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Emma Cabrera

Head of Japan
Zebra Insights Group

Date of birth: July 27, 1976

Hometown: Los Angeles

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 17 (as of November 2018)

Emma Cabrera
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

I came to Japan as an exchange student at Waseda University during my junior year. It was my first trip to Asia and I was lucky to be placed in a really good host family who took good care of me. This was my first encounter with Japanese culture and food. It was a great introduction to what this country has to offer and I had the best time.

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

“Enjoy every moment.” This phrase is written on my favorite coffee mug so I get to see it every morning. It is a reminder that we should always try to focus on the positives and live in the present. It shapes your way of thinking; even if something looks wrong, there is always a positive side and a possible outcome and Japan has so much to offer in that regard.

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

I was part of a small group who brought the first CLSA Investors’ Forum to Japan. Within a few years it grew to become the largest investor conference for foreign investors in Japan. We brought a new concept that focused on the investors rather than the corporate side; now all the major brokers are doing it.
I am also proud of having introduced internship programs at some of my previous firms. I believe it is important for companies to provide opportunities to young people.

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

My goals have changed throughout out the years; earlier, my goal was to learn Japanese fluently. Then it was to build a career in finance. A year and half ago, I left investment banking to join a startup and my goal since then has been to build a successful company in Japan and to discover and connect Japan’s talented and brightest people to the rest of the world.

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

As the saying goes, patience is a virtue and this applies more so in Japan.
In addition, I would recommend people to go out explore and discover what this amazing country has to offer. Japan is a hidden gem and you must to go out and discover it. The more you explore, the more you will love it.

Last updated: Nov 26, 2018