This evening, Baby Hope and I broke our curfew to attend a reception in Roppongi Hills, celebrating ewoman’s 17th and Unicul’s 30th anniversaries. Both orgs were founded by Kaori Sasaki, one of our favourite ladies in Japan!
As well as running two businesses, Sasaki-san sits on the boards and advisory boards for several large organisations, is a best-selling author and sought-after commentator, and well-known in Japan for being an international news reporter (who got shot in the leg while on duty in South Africa!). She’s also a trailblazer for Diversity & Inclusion and ‘Womenomics’, not to mention a devoted mum of two.
In 1996, Sasaki-san established the International Conference for Women in Business (ICWB), an annual event which now welcomes over 1000 delegates. The ICWB is no regular ‘women’s conference’. It’s aim is “for highly motivated people from both Japan and abroad to share time together discovering and reaching a higher version of themselves”. Indeed, some kind of magic happens when over 60 high-profile speakers, male and female, spend an entire Sunday mingling with participants ranging from high-school students to some of Japan’s most influential people. Prime Minister Abe has even been known to pop in to give opening remarks.
For the past few years, the ICWB has been topped off with a performance by the Visionary Gospel Choir (VGC), also founded by Sasaki-san.
The VGC will always hold special memories for me. In March of last year, I was attending a Choir rehearsal when I started to feel queasy and had to leave the studio. When Sasaki-san came to check on me, I blurted out ‘I think I might be pregnant’! And I was . . .
So, it was extra special to introduce Hope this evening.
Congratulations to Sasaki-san and the ewoman and Unicul teams!