Updated: Jul 13
WCF-Mates! is a segment where we feature and showcase the lives of those who have collaborated with WOMENCANFLY.CO. (Commonly used by Australians, ‘mate’ refers to a friend or someone you are close to.)
In Vol. 6, we meet Sachiko, a performance coach who started her career as a full-time mother at P&G, an American consumer goods company, and worked there for 18 years before going independent. She has been working as a performance coach and is now helping people to create their own careers by leveraging their strengths.
In addition to her work as a performance coach which uses StrengthsFinder®, Sachiko is also an English teacher and the president of 'Co-Next', a community that supports working families.
In this interview, Sachiko explains why she left a stable career to start her own business, and why she started her own business as a performance coach.
Who is Sachiko?
In 2020, Sachiko founded 'Awesome!', a consulting business that utilizes StrengthsFinder®, a self-analysis tool developed by Gallup, Inc. in the U.S., in order to help people convert their strengths into performance and develop the career they want.
After graduating from university, she worked for P&G, an American consumer goods company, where she was involved in product improvement as a raw material development engineer for Pampers, a disposable diaper for infants.
The product she was involved in improving became an explosive hit and the company decided to launch it worldwide. She participated in the project as the person in charge of raw materials and was instrumental in developing 15 new products in 10 countries around the world.
She was so busy that she went on overseas business trips three to four times a year to a total of nine countries from Asia to South America (China, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the United States, Italy, Germany and Argentina).
In her personal life, she got married and became pregnant with her first child six years after joining the company and took one year of maternity leave. At the time, she was the first person in her office to take maternity leave.
Sachiko’s amazing accomplishments
At first glance, Sachiko seems to be a super lady who can do anything and everything.
However, in reality, after returning from maternity leave, she had to take time off work to take care of her child who was often sick, her partner was transferred and she had to raise her child alone. She also had a hard time finding a career she wanted and struggled to maintain a work-life balance.
With the help of self-analysis using StrengthsFinder®, her family, her boss, and outside services, she managed to continue her career.
In her twenties, she worked really hard. In her thirties, her life changed drastically with marriage, childbirth, and child-rearing and she devoted herself to new product development even though she thought about quitting many times. However, amidst her extremely busy life, she suddenly began to have more and more doubts about her life and the meaning of work and around her late 30s, she began to think about how she would live in her forties and beyond.
Before her children entered adolescence, she decided that she wanted to challenge herself to see if she could use the career she had developed in a completely different place while still having time to spend with her family.
She established 'Co-Next', a community for dual-earner families to interact about their careers in order to help others who were struggling with the same issues.
She also established a consulting business, 'Awesome!', which uses StrengthsFinder®, with the hope that people will learn about their strengths, use them in their performance and develop the career they want.
After retiring, she did not let her own experiences of dilemmas and hardships become the hardships of the past; rather, she used those experiences to become awesome.
I wish I had known earlier about the various ways women can work
There was a time when Sachiko struggled to find her own career. After returning to work after maternity leave, she placed importance on communication in the workplace.
In particular, she made it a point to talk to her boss about everything. The key was to tell her what she wanted to work on. It's important to share not only your current desire to work shorter hours but also the goals you want to achieve in the future.
Since everyone has their own preference of what they want to focus on at home or at work, Sachiko made it a point to tell her boss and other members of the team at every opportunity to avoid miscommunication. In order to avoid miscommunication, Sachiko told her superiors and team members every time she had a problem. And not just once, but to keep communicating. Her boss at the time told her, "I'm glad you kept telling me."
When she realised that it is important for everyone in the team to be approachable, she wished she had used the Strengths Guider® earlier to learn about each person's strengths. That's how she later became a performance coach.
She also relied on her parents and housekeeping services to help her balance work and child-rearing. There was a time when she felt self-conscious about having to do everything herself, but she realized that it is good for children to be exposed to various adults other than their parents for learning and stimulation, and communication.
She also tried to increase the time she spent with her children by having "Rice, Miso Soup and Croquette simple-food-Day," "Pizza Delivery Day," and "Eating Out on Thursdays". It is important to decide what not to do in order to make time for your family and do what you want to do.
Why Awesome! and WCF collaborated
Sachiko first met WCF's founder Kimiyo when WCF held an event in Kobe. From Sydney, Womencanfly.co shared the desire to support the success of women in Japan and hoped to do something together someday.
'Awesome!' believes that women should be able to utilize their strengths and develop their careers.
Pregnancy and childbirth have a great impact on women's careers and lives, and that is why we want to create a world where women can develop their lives in their own way, in their own way, by offering as many options as possible. WCF shares this same desire and passion.
We want to create a world where it is easier for women to access the knowledge and information they seek, a place where they can interact with each other, and a world where they can easily ask for help.
We decided to collaborate with AWESOME! in one of the four WCF-sponsored scramble seminars held in conjunction with the International Women's Day in 2021 (March 8th) to create an opportunity for women who will be active in the future to learn about their strengths.
We are so grateful that our meeting at that event in Kobe led to this opportunity!
＊The seminar in collaboration with AWESOME! was "Clifton StrengthsFinder® Experience - Know Your Strengths" (click here to see a report of the day).
Work, Family, and Me-time are All Important
Sachiko is currently working on to realize the concept of "sampo yoshi (three ways are all good in Japanese)," which means that work, family and self-care are all important
She says that 60% of Awesome! is offered to the childcare leave and working-mum community.
Her mission in life is to "cherish the present moment and to be a smiling, connected person to myself and others. Her mission in life is to create a place where people can realize the importance of appreciating and supporting each other."
Having overcome her own problems, Sachiko hopes to help other women who are struggling with the same issues through Awesome! or Co-Next.
Balancing childcare, housework, and a career still places a heavy burden on women and it can be easy to feel alone. Just as couples are different, so are the ways they work.
It's hard to make big changes in society but small actions and support from each other can change common sense and values.
We want to work together to create the future that AWESOME!, a StrengthsFinder consulting business that helps people discover their strengths, is aiming for.
Most importantly, Sachiko, who struggled with her balancing childcare, housework, and a career for 18 years and kept her career on a positive track.
She is trustworthy and her advice is accurate and positive. If you are struggling with your career, child rearing, or co-workers, don't worry about it alone.
We are sure you'll be inspired to take the first step!
Thank you very much for collaborating with us, 'Awesome!'
After graduating from the Faculty of Agriculture at Kobe University, She joined P&G, a consumer goods manufacturer. In 2019, after 19 years of service, she left and shifted her career to teaching English conversation at ECC Language School. Based on her own experience, she established 'Co-Next', a career and social community for dual-earner families, to provide a place where dual-earner families can interact about their careers. Later, she founded 'Awesome!', a consulting business that uses StrengthsFinder® to "help people convert their strengths into performance and develop the career they want. She is currently working hard to achieve this goals.
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