Name: Jenifer Rogers
Title: President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ)
Title 2: General Counsel Asia at Asurion
URL 2: www.asurion.com
Hometown: Midland, Michigan
Years in Japan: 16
What was your first encounter with Japan?
I first came to Japan in 1981 when my father was transferred here to become president of Dow Chemical Japan. I was 17 and had just graduated high school. I started studying at Sophia University shortly after arriving with my parents. It’s a bit embarrassing to think about, because that was 40 years ago now, but I’ve had the privilege of seeing Tokyo change and evolve into an international city.
Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” I’ve always wanted to have an interesting life, and I’m a continuous learner, so this quote from Helen Keller is one I’ve taken to heart.
Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?
I’m proud that the culmination of my experiences living in different countries, being able to speak Japanese, and now being back in Japan has enabled me to serve on corporate boards and have the privilege of being elected to the ACCJ.
I’m a big believer in empowering women to choose how they want to live their life. After finishing law school, I studied as a Fulbright scholar in 1988 at the University of Tokyo, where my research project was on the impact of the equal employment opportunity law on college graduates. That was a game changer for me, as it gave me a more sophisticated understanding of gender equality and set some of my personal interests.
I’ve created a skill set with which I can give back in a way that is meaningful to me. I’m very happy to be in positions where, given my background, I feel I can have an impact and be an agent for change.
What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?
I hope to facilitate the openness of Japan and Japanese corporations to innovation, flexibility and diversity and inclusion, and utilize my global perspective and knowledge. There are a lot of global multinational Japanese companies, but I don’t think they’re as global as their counterparts in other countries, so I’d like to encourage improvement in those areas.
I’m also involved in many nonprofits, and as treasurer of the Japan-U.S. Educational Commission (Fulbright Japan) and a board member of the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan), I’m a big believer of international education. I think soft diplomacy and opening people’s eyes to the joys of interacting with people from different cultures can develop mutual understanding, which can solve so many issues, and also provides meaning on a personal level.
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