The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Committee | Young Professionals

October 2013
YOUNG BLOOD
Group promotes ACCJ participation and membership among under 40s

By Megan Waters, ACCJ Journal editor-in-chief

Established in 1996, the Young Professionals Group Subcommittee (YPG) promotes the interests of the chamber’s young professionals through skills enhancement, education, networking, and business opportunities, while providing opportunities for socializing and chances to meet others with shared interests.

In addition, the larger goal is to promote greater participation and membership of the chamber among younger professionals, namely those aged 40 and under.

John Ghanotakis, the current chair of the group, was present at one of the committee’s first events—a presentation on how to network. “The speaker talked very passionately about the various things he did to get a job in the legal industry in Tokyo, and how using a less traditional way can sometimes lead to a better result,” said Ghanotakis.

“I was based in Tokyo on the JET Programme at that time, and the event certainly provided at least one good reason to consider joining the chamber.”

According to Ghanotakis, most committees are either industry or profession specific. However, the YPG’s members come from a vast array of specialisms and backgrounds. It is this diversity, believes Ghanotakis, which allows the group to host events with other committees that touch on their areas of expertise while still being of interest to young professionals.

“In this way, our events and topics of lectures are, perhaps, wider ranging than those of most other committees in the chamber. This is because we feel less of a restriction to specific topics,” he said.

The committee has hosted a number of events since its establishment, including the recent “Transforming the Way Professionals and Businesses Work with Social Media”. But some have been more memorable than others, for various reasons.

“I think the annual Cherry Blossom Viewing Party in Shibakoen is always very successful, as it brings together members of all ages, as well as their friends, in a free event during one of Japan’s greatest [traditional observances]—hanami,” said Vice Chair Timothy Trahan.

“The Entrepreneur/Talking Business Series, run jointly with the Independent Business Committee, allows speakers to engage with small groups in the boardroom about things such as how they started their business, lessons learned, and horror stories.

“This has been very popular with members as it is held in a smaller environment, is a little more interactive than other events, and the speakers often give business tips or tell stories off the record that you wouldn’t be able to hear in a more formal event,” Trahan said.

Although the ACCJ is the biggest foreign chamber of commerce in Japan and has numerous networking events, advocacy initiatives, and committees from which to choose, many young professionals need a platform to enhance themselves and/or their businesses. The YPG provides such an arrangement.

“Young professionals can meet senior executives from the biggest companies in the world, attend lectures on the widest range of topics, and learn from education- and skills-based workshops,” explained Vice Chair Amir Khan.
“In addition, and hopefully most importantly, members can have fun and make new friends and business contacts.”

For information on upcoming events, please visit www.accj.or.jp.

Reina Otsuka, founder of eco+waza, gives a presentation at “The Entrepreneurs Forum/Talking Business Series 2013” in January.

Reina Otsuka, founder of eco+waza, gives a presentation at “The Entrepreneurs Forum/Talking Business Series 2013” in January.

 

Lady Barbara Judge, deputy chair of TEPCO Nuclear Reform Monitoring, speaks at the committee’s event, “Inside TEPCO: Making Changes in Japan’s Nuclear Industry.”

Lady Barbara Judge, deputy chair of TEPCO Nuclear Reform Monitoring, speaks at the committee’s event, “Inside TEPCO: Making Changes in Japan’s Nuclear Industry.”