Report on TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program

From June 2013, second year GTS student Aoi Kambe has been participating in the TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program launched by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. This is a one-year program for first and second year female university students who seek to gain leadership skills that they can utilize to enhance their careers.

During the program, participating students are paired with professional career women who are their mentors. The mentors offer advice and helped students to develop their leadership potential. For example, Aoi’s mentor founded an organization that promotes social inclusion through sport. Aoi worked as a volunteer staff member for an international conference held by the organization, and she met many amazing professionals in the field of sports. Since she wants to work in the sports industry in the future, this opportunity was highly motivational.

Also, during the program students have participated in five sessions to learn necessary leadership skills. For example, mentors and students discussed methods for analyzing a person’s characteristics. This skill is necessary for exercising leadership, because one can guide other people more easily by knowing their personality. In addition, such knowledge helps leaders to better understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and it give them skills to handle difficult workplace situations. This program thus provides ambitious students with a good opportunity to meet and talk with experts and other students who are highly motivated and aiming for the same goals.

The program capstone will be a trip to New York and Washington D.C. in March, 2014. They will visit companies to meet business leaders and other professionals. After the trip, students will develop and implement either a community service activity or a leadership project.

*For more information about the project, please see the website of TOMODACHI.