The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

August was a landmark month for anyone associated with Dow Chemical, as it brought the historic merger of two iconic American companies: Dow and DuPont. Of far less significance, August also marked the completion of five great years for me in Tokyo as president of Dow Chemical Japan Ltd. The merger and anniversary gave me pause to reflect.
“The one thing you never delay is gratitude.” These are the words of the late, great Skip Prosser, former basketball coach at Wake Forest University. I am indeed extremely grateful to Dow, my employer of 33 years, the outstanding Dow Japan team, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ). Each has made my time here exceptional and, as a result, I have said many times that I have the best job at Dow.

In that regard, I cannot overstate the significance and exceptionally positive impact the ACCJ has had on my experience in Tokyo. As the first American in almost 30 years to be named Dow Japan president, one of the first decisions I made was to upgrade Dow’s ACCJ membership to corporate sustaining member status. The ACCJ has been integral to my continued education, business engagement, and leadership development through its events.

Being born and raised in Northern Michigan, in a town of 1,500 people and one stoplight, I have always been a big supporter of those with Midwestern roots—including David Letterman. Thus, here is my Top Ten List of Peter M. Jennings ACCJ Highlights:

10. Working with top professionals
Christopher LaFleur and Laura Younger—and the best-in-class ACCJ staff—are client-focused and exceptional at what they do, every single day.

9. ACCJ Olympics and Sports Committee
As Dow is a worldwide sponsor of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, I was asked to serve as co-chair with Jonathan Kushner and this terrific team. We have hosted a number of key events and showcased individuals.

8. The DC Doorknock
I was among six CEOs who joined LaFleur and Younger in November 2016 to visit 45 members of Congress in three days. The biggest learning for me was how well-respected the ACCJ was by every member of Congress.

7. Secretary Pritzker’s Visit
Participating in US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker’s trip to Tokyo in 2014 was a whirlwind of activity and an opportunity to represent Dow on a big stage.

6. Women in Business Summit
Sponsoring the ACCJ’s Women in Business Summit the past five years has been a tremendous source of pride, as has seeing some of Dow’s best and brightest women leaders flourish with the chance to be speakers and panel members.

5. Ambassadors Roos and Kennedy
Directly interacting with US Ambassadors John Roos and Caroline Kennedy—and the outstanding team at the Embassy of the United States, Tokyo on critical matters is so rewarding. To serve and to be engaged in a meaningful way is a great thrill and honor.

4. Interactions with Administrations
It has been a privilege to interact with US Vice President Mike Pence, Cabinet members Secretary Wilbur Ross and Secretary Rick Perry, and other key government leaders both from the United States and Japan.

3. CEO Breakfasts
These interactive sessions are a tremendous opportunity to listen and learn in a small group setting. The ACCJ has hosted CEOs from Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurs, diplomats, non-governmental organizations, media, and entertainment executives to name a few. Each guest has brought expertise, lessons on leadership, and insight into the keys to their success.

2. Sharing Ideas with Leaders
Meeting leaders such as former CIA Director David Petreaus, the CEOs of ANA, Subaru Corporation, ASICS, and adidas, and other premiere executives has been rewarding.

1. Dow’s Liveris in Tokyo
It was my great pleasure to introduce longtime Dow Chairman and CEO—now Executive Chairman of DowDuPont—Andrew Liveris, to speak at an ACCJ luncheon in March 2015 and a CEO Breakfast in April 2016. Andrew has been the most courageous, tenacious, visionary leader in Dow’s 120-year history. We both bleed Dow red and always will. It was the personal and professional thrill of a lifetime to host him in Tokyo as president of Dow Japan, and watch him do his thing, which he does in exceptional fashion.

No organization of its kind has the depth and breadth of opportunities and engagement that the ACCJ offers. I encourage you to get involved.

Peter M. Jennings vice president, ACCJ–Tokyo, and President of Dow Chemical Japan Ltd.