Focus5｜Sustainability Interview A graduate student with a multicultural background who aims to solve social issues was hired as an intern
An active graduate student studying sociology/gender theory.
Has a background overseas and has a high interest in SDGs and DEI.
Currently, she works extensively as an intern at the Sustainability Division of SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS.
Strategically evolve the organization to promote sustainability!
A graduate student with a multicultural background who aims to solve social issues was hired as an intern
SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS regards Sustainability and DEI as the cornerstone of corporate growth. We emphasize DEI because we believe people are the cornerstone of corporate growth. When diverse employees understand, support, and cooperate with each other, synergies are created, and better results are achieved. We hope to realize such a work environment.
As for DEI, we regard the Sustainability Division, which is engaged in various initiatives based on the keyword “empathy,” as a strategic organizational model that we intend to evolve further in the future. Specifically, the company promotes age diversity, gender diversity, and multiculturalism and is composed of employees from diverse backgrounds with a balance of business experience and departments from which they come.
During these efforts, we realized that the Sustainability Division needed “a broad perspective not bound by corporate culture” and decided to accept students as interns. The Sustainability Division seeks people with diverse cultural backgrounds and a strong sustainability awareness. This is a proactive person, studying sustainability in college and taking action on sustainability in their personal life. Then we met a wonderful woman, Ms. Narin Yamada.
This time, we interviewed Ms. Yamada about what kind of work she did during her internship and what she learned and felt, as well as what her intentions were to apply this experience to her own future.
Unconscious biases that I have faced led me to take on social issues
Q: Please tell us about what you are learning in your college, Narin.
At Sophia University’s Faculty of Global Studies, I analyzed the SDGs, diversity, international cooperation, and international politics and learned how to solve social issues. I am currently researching the area of gender in the Graduate School of Social Sciences at Hitotsubashi University.
Q: How did you become interested in the area of diversity and gender?
I grew up in Japan before I began to understand things, and I am often told, “Your Japanese is very good,” simply because my facial features are different from typical Japanese. These unconscious biases, as well as microaggressions, made me secretly struggle with them. Because of this background, I have become concerned about discrimination of all kinds, not just racial discrimination. This led to a desire to learn about diversity and gender.
SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS is a company where you can work with pride and contribute to society
Q: You have had a variety of part-time work experiences since your undergraduate days; were there any memorable moments?
When working part-time at the hotel, I suggested that the hotel store have Femtech products. To persuade the hotel management, I prepared and presented materials on “the perspective that this hotel needs now” and “how solving social issues can lead to business benefits.” My views were supported, which led to a collaboration with a manufacturer of sanitary underwear whose products are still available in the hotel store. Involving in product planning was a great experience that would lead me to the future.
Q: Why did you decide to intern at a company?
From my experience in product planning at a hotel, I learned that giving back to society through my own insights and ideas is a way to contribute to society. I value working in a way that contributes to society and taking pride in my work. I hope that some people will be saved or influenced by it.
When I thought about how I wanted to approach social issues in the future, I realized that I needed a corporate perspective and power that would have a more significant impact than the civil society perspective and power I learned about as an undergraduate. That’s how I came to want to get involved in practical work at SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS, which is actively working to promote sustainability.
I want to make the new wind blow with information dissemination and proposals that value "what I can see because of who I am."
Q: What are your responsibilities in the Sustainability Division?
There are two major operations. The first is to post a weekly report called “NARIN’S EYE” on the intranet, which all group employees view. The second is event management.
Q: What kind of report is “NARIN’S EYE”?
I introduce news about SDGs and sustainability with my opinion. I try to cover small discoveries and surprises about sustainability that employees may not find in the business articles they usually read.
Q: What do you keep in mind when writing “NARIN’S EYE”?
I’m focusing on “making the most of my intern status to the point of cheekiness and writing the straightforward news that only I can write.” By “only I can write,” I mean that I am a woman, a multicultural human resource and that I can take advantage of my honest perspective as an active graduate student. I don’t want to go against my own value, so sometimes I satirize society.
Q:Have you had any response from those who have read “NARIN’S EYE”?
I received feedback like, “This is an unprecedented perspective that has brought a breath of fresh air to our company,” and “It was easy to read because it is written in an approachable way about something that should be taken seriously.” After receiving such feedback, I realized “familiarity” was the key. If I communicate in an easy-to-understand way, people unaware of sustainability will become more familiar. With this in mind, I have become more motivated. Efforts to communicate in an easy-to-understand manner will also lead to “empathy,” which the Sustainability Division emphasizes.
Every time I write with trial and error, I enjoy it very much. Thanks to the warm atmosphere at the Sustainability Division, which listens to my opinions, and the casual environment that allows me to take on new challenges, I think I can express my thoughts straight away.
Q: Please also tell us about your experience in event management.
