'I didn't move overseas as a child so I didn't grow up bilingual," says Natsuyo Nobumoto Lipschutz. "I did study English very hard but I didn't get to try out my language skills until freshman year in college. I always had an intense longing to get out of my home country and see the world, though. I attribute that to my father."

During her formative years, Lipschutz, CEO of the Manhattan-based strategy consulting firm Aspire Intelligence and a public speaking coach, heard stories about other countries from her father, Yasusada Nobumoto, an auto parts manufacturer who often went on overseas business trips. "I thought my dad was so cool," she says, laughing. "I wanted to be just like him."

Now in her 25th year of living in the U.S. Lipschutz frequently gives talks in English that are charged with a charismatic assurance that astounds native speakers, and has her Japanese (corporate) clients open-jawed with admiration.