Q. How long have you been in your current job?
I've been in the cosmetics industry for 25 years. Four years ago, I joined Shiseido in the role of Executive Director based out of Dallas, Texas. I was promoted to Area Vice President in July of this year which is very exciting.
Q. What was your main reason for attending the High Potentials Leadership Program (HPLP)?
I want to be the best manager and leader that I can be for my people. It was important for me to hone my skills. I currently manage 15 people who also have others reporting to them. My leadership style trickles down.
Q. How did you first hear about the program?
I know of several people at Shiseido who were chosen to attend HPLP. In fact, when I first arrived, Professor Hill told me that Shiseido had been supporting the program for several years. I was very fortunate to have been selected.
Q. What advice did your colleagues give you about preparing for HPLP?
Before I left for HBS I had the opportunity to speak with one of my colleagues about the program. We talked a lot about how to prepare for the cases which was very helpful when I arrived on campus.
Q. Did you find the case method an effective way to learn?
Yes, the basic case preparation was another aspect of the program that was particularly helpful for me. Not only did everyone's style of learning differ, but the way we approached each case also varied. I found this very enlightening.
Q. What was your magic bullet for approaching each case?
We looked at the case studies piece by piece, and delved deeply into the strategies, personalities, and management styles. I have a lot of responsibilities, so it was best for me to prepare for each case right before we discussed it.
Q. What surprised you most about the program?
I've attended many leadership programs, but always within my own industry. A standout moment for me was how energizing it was to deal with executives from so many different cultures, industries, and countries.
Q. What is the most valuable gem you've discovered as a participant?
The most precious gem for me was meeting different people from different walks of life and different countries. I work for a Japanese company and it was important for me to be able to see things from different points of view outside our industry and culture.
Q. What is the most important personal change you're committed to making back at your company?
Becoming more self-aware—knowing what my purpose is at the very moment that I'm dealing with a situation or a person. Sometimes I'm more concerned about my answer that I'm not fully aware of why I'm taking a certain action. The program has helped me to be more aware of my actions and more confident in my decision making.