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I had an honor to serve as one of the speakers at the Skill Up Seminar of the Women Initiative Forum on Monday, June 3.  I had been involved with the women initiatives of various kinds lately and I was delighted to be a part of the WIF.  Those applied for the event reached almost 1,000! and 300 were selected, I heard.

Keiko Honda, director of McKinsey & Co. started the event with background of this initiative.  The first speaker was Ms. Yumi Okuyama, founder & CEO of Imagina Corporation.  Her talk was very powerful, full of hints from the real entrepreneur who has been very successful, both in the US and in Japan.

Then it was my turn.  As I understood that one of the objectives of the Skill Up Seminar was to make people feel that it is not that difficult to think of business, I tried to make my talk relevant to them.  I talked about my own experiences as well. (I realized my talk was not too related to “skill development”.   To touch upon the skills,   I finished my talk with half joke of marketing my own books!  (Both of my books discuss what kind of skills are needed.)

Then the panel began with K. Honda as moderator.  Rather than us talking among us, we wanted to make it more interactive with the audience and began Q & A very early in the process.  (This is the style I prefer.)  As the audience got used to asking questions, there were many more questions raised than we could accommodate before the end of the session. After the panel, we both sold our books and I had a chance to talk with quite a few people.  (I also received several notes and comments from the people who attended.)

As I reflect back of the seminar, I think there are several things I could have done.  One is to discuss a bit more about the skill development part (in fact, I could have talked about Boot Camp I am now doing at KMD and “Davos Experience in Tokyo” inititative.) and to inform the participants that Keiko Honda is one superb example of how far Japanese women can go.  As far as I know, she is the only one female director (senior partner) of McKinsey & Co. AND she will head MIGA of  World Bank  in Washington DC very soon.

I was pleased to be given the opportunity to be a part of WIF.

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