Kay has over 10 years of experience managing complex projects with Fortune 100s, startups, and nonprofits including the United Nations. Meet her at the intersection of business, technology, design, and social innovation to tackle global challenges. How can I make a positive impact on our world? is Kay's guiding question. Her answer is using business as a force for good.
Raised in Amish County Pennsylvania to Japanese parents has fueled Kay's endless curiosity and desires to always connect people and worlds together. It's also inspired her to travel 50 countries including studying, working, and conducting research in Japan, the UK, Spain, and Cambodia.
Kay is called a chameleon by colleagues for her ability to quickly adapt and work with anyone from anywhere. She has worked in organizations large and small with diverse professionals ー from designers and developers to government officials and policymakers ー making her a great collaborator, team player, and leader with a deep sense of empathy.
Kay holds a BA in Advertising & Public Relations and BS in International Studies from Penn State University. She holds a masters from Oxford University researching global economic and political systems using qualitative and quantitative methods.
Strengths: High EQ, generating ideas, making plans, and getting them done
Leadership style: Kay is a servant-leader
Myers Briggs personality type: ENFP
Hobbies: Capoeira, Vipassana meditation
2018 - Present
New York, New York
Direct-to-consumer womens' travelwear.
Manage all strategy, design, and production including vendor negotiations, contracts, P&L, project workflow and execution. Source and manage all creative producers: photographers, videographers, graphic designers, and printers.
+ Over $50,000 of online product sales in 30 days to launch small business
+ Invited to speak at The New School, Eileen Fisher, City Hall amongst others on topics such as: using crowdfunding to global launch, sustainable fashion, and social entrepreneurship
Fashion is a $3 trillion industry, the second largest environmental polluter, and fuels modern slavery affecting over 40 million workers of whom 70% are women and girls. Makishi Apparel normalizes ethical manufacturing, sustainable materials, and fills a market gap with functional designs. This is my manifestation of being the change I want to see in our world. Business as a force for good. Good for people, planet, and profits.
2016 - 2018
Global strategy consultant to scale European businesses.
Designed and executed Spanish garment manufacturer's B2B strategy for Asia & North America market expansion. Managed all Japanese and English business operations: import and export, workflow, and marketing materials. Worked in Spanish.
+ 40% new account growth
+ 140% increase in sales revenue
Wanted to pivot back to business after my masters from Oxford. Realized business is more aligned with my personality and strengths. Declined PhD offers, interviewed at NYC investment banks and realized I wanted something smaller, more creative, and entrepreneurial. Was also always a dream of mine to live and work in Spain. This was a way for me to develop professionally and live my dream. Declined in-house offers to start my own venture using business not just for profit, but as a tool for global systemic transformation.
St. Antony's College
2015 - 2016
Funded by university for grad school.
Research global economic and political models.
+ Dissertation on Japan's 21st century internationalization policy
Curiosity, my experiences, and belief in systemic innovation. Desired to design alternative forms of global economic and political frameworks through policy. After working with Fortune 100s, government, and nonprofits, I thought - there's gotta be a better way to make our world better (and by better, I mean peace at all levels - individually, regionally, nationally, and globally - because it's all connected).
Each sector had a piece of the pie. In big business, I loved the fast-paced, results-oriented, metrics-driven efficiency of my work but desired more purpose. In government, I loved my community-oriented work for the people but desired more creativity. In nonprofits, I loved our purpose and creativity but desired sustainable structures to scale.
Tried all sectors and thought academia must be the holy grail where real positive change at scale happens ... at the policy level! Maybe top-down change is the secret sauce!
Based on previous work, game plan was become a Human Security Framework expert (see: United Nations Human Security Unit, Japanese foreign policy, peacebuilding) and have other nation-states adopt this framework. Quickly realized business is more aligned with my personality and strengths.
