By Teckshawer Tom
It is imperative for business leaders to be extremely competent in understanding the broader
business issues to be able to capitalize on market dynamics and future trends. This was said by
American Express International vice president for public affairs and communications Misao
Eddy while addressing Hosei University GMBA students at Ichigaya campus last week.
American Express International is an American multinational financial services company
headquartered in New York City famous for its credit card, charge card, and traveler’s cheque
Eddy also said it is vital for business leaders to have leadership competencies that entail having
knowledge on business models and key levers that drive performance and profitability.
“ A good leader must have a solid understanding of the market and the numbers considering both
global and local opportunities. Such competence will enable the leader to make informed
investment choices to bring growth and profitability for the moderate and longer term,” Eddy
Eddy, one of the few role model women in Japan who have successfully navigated through the
often frustrating cultural barriers stifling the rise of women in companies’ corporate ladder, also
challenged students not to have a fixed mindset.
“ As a leader you must not have a fixed mindset but you should always have a growth mindset
that welcomes challenges. Some of you often give up when devastated by even the smallest of
setbacks,” Eddy said.
She was making reference to Dr Carol Dweck of Stanford University famous theory on mindset
“ Some people tend to give up easily when they have a fixed mindset and evidently often view
success of others as a threat to them. They don’t want to be criticized and prefer to listen to
positive feedback only,” she added.
Eddy, who has also worked for British Airways, said students should learn from criticism and
should gracefully welcome challenges because they help in nurturing their character.
“ Dr Dweck’s theory suggests when a person has a growth mindset they tend to learn from
criticism and are often inspired by the success of others,” Eddy said.
Eddy, whose portfolio covers Japan, Asia Pacific and Australia, also gave students critical
thinking exercises in class to rate themselves on the fixed mindset versus growth mindset scale.
Hosei University lecturer for Innovators and Leaders class Dr Seiichiro Yonekura also urged
students to consider looking for employment at companies that value staff development through
“ When you go for job hunting it is very important for you to consider companies that invest in
staff development. In the event that you cannot find such a company, these days there are many
free resources online that you can use to develop yourself,” Dr Yonekura said.
Eddy studied architecture but later veered into PR and management through training programs
availed by her employers.
She said growing up there were no online resources for self-development at her disposal, and
students in the digital age must not only depend on their employers for training programs, but
should also use the internet to develop themselves.
American Express International is often credited for its support of NPO/NGO leaders and
Young Entrepreneurs program that seek to build personal, business and leadership skills.
The GMBA class for Innovators and Leaders taught by Dr. Yonekura often avails rare
opportunities for students to interact with top business leaders and company executives in Japan.
On Tuesday this week students were privileged to attend the Japan Innovators Awards held at an
upmarket hotel in Tokyo. The awards were organized by Nikkei Business Publications and
sponsored by Daiichi Sankyo.
The students attended the awards courtesy of Dr. Yonekura who is a member of the adjudication
By Teckshawer Tom