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Nicolas Tollie

Head of Japan

Date of birth: Jan. 18, 1974

Hometown: Bordeaux, France

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 18 (as of October 2018)

Nicolas Tollie
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

I studied Japanese during my master’s program in France and my first time visiting Japan was as an exchange student in Kyoto, leading to an internship in Tokyo at a U.S. management consulting firm. I never intended to remain here so long, but I progressively discovered and adopted the practicality of living in Tokyo, the kindness of the Japanese and the challenges of working in an international environment.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

It takes a long time to discover yourself, whether at work or at home. But as you learn from the failures, challenges and successes of yourself and the people around you, you can always improve your way of life and how to make a positive impact on your family, your friends and your network. I also believe that life is short and it is worth taking calculated risks to achieve your goals.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

Over the years, I have experienced different corporate cultures and job types, ranging from banking, to management and consulting, to setting up and leading companies. My first job was extremely difficult as I was immersed in the Japanese corporate culture, which is very different from my own, but I was able to overcome the difficulties and leverage those multicultural experiences to become who I am today.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

I recently took the mandate to set up, lead and grow Guidepoint Japan, a U.S.-based global leader in expert network introduction services. We connect our clients to experts around the world to share knowledge. My goal is to create a forward-looking corporate culture that involves embracing the millennial values and leveraging the latest digital trends. The Japanese government is very supportive of such societal progress, so the timing for our expansion in Japan couldn’t be better.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

What I like about Japan is its practicality of life, unique preserved culture, the diversity in food, safety and security, politeness and humbleness of Japanese people, easy and timely transportation and the social security system. It is very easy to escape from Tokyo to go skiing, enjoy onsen (hot springs) and traditional Japanese culture. The challenge is to be able to enjoy Japan while working, so my advice is to find a job that gives you the flexibility to have your own passions.

Last updated: Oct 1, 2018