The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Chubu chapter is hosting the Young Professionals Forum (YPF) Mentorship Series for the fourth year in a row in 2020 and has a stellar lineup of speakers.

Inspired by the Kansai Leadership Series, the YPF Mentorship Series was started in 2017 to provide intimate events for those who aspire to become leaders in their companies. Attendance is limited to no more than 10 ambitious young professionals.

To recruit participants, the YPF leaders within the Business Programs Committee reached out to ACCJ Corporate Sustaining Member (CSM) companies to see if they were interested in nomi­nating a talented staff member who is on the management track.

The sessions provide attendees with the opportunity to hear from experienced speakers and to learn how they became the successful leaders they are now. By keeping the number of participants low, each person will have a chance to talk and ask questions. It is an intimate chance to gain knowledge and mentorship.

The five-part series consists of four 90-minute table discussions over a plated lunch, held at the NUCB Business School Nagoya Campus between noon and 1:30 p.m., and a final networking event.

Senior leaders are invited by the ACCJ-Chubu YPF to give a 30-minute speech on a topic of their choice, followed by a 30-minute question and answer time. The remaining half hour is an open discussion among attendees and presenters. Questions often lead to deeper, personalized advice on how to progress in a career and avoid pitfalls.

The 2020 Mentorship Series kicked off on February 21 with Nuala Connolly, chief of staff in the CEO Office at AIG Japan Holdings K.K. giving a speech entitled Navigating Your Careers.

The second session is scheduled for March 27 when Gary Schaefer, principal officer at the US Consulate Nagoya, will give a talk entitled Winding Road: The Career Path for an International Journalist Turned American Diplomat.

The third session is on April 17 with Chris Zarodkiewicz, president of Cezars International K.K. presenting Growing Business in Japan.

The fourth, on May 22, is 5Ps of Life: Finding Your Purpose. Ted Katagi, chief executive officer of Kenja K.K. and a professor at the NUCB Graduate School of Business will lead the talk.

The final session is a networking event on June 19 at which speakers from previous sessions and ACCJ-Chubu leaders will converse with attendees.

If you are interested in sending someone to attend next year’s Chubu YPF Mentorship series, or would like to volunteer to be a speaker, please reach out to the Chubu YPF through the Chubu Business Programs Committee at: 

AIG’s Nuala Connolly led the first session of 2020 on February 21.


While the more than 500 events hosted by the chamber each year are open to all ages, special attention is being given to working professionals under the age of 35 through the YPF.

With a focus on interactivity, the YPF provides opportunities to actively engage in each of the three chamber pillars: networking, information sharing, and advocacy. By participating in these peer-led programs, as well as mentorship and training sessions, younger members can improve their skills while meeting new people and expanding their networks.

For more information about the Young Professionals Forum:

Megan Casson is a staff writer at Custom Media for The ACCJ Journal.