Interview with Miyuki Hasegawa, Executive Assistant & Fashion Designer in the USA

Miyuki Hasegawa

Assistente-Direzione.it: Hi Miyuki, could you introduce yourself to our Community and tell us a little bit about your current job? What exactly do you do?

Miyuki Hasegawa: Hello! My name is Miyuki Hasegawa. I’m originally from Nagoya, Japan and I’ve been living in Seattle, WA in the USA for 12 years. I’m friendly, positive, creative and open-minded. In my free time I enjoy playing tennis, running marathons and traveling overseas including visits to my family in Japan.
Professionally, I’m motivated, proactive and dependable, and as an Executive Assistant, my manager’s mission, challenges and goals are mine as well. I currently work for Amazon in Kindle Customer Service Department supporting a Vice President and his team as well as his HR partner and HR team.

AD: What do you like about your present job?

MH: I like the challenges and pace in my current role. I am constantly challenged with projects and problems to solve. I am required to be creative and innovative which I enjoy. I learn something new every day. In my present job I have never had a dull moment. Also, things change and move very quickly and I am often needed to think and move fast. It makes me proactive as well as efficiently reactive as an Executive Assistant.

AD: … and before your experience at Amazon.com, what were you doing ?

MH: I taught English after I graduated from university in Japan. After I moved to Seattle I worked in the hospitality industry in various roles, including front desk clerk, assistant controller, HR assistant, event coordinator, and I became Executive Assistant in one of the largest hotel chains in Seattle. I believe, as an Executive Assistant, I’m utilizing all the skills that I gained in the multiple jobs I had in the hospitality industry. After that, I worked for the Pepsi Bottling Group and a small IT company and gained experience working for senior level executives as an Executive Assistant before working at Amazon. I never thought of becoming an Executive Assistant when I was majoring in English and Education in university, but now I see teaching students and supporting executives have a similarity that I enjoy. Both jobs require leading your “customer” to the right path in order to help them become successful. When that happens, satisfaction is priceless.

© H77 by Miyuki Hasegawa

AD: You are also a fashion designer.Would you like to tell us a little bit about your company H77?

MH: I design corsets, bustiers and dresses inspired by colorful Japanese Kimono material. I mix Western and Eastern cultures and create something new and unique. I’m particularly mesmerized by the Victorian corsets’ beauty and elegance and I’m fascinated with the principles and philosophies behind traditional creations. I work with clients for customized garments as well as with local boutiques for ready-to-wear garments. I’m planning to open an online store in the near future.

© H77 by Miyuki Hasegawa

AD: What software do you use, or do you find more effective, in your current job?

MH: I mainly use Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio and Publisher at my current job. As I manage my managers’ calendar it’s important to be proficient in Outlook. In addition to software, knowledge of Microsoft SharePoint is essential and effective since we use it to manage almost all the projects. I also use other web based applications and communication tools, so it’s important to keep updating my technical skills and being technically savvy.

AD: What kind of deadlines are you faced with in your current position and how do you prioritize your work? Do you use a specific system?

MH: One of my deadlines is to schedule meetings that require senior executives’ attendance in a timely manner. It’s often difficult to schedule extremely busy executives in a meeting, but working with a cooperative Executive Assistant team makes it easier.
Another deadline is to finalize details of events/conferences with a large attendees list. I’m sometimes requested to organize events at short notice and I need to be creative and resourceful to arrange everything in time.
Lastly, I often act as a project manager to collect and distribute the information/documents/presentations my manager and his team need for a meeting or a project launch. I prioritize my work based on the meeting/event/project launch date and my best judgement from my experience using Outlook calendar. Of course, there are always exceptions. I have a white board at my desk and I write down the special projects that require immediate action. Writing down tasks helps me remember and keeps me organized.

AD: Are there any business topics you have to treat in more detail? If so, how do you keep you abreast of them?

MH: In my current role, project management is one of the topics I pay attention to in detail. I often attend meetings with my manager to learn the current state of our team’s projects. I also keep my eyes open for the project topics in newspapers, magazines and online.

AD: Given your vast experience in event planning, do you have any advice to share with us for the organization of successful off-site events?

MH: One piece of advice for event planning is to create a check list. There are so many things you need to arrange and pay attention to in detail in order to host a successful event. It’s important to prepare a check list so you won’t miss a thing. Another piece of advice is not to be afraid to ask for help. If you have a peer assistant in your office or a facility coordinator with whom you work at an event venue, ask them to assist you when you need them. When you are planning a large event with a tight deadline, knowing you have help gives you peace of mind.

AD: On your Linkedin profile, we see that you were also “English-Japanese interpreter and event coordinator for visiting Japanese executives” in the USA. Do you have any recommendation to share with our Community regarding Japanese business etiquette?

  • MH: The formal way to address Japanese executives is by adding the suffix “San” to their last name. It’s similar to “Mr.” When a person has a title, the title is used instead of “San.” For example, if Mr. Tanaka is a department manager or “Bucho”, he is addressed as Tanaka Bucho. Japanese executives don’t address other executives in their first name in a business situation.
  • Business cards are very important in Japanese business interactions. Business cards should be handed over in a serious manner with two hands. They are treated with the same respect you would give the person. Do not write on a card that is given to you. During a meeting place the business cards on the table in front of you in the order in which each person is seated. When the meeting is over put the business cards in a business card case or a portfolio.
  • It is meaningful to bring a gift to the first meeting as it’s a way to show respect and establish a good relationship. The gift does not need to be expensive. Something from their own country is well received, if the giver is a foreigner.

AD: Last question …
Do you have any “professional” secret wish that you would like to realize? If yes, would you like to make a plea to our Community?

MH: Yes, I have a professional secret wish and it is to live and work outside the US. I’m particularly interested in Italy and Korea. I visited both countries and I’m fascinated with their culture, art, people and food. I’m currently studying Italian and Korean. With my experience as an English Teacher, an Executive Assistant, a Fashion Designer and a Personal Trainer, I would like to find my niche in the near future.

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