The Pivot

In the time of coronavirus, I’m sure we’ve all read piece after piece about how life has changed due to the “new normal”. About how more, not most, people are working from home. About how we need to “unpack” an insight from the latest Zoom meeting or webinar. Amidst this backdrop of an emerging low touch economy, is this notion of the pivot. This summer, American media outlets, such as CNBC News, Forbes, and Fast Company, have covered business pivots of entrepreneurs, specifically highlighting those of women entrepreneurs. Even three years ago, Wendy Sachs published ‘Fearless and Free: How Smart Women Pivot – and Relaunch Their Careers’. It’s been incredibly […]

That never-ending question

This morning I tuned into a webinar led by one of my favorite MBA professors. She covered generational differences in the workplace within US society, specifically highlighting traits and preferences of Millennials and Generation Z. As a Millennial myself, some of our “workplace wants” she mentioned jumped out at me: flexibility, mobility, desire to make a difference. But what there wasn’t time for was a discussion about how gender influences these as well.  Immediately after graduating with a business undergraduate degree, I moved to Japan. The plan was to stay one year and return to the US with a job in international development consulting…or something like that. Days after landing […]

Let’s Talk About Money

Money is such a taboo topic. You don’t typically walk up to a stranger and ask, “hi- how much do you make?” Nor have I ever had someone ask me that either. But with such stark gender wage gaps across the globe, for example women earning 79 cents to every dollar a man earns in the US, shouldn’t we be discussing money more often?  The general reason we don’t talk about money is because… It’s awkward. It’s uncomfortable.It’s rude.  Aren’t all those concepts social constructs anyway? Money in its most literal definition is just a piece of paper or numbers on a ledger. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying money […]

Can’t dream without doing

“Manifestation” is a word that’s increasingly seeping into US pop culture. I feel like more and more people are using this vernacular in their day-to-day lives. A Google trends report shows an ever so slightly but surely rise of this word as well over the past five years. So it’s not just a feeling, it’s a fact.  I’m not opposed to this word by any means. I sprinkle it here and there in my conversations too depending on the crowd. There also seems to be an ever rising tide of personal coaches and mindset coaches bubbling up in the market. I even have a coach/mentor. Overall, I think this is […]

Stop beating yourself up

Negative self-talk. Ohhh negative self-talk. It’s the inner dialogue we have criticizing ourselves that may prevent us from reaching our own capabilities. Essentially, we’re our own worst enemies with negative self-talk holding us back. “Ugh WHY did I say that?” “I sounded so stupid!” “Why can’t I get it right” “Is that project good enough?” “I’m not ACTUALLY smart”. Sound familiar?  We all have it. Various research shows that negative self-talk is more prevalent amongst women than men. Instead of completely denying it, perhaps we can learn to manage it. Also, perhaps if we all open up about what’s under the hoods of our minds, we can realize that we’re […]


Saying “no’ and knowing your boundaries

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re an ambitious, overachiever that loves helping others. You’re also probably (slightly) too much of a people pleaser for your own good. Ehem, guilty!  Despite logically knowing I shouldn’t be saying “yes” all the time, I end up doing it more often than not. I also have thoughts about using such narrowly constricting words like “should” and “shouldn’t” but I’ll write about them in another article. The point of this article is to discuss saying “no” to things and knowing our boundaries at work and in life to take control of our waking hours to make sure we’re living the life we designed […]

Mastermind to Level-up

What is a Mastermind GroupBeing a dreamer, a visionary and gaining clarity with the type of life you want to live is important. But the hardest part is being able to execute upon those dreams. Every Irene is a community that not only emphasizes the dreaming part but more importantly the actual doing part so that “one day” actually becomes today.  One crucial component I found that helps me achieve my dreams and keep growing are mastermind groups. You can think of a mastermind group as multiple accountability buddies. A friend that kicks you in the butt when needed and helps you stay on YOUR track. I’m not one for […]

チャレンジしてみないと「もったいない」・It’s a Waste if You Don’t Try

After I got my masters from Oxford University, one recruiter told me it would be a “waste” if I didn’t join a large Japanese investment bank. My first job was in corporate advertising then I worked in Japan on the JET Program and traveled in between so was a bit older by the time I graduated with my masters. I was 27 years old then. The recruiter asked for my age and reminded me, “I still have time” before he painted a picture of the pristine corporate path of progress I should practice.   If I don’t join now, it would be 「もったいない」(“a waste”). もったいない? At first, fear, panic, and pressure […]

残念より「おめでとう」を言う・Say “Congrats” Instead of Feeling Pity

Say Congrats Instead  A friend recently told me her boyfriend and her broke up.  I immediately reacted with, “congratulations”.  She looked at me strange, took a deep sigh and said, “you know what, thanks. You’re the first person who has said that to me. Everyone else has been responding with ‘I’m sorry’.”  We can’t control what happens to us but we can control how we react to things. Saying congratulations to something ‘negative’ allows us to shift how we perceive events in our favor. I’m a wholehearted believer that everything happens for me, not to me so when anything seemingly ‘bad’ happens to friends I also believe that it was […]

はい、結婚と子供はまだです・Marriage, Kids? Not Yet

結婚はいつする予定? 子供は欲しい? Are you going to get married?Don’t you want kids?  The questions every woman approaching her late 20s starts facing either from society or maybe even internally.  Spoiler alert, here’s my opinion: Society shouldn’t have to put pressure on women to get married and have kids. Women should be free to choose what they want for themselves. The pressure to have kids is all too familiar for us women. Questions like Who’s going to take care of you when you get old? Some go insofar as to even graciously offer us definitive statements and reminders like:You’re going to regret it  You’re going to die alone  You’re smart, pretty, and outgoing […]