After a very emotional and exciting opening night, Day 2 began with a pre-recorded keynote speech from Yuka Shimada, CHRO at Unilever Japan and a well-respected member of the Japanese business community. Unilever has been an OYW global partner for many years, its former CEO, Paul Polman, its current CEO, Alan Jope, and other executives sharing their experiences and know-how with delegates at the annual OYW global summits. Yuka’s message of “leadership as a mindset” was well-received and set a positive tone for the day’s sessions to follow.
SVP of Human Resources
President & CEO
Chief Urban Officer
scheme verge inc.
2015 OYW Ambassador
SDGs 5 (Gender Equality) and 10 (Reduced Inequalities) are primary targets for OYWJ as women and minority groups in Japan still seek to equal the playing field. This session was the flagship session for the Tokyo Caucus and the OYWJ Ambassadors wanted some heavyweights. Enter Stéphane Voyer, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for LVMH Japan and Christine Edman, CEO of Givenchy Japan.
Stéphane took the stage quickly and powerfully, wasting no time to get right to the points he wanted to make about diversity and the power of inclusion. He emphasized that it takes both the public and the private sectors to come together to truly create an environment that includes everyone. Stéphane shared 4 unique actions that he thought could truly create an attractive and inclusive environment, especially for those young leaders who have started (or will start) new businesses or NPOs; to inspire, represent, challenge, and support. He concluded by challenging One Young World to be the change agents necessary to realize a truly diverse and inclusive world.
After a short video showcasing an actual LVMH case of inclusion, Yuki Nakao, a OYWJ Ambassador and Co-founder of WomEnpowered Intl, took the stage to facilitate a panel discussion on the subject of equality. Joining her on stage was Christine Edman, President and CEO of Givenchy Japan, Urara Takaseki, a OYWJ Ambassador and Chief Urban Officer of scheme verge inc., and KAN, a OYWJ Ambassador and gay activist who was featured in Netflix’s “Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!”
Christine shared a number of personal experiences from her youth and business experience domestically and abroad. She mentioned a need for more people to be more aware of “unconscious gender bias” including that she herself had been guilty of this despite being the leader of her organization, and that diversity and inclusion is no longer a human resources project or public relations initiative. It’s real and tangible.
Both Kan and Urara expressed their concerns related to societal structure and privilege. One thing they both agreed on is that some of the words we use on a daily basis in Japan need to change or, in some cases, be eliminated altogether. Also, that people need to acknowledge privilege and that those who have it should use it for positive gain.
Urara, who works in urban development, highlighted the fact that the creators and designers of Japanese cities and products are still primarily men, which leads to designs that don’t take women into account.
The session ended with an exciting announcement that LVMH Japan would be committing to action by partnering with OYW. In Japan, they will start with a collaboration around the annual ELLESLVMH event focused on International Women’s Day and plan to engage with OYWJ to create more awareness and maximize meaningful impact for the empowerment of women.