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Kirsten O’Connor

Founder and Director
Quest Tokyo K.K.

Hometown: London

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 18 (as of September 2019)

Kirsten O’Connor
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

My first experience of Japan was in August 2001, arriving to take up a promoted post at the British School in Tokyo (BST). The entire recruitment process had taken place in London, so I was of course immediately struck by the searing heat and humidity of Tokyo’s summer, but also very quickly enchanted by a city that functioned so smoothly despite its population density.

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

Taking calculated risks and accepting you will learn through failure is inherent in entrepreneurial life. Maya Angelou articulates it simply: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” This keeps me building! But the motto underpinning all efforts to build my company is this Japanese proverb: “Vision without action is a daydream,” which keeps me driven!

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

Having been in education for 25 years, there are many moments of pride working with children, teachers and families. But my proudest achievement is building the community at BST, creating an environment where children love school, succeed academically and thrive with their wider, creative interests. I am working now to recreate this love of learning and educational community through my own company — Quest Tokyo.

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

Through Quest Tokyo, my goal is to establish a high-quality educational service point for families seeking professional advice and solutions outside school. Within this I am currently working on building a Special Educational Needs hub here in Tokyo — a child-centered hub offering assessments, therapy and community for families alongside training and support for schools.

Last updated: Sep 2, 2019