As a high school student, I struggled with the decision to attend medical school or engineering school. In my hometown of Tsukuba, Japan, when I was younger, I had the opportunity to learn about Research and Development (R&D) engineering through Japanese government science initiatives and living near where many manufacturers located their R&D centers. It was a science expo showcasing 3D technology and a robotic dancer, where I met with R&D engineers, that ultimately inspired me to pursue a career in engineering which, at the time, was not the norm for a woman in Japan. My college in Tokyo hosted only three women students out of 200 total in my class. Engineering was not the typical first-choice education track for women students at that time.
I first joined Goldman Sachs as an intern in 2000, where I worked on a desktop video conferencing solution that enabled video communication via desktop computer. During this project, I worked with several teams located across multiple regions and gained an appreciation for the collaborative culture of the firm. I joined full time in 2001 as a new analyst in the Engineering Division on the Multimedia team. One of the highlights of my internship was the extent to which I had access to subject matter experts (SME) in Tokyo – both men and women. My team was quite diverse, and from the beginning I was given both technical and cultural support from my manager, teammates and mentors. Specifically, I was assigned a woman mentor who guided me through the culture of Goldman Sachs, helping me navigate teamwork initiatives, typical communication standards and how to gather that consensus in a team environment.
My interview process was quite insightful. I attended a two-day recruiting event hosted by Tokyo Engineering throughout which I met with individuals from multiple divisions at the firm, such as the Investment Banking Division, Global Investment Research, and Engineering. As I learned about the various engineering roles through these conversations, I was attracted to the innovative culture within Engineering and how much engineering played a critical role in every business.
Today, I manage the Real Time Communication team globally, which hosts the voice and multimedia function under the Workplace Engineering team umbrella within Corporate Engineering. Our team provides telephony and multimedia strategy including all of telephony services, Trader Voice (Turret/dealer phone architecture), the firm’s Contact Center platform, conference room solutions, internal television distribution, streaming media and digital signage. Recently, one of our main projects was to upgrade the internal video conference rooms with new hardware to allow self-service video for improving the end-to-end video conferencing experience. The resulting product, “Zoom,” produced a ubiquitous conferencing solution with audio and video screen sharing, white boarding, transcription, webcast, and screen recording capabilities, and more.
Being an engineer gives me the opportunity to empower the firm’s business and its clients. Leveraging subject matter experts and collaborating allows us to drive global initiatives based on priorities, and build a strong team with shared accountability and credibility. Engineering at Goldman Sachs promotes a strong team culture, where team consensus is highly valued. The firm also provides significant career support for women engineers. The Women in Engineering (WE) Network, for example, connects women engineers in multiple regions through several events, from the Women in Engineering (WE) Townhall, to fireside chats with Goldman Sachs' women Engineering leadership, helping myself and other engineers build our women engineer networks.
I am the current co-chief of staff of the Asia Pacific Female Managing Director Network Committee. Over the last year, I have worked with women members of the Managing Director Network to organize and implement events such as vice president and managing director roundtable sessions in Tokyo. These sessions are designed to provide insight to our colleagues on topics such as making their voices heard, managing work-life balance, and implementing global visibility.
Outside of the office, I practice yoga. From hot yoga, to Aerial and Vikram, I find that practicing yoga both refreshes and frees up my mind. I am also involved in the Teacher-Parent Association at my son’s school, where I work collaboratively with other parents, teachers and students.
My advice to people at the start of their careers is to not hesitate to make your voice heard. Make the effort to communicate with your team members to exchange ideas and ask questions. Leveraging your team members provides a unique learning opportunity, where you can tap in to insight and advice that you might not have received otherwise.