2014 - 2015 (less than a year)
14 countries: Yokohama, Japan; Singapore; Port Louis, Mauritius; Toamasina, Madagascar; Maputo, Mozambique; Cape Town, South Africa; Walvis Bay, Namibia; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ushuaia, Argentina, Valparaiso, Chile; Callao, Peru; Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile; Papeete, Tahiti; Bora Bora Island, Tahiti.
International NGO promoting peace, human rights, and sustainability. Circumnavigated the world by boat.
Interpret (Japanese, English) educational tours. workshops, lectures, and programs on topics such as: nuclear nonproliferation, holistic medicine, sports diplomacy. Design workshops for passengers onboard on topics such as: understanding multicultural identities, alternative education systems.
+ Helped impact 900 passengers lives through experiential, travel-based learning
Resonated with organization's core message that peace happens one person, one relationship at a time. Wanted to contribute to this international community building movement.
2013 - 2014
Liaisons between 4000+ JET Program participants from 40 countries and the Japanese central government.
Set agenda. Led 20-member council from 7 countries to execute agenda. Led qualitative and quantitative research reports presented to Japanese government including JET Program policy recommendations.
+ Designed tool measuring $400MM soft power return-on- investment for Japan's largest internationalization program
+ Strategic partnerships with 10+ corporate affiliates
+ Strengthened partnerships with JET Alumni Associations (68,000 alumni from 70 countries)
+ Established strategic communication channels with Council on Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) New York City and London offices
+ Led complete rebranding of the council from 'corporate' to 'community'-centric feel
+ Increased survey response rates to 25% of JET Program participant population; 150% increase from previous year and highest rate in AJET history
Wanted to serve the JET community. Desired professional challenge of leadership role.
United Nations Geneva, Indonesia, Washington DC
International security think tank
Designed human-centered policy approaches to global security threats. Research included: Human Security Framework, nuclear nonproliferation, soft power, Civil Society Organizations, Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA), paradigm shifts, and other topics.
+ Contributed perspectives on role of Civil Society Organizations in bilateral security relations at annual US-Japan Security Conference in Washington DC
Prior to this, went to Cambodia to research human rights issues as a Handa Scholar in collaboration with the Cambodian Consulate in Fukuoka, Japan. A consulate official encouraged me to apply to this think tank. Was completely under-qualified at the time but had nothing to lose, more experiences to gain, applied anyway and got in. Glad I did! Projects at the United Nations and other high-level security dialogues really expanded my thinking. Was the youngest person in the room almost every time.
2011 - 2014
Japan's largest internationalization program.
Served in local Japanese government. Designed and implemented community programs, workshops, and events such as Okagaki Gender Equality Department's first-ever "Women's Leadership" workshop to facilitate culturally-sensitive leadership building skills.
+ Engaged with 30,000 local citizens
+ Led 100+ community language classes
+ Implemented 50+ community events
+ Increased year-over-year regional engagement in international programs by 14% (2012), 18% (2013), and 24% (2014)
Prior to this, had received numerous scholarships from the Japanese government to study in Japan. Felt like it was my duty to give back to the Japanese community somehow. This was my way. Also had heard working in Japan is drastically different from studying in Japan. Was curious. Wanted first-hand experience.
2009 - 2010
Chicago + Boston
Large-scale digital advertising agency.
Manage operational workflow of projects. Hub to cross-disciplinary teams: creative, tech, and business. Develop and manage project plans, production schedules and deliverables. Anticipate and manage project resource needs.
+ Helped brainstorm clients’ social media campaign pitch resulting in $500,000 of additional business and offer at firm’s Boston headquarters as Analyst for the first Media Operations & Technology team
+ Optimized $2.2MM internal budget using Microsoft Excel, Project, saving $200,000
Enchanted by the idea that advertising fuses business, creativity, and technology to scale.
2008 (less than a year)
Multimedia startup connecting students studying abroad.
Advise founders on national sales strategy.
+ Sold media packages including nationally distributed quarterly magazines to universities (circulation 11,000)
+ Created database of all US universities, tracking client sales nurturing process on excel (no fancy CRMs back then!), cold call scripts and how to close sales on the phone
Loved sales and wanted to try selling something other than knives. Had studied abroad so understood and liked founders' concept.
