Yumi Alyssa Kimura: Rising Beyond Discrimination

A good leader is an inclusive one, they encourage trust within an organization and its team members, they allow feedback to be a ritual rather than a process, and courage others to be vulnerable, admit their mistakes, learn from them and they also actively listen. They are transparent and encourage contribution and co-creation from their teams so that when work is getting done, it’s being done with passion and unity.

A Leader Born out of Discrimination

Yumi Alyssa Kimura, the CEO of LEAD started her professional career at the ripe age of 18, founding her own translation business in Shanghai for Japanese and Chinese customers. Her journey towards success was a difficult one. In her own words,

I was then able to get involved in the real estate business, eventually selling a house for 4 million dollars in 2008, earning enough commission to support myself, I was able to attend an ivy league school in Japan, graduating in 2013. This, however, wasn’t without struggle. I would travel back and forth on an overnight during my junior and senior years at college, I worked full time and commuted every week between Tokyo and Osaka.

She had to undergo many trials and tribulations as an ambitious young female in the male-dominated corporate world of Japan and her inspiring journey into entrepreneurship in America. Growing up both in China and Japan as the daughter of parents of a Russian bloodline, Yumi was regarded as a minority in her own country.

She started her career as an M&A consultant and later on became corporate recruiter in Japan, but her dream of setting and working in Japan turned into a nightmare with the manipulation of the higher authority.

Unfortunately, as an ambitious young female in the very male-dominated corporate world of Japan, there were many barriers put in place to ensure that success would remain an unrealistic pursuit. Until an American friend and mentor inspired her journey into the world of entrepreneurship in the United States, back in 2013.

It was an extremely taxing year and a half. However, Yumi was able to graduate without any debt and had a head start on building a network in Tokyo while she was still in college. Being acquainted with business culture while Yumi was still in school, aided in starting a consulting business called Spinnaker Partners (which worked with venture capitalists and startups) right after her graduation.

The Mission of LEAD

The mission of LEAD is to be a platform that fosters employee engagement through matching employees with their co-workers for better communication and career growth, all whilst solving HR’s biggest challenges: enhancing company culture and retaining employees.

Yumi aims to be a role model and lead the way for other women, and people in general to have the same opportunities that have been offered to her through hard work and great mentors.

The purpose and mission of LEAD go hand in hand with this question. Organizations must work harder to nurture, develop and retain their talent, thinking of their teams as more than just human capital, taking into consideration employee experience, rewards and recognition, work life, diversity and inclusion and ways to develop through human, authentic connections that encourage organic mentor and coaching opportunities. This practice, LEAD believes, will teach its team members to be more agile, resilient and dedicated, even when weathering a storm, with monumental change acumen, strategic foresight, and hindsight.

Sustaining the Leading Position of LEAD in Global Market

Why do organizations like Google or Costco do well? Because their products are seamless. Word of mouth, even in the day and age of social media is powerful. Deliver on what you promise, without monumental hiccups, and that’s what LEAD aims to do, not only deliver a solution but an intuitive opportunity to work on employee experience, development, engagement, and diversity and inclusion problem which is uniquely suited to their individual organization.

Yumi expresses her views on the secret behind her sustainable business tactics.

This solution will be amplified by pushing our brand awareness and social media profile by working with credible influencers in our industry and investing in a product that truly delivers on its promise to buyers and shareholders.” Further, she asserts.

The Vision of a Brighter Future

Right now I’m dedicated to see LEAD succeed by helping companies transform HR related corporate development at scale through technologies”, states Yumi.

There are a lot of cognitive gaps between different genders, age groups, ethnic groups, and cultures. Being an Asian, immigrant woman, building up a company in the US and facing countless obstacles by doing so, Yumi hopes to have a real impact by addressing exactly these challenges with LEAD. By helping organizations transform the way they engage and retain employees the process and journey of LEAD itself is an incredible personal growth opportunity.

Advice for Emerging Women Leaders

Confidence and self- assurance is the key. Women are taught to be perfect from a young age, so a lot of women like to compare themselves to women, especially those who are at the top of their careers.

Now whilst we should most definitely be inspired by others who are doing great things, I encourage everybody to aim high, it’s important to remember that a pyramid is built from the bottom. We need leaders and role models at all stages, not just at the top”, Yumi shares her views with the upcoming women leaders.

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