Skip to Content Skip to Navigation


The mid-point of the Global Ambassadors week together is where mentor-mentee relationships deepen, with hard work and breakthrough moments paying off as pairs continue to progress both one on one and as a group.

In between one-on-one and peer mentoring sessions, Wednesday was a jam-packed day of trainings designed to enhance business planning, financial management and performance evaluation strategies so critical, especially for our mentees’ early stage and maturing businesses and enterprises.

  • Bank of America Global Ambassadors Tamao Sasada and Lisa Carnoy led a workshop on key elements of financial planning, from identifying constraints to growth to refining strategies for better cash flow management.
  • Trainer Karla Ruiz ConfiĢ±o presented her signature “collective intelligence” manifesto, a two-hour multimedia seminar on the power of social and digital media in crowdsourcing global progress.
  • Public speaking trainer Allison Shapira coached participants through staying focused in front of a camera, to prepare them for future broadcast interviews and to sharpen their key messages learned earlier in the week.

It was an honor to conclude the day at a reception hosted by the U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, at her residence. She warmly welcomed our participants, noting “the power of the Global Ambassadors Program is the personal connection between mentors and mentees,” and “this is the generation that can change history.”

Special guest Christian Meissner, head of Global Corporate & Investment Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and our own ZoĢĒ Dean-Smith addressed some of Tokyo’s most influential private and public sector leaders, recognizing the importance of creating a more enabling, balanced environment in Japan for women to advance in their careers and contribute to the country’s economic growth.


“Your brand is not just a logo, it is a promise,” says trainer Kathleen Holland. “It’s a unique bundle of values you that you are promising your customers.” Lessons in branding and marketing, followed by best practices in fundraising presented by participants Carol Robles RomĢŹn and Lisa Hasegawa, marked the end of formal workshops as mentor-mentee pairs continued to work through action plans using tools and strategies learned throughout the week.

The highlight of the day was “Women Shine. Women Lead.” – the public forum on women’s economic empowerment in Japan – featuring provocative panel discussions on Abenomics, entrepreneurship, innovation and the power of mentoring a new generation of women leaders in Japan. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s country executive for Japan, Tim Latimore, welcomed guests who had come to hear the country’s top thought leaders from media, tech, banking and social investment.

U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy also made remarks, encouraging continued discussion on empowering women, saying, “In order to really change society, each of these [benefits of diversity and inclusion] will require action at all levels – government, business, family, and individual men and women.”

Vital Voices President and CEO Alyse Nelson arrived from the U.S. just in time to moderate the final panel, then conversations continued at a networking reception and pop-up marketplace – where some mentees showcased products made by their beneficiaries’ organizations, from fair trade accessories, to elegant handbags made from recycled aluminum can tabs, to child labor-free chocolates.

Read our first and second blogs, follow us this week in Japan and be sure to tweet questions to @VitalVoices and @BofA_News using the hashtag #GlobalAmbassadors.

Visit the Global Ambassadors Program website.

Photography: David Hume Kennerly