2006 - 2008
Pennsylvania + New Jersey
Direct-to-consumer, high quality kitchen knives.
Recruit, train, and manage college students to sell Cutco knives. Manage all P&L, office space negotiation, hired three secretaries, create team culture, design and execute business plan.
+ Responsible for over $100,000 sales
+ Built 60-person salesforce
+ Ranked #1 recruiter in regional campaign
Was looking for a summer job. Found one selling knives door-to-door. Family, friends said I couldn't be successful at it, it's a scam. Was rebel, had to do it and prove everyone wrong. Was the youngest branch manager in my cohort.
Masters of Science
2015 - 2016
Dissertation on: Internationalization policy strategy in Japan relative to Japan's rapid economic growth in the 1980s.
Research included: Alliance capitalism, stock market capitalism, welfare capitalism, corporate governance, managerial reform, enterprise systems, Japan's economic rise, industrial relations, how government and industry reform capitalism, small firms and entrepreneurship, industrial policies, foreign and defense policy, citizens movements, policy changes at international interfaces such as Japan's foreign direct investments and official development assistance.
Bachelors of Art, Bachelors of Science
2006 - 2009
State College, Pennsylvania
Graduated early to explore and experience. GPA: 3.9
(BA) Advertising & Public Relations, (BS) International Studies
Courses included: Statistics, macroeconomic analysis, microeconomic analysis, international political economy, world media systems, advertising research, psychology, sociology
Extracurriculars: Captain, Women's Tennis Team for Penn State Harrisburg (Division III); Event Coordinator, Amnesty International Penn State Chapter; Dancer, RAM Squad (street dance club performing for events such as THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world having raised over $157 million)
2008 (spring semester)
Received Penn State Education Abroad scholarship
Studies included: Cultural anthropology, ethnography research methods, business Japanese language
2010 - 2011
Received Okinawan Government Scholarship (only 1 out of all US applicants)
Studies included: Modern history, economic development, politics, from an Asia-Pacific viewpoint
2018 - present
New York, New York
NEXUS unites next gen philanthropists, impact investors, and social entrepreneurs to bring about the most promising global solutions of our generation.
2013 Emerging Leader Program (ELP) alumna
2013 - Present
US + Japan
US-Japan Council strengthens US-Japan relations by uniting professionals across all industries in both countries.
"Kay is a natural leader and an absolute inspiration. She connects with those working under her on a personal level, and delegates tasks and opportunities for both the benefit of the individual and the team. I am very grateful to have had the chance to work under such a capable leader."
- Sandy Cheng, Director of Sales and Marketing, AJET National Council
"She's smart and well-liked by everyone, and was able to deliver on project needs successfully time and again with her superior communication skills and positive attitude."
- Joseph Molsby., Senior Manager Project Manager, Digitas
"Kay thinks big and globally and knows all the small but important steps to take to make things happen. And she has the personality and the self-awareness to engage others in her vision and goals and make them feel valued as they contribute, which I believe is one of the secrets to her consistent success."
- Steven Horowitz, Advisor, JETAA USA Board of Advisors
"She is hard-working and professional, but is uniquely able to bring a sense of fun and positivity to any team she is a part of."
- Penelope Fox, Project Manager, AJET National Council
"Her strengths as a leader mentor include patience, charisma, and the ability to get things done."
- Mike Monroe, District Manager, Vector Marketing
"I have been consistently impressed with her ability to analyze a situation, develop approaches to issues, and find ways to motivate people to achieve the goals she has clearly laid out."
- Matthew Gilliam, Senior Researcher, Japan Local Government Center
"Kay is an inspiring and supportive leader. Even though Kay's workload was at least ten times heavier than everyone else's, she always took the time to check in with everyone personally to check our progress and listen to issues or problems."
- Phillippa Harvey, Head of Japanese Sales & Marketing, AJET National Council