Facts & Resources

Vital Voices and Bank of America to Host Mentoring Program in Tokyo to Empower Women Leaders and Advance Economic Growth

Public Forum to Address Issues Around Women in the Japanese Labor Market

Thursday, October 8, 2015 9:00 am EDT


"The recent adoption of the Global Goals by the UN General Assembly is a hallmark opportunity to embrace gender equality and women’s empowerment"

On Monday, October 12, Vital Voices Global Partnership and Bank of America will launch a weeklong mentorship initiative in Tokyo, convening women leaders from Japan who are engaged in business, social enterprise and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as senior women executives from some of the world’s leading private sector and civil society organizations. This effort, which is part of the ongoing Global Ambassadors Program, a Vital Voices and Bank of America partnership, will include one-on-one mentoring sessions and strategic planning workshops focused on building organizational management acumen and leadership skills.

Recognizing the potential of women to drive economic growth in the region, government leaders in Japan have begun to implement efforts to tackle gender inequality and boost women’s opportunities in the labor market. Occurring at this critical juncture in the country’s history, the Global Ambassadors Program will enable influential women leaders in Japan to seize this moment, helping them to further develop the skills they need to advance Japan’s economy and become powerful role models for the next generation. The program will also elevate entrepreneurship as a path for women in Japan to leverage their skills and drive economic growth in their communities.

"Global Ambassadors Japan is happening at a pivotal moment in time and demonstrates the power of mentoring to drive social change and have a lasting impact,” said Anne Finucane, vice chair, Bank of America. “Giving women leaders in Japan the opportunity to work with a remarkable group of mentors, who play a significant role on the global stage, will enable them to advance economic development in their communities, inspiring the next generation of women leaders to do the same.”

To engage the public and regional stakeholders on this topic, the program will feature a public forum entitled “Women Shine. Women Lead.” Identified as an official Shine Event by the Government of Japan, the forum will encourage dialogue and exploration of the role women play in advancing economic development and social progress in Japan and the broader region, particularly in relation to women’s leadership and participation in the workplace.

"The recent adoption of the Global Goals by the UN General Assembly is a hallmark opportunity to embrace gender equality and women’s empowerment,” said Alyse Nelson, president and CEO of Vital Voices. “The Global Ambassadors Program and the mentorship it provides is one small part of a broader effort.”

Eleven Global Ambassadors (mentors) will be paired with mentees.

The mentors are:

  • Lisa Carnoy, market president–New York City, U.S. Trust, Bank of America.

  • Maria Mercedes Corrales, former representative director and CEO, Starbucks Coffee Japan, and senior vice president, Starbucks Corporation.

  • Deborah Finley Conver, president, Corporate Affairs Solutions International, LLC.

  • Abigail Friedman, founder and CEO, The Wisteria Group.

  • Lisa Hasegawa, executive director, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development.

  • Sachiko Kuno, Ph.D., co-founder, president and CEO, S&R Foundation.

  • Carol Robles-Román, president and CEO, Legal Momentum, The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund.

  • Tamao Sasada, managing director and vice chairman of Investment Banking Division, Global Corporate and Investment Banking, Merrill Lynch Japan Securities.

  • Janelle Sasaki, executive director of Diversity and Inclusion Services, Ernst & Young Advisory Co., Ltd. Japan.

  • Hiroko Tatebe, founder and executive director, Global Organization for Leadership and Diversity (GOLD).

  • Gill Zhou, vice president of Marketing, Communications and Citizenship, Digital, University Relations and Transformation, IBM Greater China Group.

The mentees are:

  • Tamiko Hayashi, founder and CEO, Wtree Inc. and NPO Social Concierge.

  • Yuka Iwatsuki, president, ACE (Action against Child Exploitation).

  • Keiko Koda, president and CEO, AsMama Inc.

  • Satoko Kono, president, ARUN LLC.

  • Sayaka Murata, co-president and co-founder, Kamonohashi Project.

  • Kiyomi Nojiri, MD, president, Westfield Consulting Inc.

  • Tamae Takatsu, president, Fukuichi Co., Ltd.

  • Miwa Tanaka, co-founder and co-CEO, Waris Co. Ltd.

  • Natsuki Tanaka, founder and president, Advantage Inc.

  • Yuki Uchida, managing director and business partner, Re:public Inc.

  • Maco Yoshioka, founder and executive director, Madre Bonita.

The confirmed public forum speakers include:

  • Mitsuru Claire Chino, executive officer and general counsel, Itochu Corporation.

  • Kaori Iida, senior editor, Economics News Division, NHK (Broadcasting Corp.).

  • Miki Iwamura, managing director for APAC Brand and Marketing, chief marketing officer, Google Japan Inc.

  • Ryo Kanayama, director, Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting.

  • Izumi Kobayashi, director, member of the board, ANA Holdings; director, member of the board, Mitsui & Co. Ltd.; director, member of the board, Suntory Holdings Ltd.; vice chairman, Keizai Doyukai.

  • Sachiko Kuno, Ph.D., co-founder, president and CEO, S&R Foundation.

  • Noriko Maki, president, Maki Communication Strategy Co., Ltd.

  • Toru Mio, CEO, Mio & Company Inc.; board member, Social Investment Partners.

  • Yuka Mitsuhata, founder and CEO, Mo‐House.

  • Alyse Nelson, president and CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership.

  • Jay Ponazecki, partner, Morrison and Foerster; president, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

  • Tamao Sasada, vice chairman, Investment Banking Division, Merrill Lynch Japan Securities.

  • Kaori Sasaki, founder and CEO, ewoman, Inc.; founder and CEO, UNICUL International, Inc.

  • Mamoru Taniya, chairman and CEO, Asuka Asset Management, Ltd.; representative founder and director of the board, International School of Asia.

The Global Ambassadors Program is part of Bank of America’s and Vital Voices’ ongoing commitment to investing in women’s leadership development, a goal guided by the belief that strong leaders are important to healthy, vibrant communities including advancing economic growth. Over time, mentors help their mentees develop critical communications, advocacy and business skills and strategies to advance their work. Since 2012, mentoring programs have been held in Poland, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Qatar, Singapore, Brazil, India, South Africa, Haiti and now Japan, reaching women from more than 40 countries. Future locations will be announced this year.

For more information on the Global Ambassadors Program, visit

Vital Voices
Vital Voices Global Partnership invests in women leaders who improve the world. Founded by then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and guided by the belief that women are essential to progress in their communities, it has partnered with leaders from more than 140 countries who advance economic opportunity, increase political and public leadership, and end violence against women. Programs in strategic planning, business, advocacy and communications build critical skills needed for creating transformational change at scale. Through its global platform, women leaders expand their connections and visibility, accelerating shared progress for all. Visit to learn more.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 48 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,800 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs, and award-winning online banking with 31 million active users and approximately 18 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Reporters May Contact:
Ann Hoffman, Vital Voices, 1.703.216.9528

Noelle Bell, Bank of America, 1.980.388.6791