As a female CEO in a nation known for its male-dominated corporate ranks, Kumi Sato says it is her mission to spread the message that despite the challenges posed by social and gender expectations, Japanese women could "have it all" if they wanted.
Boardroom pioneer: Kumi Sato, president and CEO of Cosmo Public Relations Corp., is interviewed at her office in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Dec. 9. YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTO
And she is not just talking the talk. As a testament to Sato’s decades of leadership in heading Cosmo Public Relations Corp., a communications and marketing consultancy in Tokyo, she became in November the first Japanese to be named "Agency Head of the Year" in the Asia-Pacific region by the trade magazine PR Week.
Sato, who has been president of Cosmo for the past 24 years, said she believes the award recognizes how, despite the prolonged economic stagnation in Japan, her company has managed to adapt to the times and remain profitable.
"Despite the fact that the Japanese economy has been rapidly declining for more than two decades, we’ve been fortunate to continue to be above the line, in other words, we seem to do much better than economic indicators," Sato said.
"And I’ve tried to make it a point when I go around the world that the rest of Asia and the world don’t forget that Japan exists," Sato, a wife and a mother of three, said.
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