The Choice — A Conference to Empower Japanese Women & Give Them More Choices!

In late November 2018, I had the great fortune to attend the 1st ever Choice Network Conference in Tokyo about women’s empowerment, personal branding, and entrepreneurship. For half a day, I listened to top women in various industries such as the Chief Editor of a popular women’s magazine — Oggi, a female founder of a Women’s Empowerment Consulting Company in Japan, the General Manager of LVMH Group, and the Founder of the Choice Network.

I quickly noticed that many of the speakers were unicorns in their respective areas and had achieved so much within the traditional Japanese context. And most interestingly, the vast majority of the people I met or heard speak, worked at foreign companies or 外資系 (がいしけい). Thus, it seems that there is a high correlation between those who want to advance their careers at an accelerated path and those who choose to work at a foreign-based company. Apparently, foreign-based companies tend to offer more opportunities for career advancement for Japanese women, and offer a more level playing field. Hopefully, this tendency will change in the near future, so that women who work at any type of company in Japan, have equal opportunities to advance their careers and move up the corporate ladder.

Overall, this conference experience was absolutely amazing, replete with wonderful, informal exchanges, and captivating workshop sessions. I hope to be able to attend many more events such as this in the near future.

The key takeaways were as follows:

  1. Choose a career that suits you best! 自分らしいキャリアを選びましょう!

  2. Realize all the opportunities that are available! 可能性を気がつくことです!

  3. For those who want to advance their careers, it’s best to allow yourself to be uncomfortable! キャリアをレベルアップしたい場合は、違和感を感じたほうがいい!

  4. Wear clothing that makes you feel powerful and a professional outfit that suits you best! If you have any doubts or hesitation about your outfit, then don’t wear it. 自分らしくなプロフェッショナルのルックを作って、力強い洋服も着ます。自分の洋服に疑問か迷いがあれば、着ないほうがいいです。

  5. Self-actualization is critical. You only have one life to live, so live it well! 自己実現は重要です。一つの人生しかないから、大事に使ってください!