is planning on starting up their own business.“
Pursuing who you want to be and how to find your ambition utilizing ‘will’, to exercising self-reflection, Ms. Koyasu shares her advice she imparts at her very own company in our exclusive interview:
See Ms. Koyasu’s Interview:
Part 1: Transitioning from journalist, Recruit Group operating officer to independence; working towards the ideal version of yourself and the importance of ‘Will’
Part 2: How to Find Your ‘Will’ and awaken ambition with self-reflection
Part 3: The power of self-expression through color and clothing and her visions for the future
With each interview we felt more motivated and inspired by these powerful women who shared their incredible journeys with us, both in their professional and personal lives! With more stories and advice from remarkable women coming up, visit our Youtube channel and subscribe to stay tuned for future interviews coming in 2022!