In October 2022, the Sustainability Division sponsored an event called “Women’s Wellness and Careers from a New Option – Femtech.” I worked on creating advertisements for the event, setting up the venue with consideration for the speakers and event attendees, and reception duties.
When creating the advertisement, I suggested the primary color of a gender-neutral purple, although many think pinks are generally used for a female-themed event. With my suggestion, I wanted to convey the message that we should stop stereotyping our image as “women are pink, and men are blue.”
I was very nervous because the event was held less than a month after I started my internship. Still, the people at the Sustainability Division cared for me in any way they could, so I could relax. When I created an advertisement with an app I use regularly, they were interested and asked, “What kind of app is it?” I was pleased to hear that senior staff, who had much more experience than me, asked me to learn more about cutting-edge applications.
My experience in event management made me realize that the Sustainability Division respects my opinion as a student. I believe that because they value diversity, they respect individual opinions. Even if completely different opinions emerge, they do not deny them but rather discuss them with everyone and refine them into better ideas. I thought such an attitude was very important, and I felt it would be a driving force to promote sustainability in the company.
Q:What kind of work will you be responsible for in the future?
The Sustainability Division plans to support high school and university students working on solving social issues. I will be involved in creating the structure and design of the vision for the project. I also plan to work on providing information on wellness and careers as SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS’ initiatives related to women’s advancement move into full swing. I am excited about it because the more work I can do, the more I look forward to it.
"Bloom where you are planted" - What my father told me is my important guideline.
Q:You have always been active and energetic, but did you receive any advice from your family or others close to you?
What has left the most remarkable impression on me is a phrase my father taught me: “Bloom where you are planted.” I was encouraged to think everything is up to me if I can make an effort. But as I studied international social issues and sustainability, I learned about people who had dreams but had to give up, and I realized that “no matter how beautiful the seeds of a flower are, if they are not watered and fertilized, and kept in the shade, they will not bloom beautifully.”
For me, the Sustainability Division of SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS was exactly the kind of environment “where I could bloom beautifully,” so I am happy to have found that place. For those who do not have such options, I strongly hope to cultivate a field of society where everyone can bloom beautifully.
Accumulating knowledge of sustainability and DEI from a corporate perspective to make a global leap forward
Q: What did you feel through your internship at SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS?
The first thing that struck me when I joined the Sustainability Division was the very open corporate culture. Everyone at the Sustainability Division does not draw the line because I am an intern but treats me as a staff member. I participate in the monthly meeting where all the members get together. I learned there that when deciding what to send out and what measures to implement, one must think from the standpoint of those who will receive it. What is important is not “what I want to do” but “what the recipient will think.” I am also applying what I have learned to my own work.
At first, I was worried about whether I could express my opinions properly if I suddenly participated in a corporate meeting. But I was reassured by the warm welcome I received. Everyone in the Sustainability Division has a wide range of areas of expertise. As these professionals actively asked me at the meetings, “Do you have any opinions?”, I naturally began to speak my mind.
I can speak my mind honestly, and an environment where I can implement my ideas is provided. I believe this is a corporate culture that has taken root not only in the Sustainability Division but in SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS as a whole.
Q: What did you feel good about through your internship at SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS?
Before my internship, when I thought about diversity promotion and gender inequality, I only thought about it from the perspective of civil society and the national level, which I learned in college. I think the most significant benefit of my internship experience was that I accumulated knowledge about sustainability, DEI, and other initiatives from a corporate perspective.
Q: What are your own prospects for the future?
I will start working in the spring of 2024. First, I want to gain practical experience in a company and then try for a post in the UN Women agency (UN Women). Once I join the UN Women, I would like to be directly involved in solving social issues that are happening around the world on the international stage.
When I start working, I will benefit greatly from what I learned during my internship at the Sustainability Division. The approach to internal and external audiences, based on empathy, is a stance unique to SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS, which has a group mission of “Constantly Creating, Forever Captivating – Make society more energetic and colorful.” I think this attitude is cool and want to learn from it. Empathy is key to changing people who think that issues related to sustainability and diversity are “none of their business.” I would like to work with people, valuing “empathy,” to transform society.
Q: Finally, do you have a message for the high school and university students who will play a leading role in the future?
My internship at SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS allowed me to deepen my previous learning further and gain many new insights. I hope to take full advantage of my internship period to continue to gain experience and grow.
I would like to say to all high school and college students that they should try to use their limited time as a student for personal growth.
For example, if you have a question or a subject that interests you in your daily life, pursue it with curiosity. What you learn there will indeed bear fruit in whatever form. I experienced this firsthand during my internship at the Sustainability Division.
Also, try to be greedy for anything that you want to try. I believe that repeating trial and error with such a challenging spirit will feed you in the future and enable you to bloom to the fullest.
Having said that, I am still inexperienced, so I would be happy to work with them in the future to support society.