Aska Naito

Leadership Coach

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Aska Naito

Aska Naito

PCC – Leadership & Mindset Coach

Owner: ASKA NAITO Coaching & Consulting

Website: www.askanaito.com

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/asukanaito/

Aska Naito is a cross-cultural expert and certified Executive Leadership coach combining her 25+ years of teaching, training, and international business experiences to transform leaders, executives, and managers globally. Born in Tokyo to a family of successful business leaders, she has resided across three continents in over 23 cities in Japan, France, Switzerland, East to West Coast USA, to Singapore as she continues to globe-trek worldwide.

As a professional salsa dancer and instructor, interpreter and translator, and radio host, along with working in corporations in the entertainment and aviation industry before becoming a coach, she has been coaching unofficially for over 20 years and officially since receiving her professional coaching credentials from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) and PCC accreditation from ICF. Multilingual by nature, she holds sessions and training in English and Japanese and is highly skilled in supporting dual and multicultural background professionals to integrate their cultural assets into their leadership style. Using a two-tier approach, she focuses on the whole-person integration while addressing the three holistic pillars of wellness, growth, and relationship management, all integrated back to the Self to progress sustainable transformation.

Aska believes that it is our human birthright for everyone to be seen, acknowledged, and joyfully thrive in our one precious life. Her mission is to continuously grow as a coach and human being to support her clients to find their authentic Self to live, love, lead and cherish every day.

Cultural Values As Assets In Your Leadership

As a Japanese woman primarily raised outside of Japan and who continues to reside abroad, the most significant accomplishment I value today is the ability to harmoniously integrate my traditional cultural values with those of my Western counterparts. My earlier years as an interpreter and translator undeniably helped me understand those subtle nuances to carve out my unique, authentic identity. Yet, what continued to drive this process was my belief that these differences were assets and not holdbacks, even with the considerable lack of role models or supported available throughout the years.

Speaking from experience, it is especially challenging for women from traditional cultures who live and work in the modern Western world to integrate their values and live across both worlds comfortably. It is particularly challenging when conformity to societal expectations is demanding on both ends, creating additional internal turmoil and conflict. Furthermore, these integrational struggles often take a toll in advancing professional career development as they manifest holdbacks and restrain from stepping into leadership. Therefore, when discussing women’s leadership in the United States, what intrigues me most are conversations focused on cultural values and how to turn them into assets amongst dual and multicultural professionals.

Since early 2020, I have focused more on the gap I felt while living in Los Angeles. Often called the model minorities, Asian women professionals are sadly the least likely to be promoted into management and executive levels even though they are well-recruited at the entry-level (The Illusion of Asian Success by the Ascend Foundation’s report). They also have the likelihood of being polarized into two opposing stereotypes, either the nice and quiet “Lotus Flowers” or the too aggressive and unlikeable “Dragon Ladies” (Forbes article by Andie Kramer). Neither spectrum is obviously enough to encompass the wide range of talent representing the diversity of Asian female professionals today.  

In addition, when I co-chaired the Women’s Leadership Counts spearheaded by the Japan America Society of Southern California last year, I was surprised to hear how many Asian women struggled to step into leadership themselves or entertain becoming role models. As a result of limited role models seen in the media, business, and politics growing up, we found that they internally grapple with self-esteem and confidence when aiming for leadership positions regardless of their accolades and capabilities. So, when fellow executive coach and founder of Asian Women Empowerment Network, Denise Ang, approached to collaborate on building a leadership coaching program tailored to uplift Asian women professionals, I jumped at the opportunity to contribute.

Working closely with these talented, disciplined emerging leaders, we learned how they yearned for fundamentals such as psychological safety and safe space without worrying about judgment, political or racial correctness. Many felt isolated most of their professional lives, feeling stuck with nowhere to turn. At the same time, we found that creating space to have vulnerable conversations around values, struggles, and cultural differences helped them develop new narratives and different perspectives, supporting them to get unstuck and onto the road to integration. However challenging, once they were able to shift their mindsets and accept that their cultural values were assets and not holdbacks, their authenticity showed up, allowing them to start leading unapologetically.

With the world becoming smaller and global simultaneously, there is no doubt that cultural values and holistic integration will become critical components in leadership and leading authentically, all necessary elements to drive us to become better professionals and people.  We know that compromising our values depletes us from connection to our authenticity, a common challenge we see regardless of racial or cultural backgrounds. My hope as a coach is to support this integration process so many of us can learn to thrive, live, and lead our most powerful authentic personal and professional life.

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Cultural Values As Assets In Your Leadership | Aska Naito
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Cultural Values As Assets In Your Leadership | Aska Naito
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Aska Naito | a Japanese woman primarily raised outside of Japan and who continues to reside abroad, the most significant accomplishment I value today
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The Women Leaders
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