I studied biology in college, and I always had an abiding interest in communications, but I also had a passion for singing. After college, I came to Japan to pursue a music career while working different jobs, including working the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan and Korea, which was a good experience after being such a big soccer fan growing up in Mexico. After that, I worked for a pharmaceutical marketing research firm, and then become a freelancer doing interpretation, event planning, event hosting, even a TV show announcer, all sorts of things – all while pursuing my career in music.
At some point, I realized I wanted to gain more skills that I could utilize around the world, wherever I went. When I was thinking about a career change, a friend of mine recommended PR because it leveraged my people skills, as well as my language skills. I’ve always loved to connect different dots and network with people, and I realized I was doing all this for free. A career in communications would use a lot of the skills I already have, and I would be able to learn new things. I went to go work for a boutique PR firm where I was helping US startups launch in Japan and a broad range of other companies to present them to the world in an easy-to-express way.
Eventually, I had a desire to go to a more global firm and learn new skills, and Kekst CNC was a great place for that because it has offices around the world and would give me an opportunity to broaden my skill set. When I joined, everyone was willing to help and share their knowledge for the purpose of improving the teams overall. Not only from a mentorship perspective, but the whole system of having a PDA to help you and support you to encourage your development is also great. They feel like your success is their success, as well. The whole company culture is geared towards helping each other to better ourselves and work more as an entity.
Having all my colleagues – not only from your own office but around the world – onboard me was also a great experience. There were a lot of meetings with different people around Kekst CNC that correlated to different areas of expertise. All the onboarding sessions differed depending on the person running it, but what was interesting was that not only were you able to learn what Kekst CNC does, but it’s also a great opportunity to meet others around the world that you’ll work with in the future. At some point when you have a mandate that requires those skill sets, you’ll know who to reach out to.
One of the best things that I’ve learned during my time at Kekst CNC is that people can be smart and humble at the same time. I’ve met a lot of different kinds of people in my prior experiences, and I feel like one of the keys to success in your given field is to stay humble, regardless of how much knowledge you have. We have partners here that talk about how excited they are to work with their colleagues in other offices because it provides an opportunity to learn something new. It’s a good example to follow for someone in their position to say something like that.
Outside of work, I have a few things I like to spend my time on. One of them is my role at the MIT Club of Japan, where this year I was elected to become the first female President of the organization in its 111-year history. I want to encourage female students to study STEM, because in Japan there’s a huge gender divide in terms of participation in STEM. In some areas, it’s still frowned upon for women to study the sciences, because for example it hurts your prospects for marriage – which, of course, I find very sad. I feel like having a female face in the role of President helps because it shows women in Japan that people can graduate from MIT and can learn the STEM field. I’d like to conduct events to foster an interest in STEM, especially as the demand for those jobs increases and women have more opportunity to participate in these fields.
I’m also a radio personality, where I host a show that I hope encourages people to study abroad. You’re kind of like a diplomat for your own country when you study abroad, which makes it important for the growth of a nation. If you’re a company and you’re thinking about working with different partners around the world, it’s easy to just reconnect with your classmates in order to start something. At the same time, we want to showcase the different activities that people who studied abroad are engaged in, and I try my best to feature those who are trying to make a positive social impact: one recent guest was someone who is an entrepreneur pioneering in Femtech, a still very new field in Japan.
And I don’t sing full time anymore, but I still like to sing with my mariachi band for occasional events. Having grown up in Mexico, I still have a big passion for the country and its music. We sometimes sing at embassy events or events related to mariachi music itself. We’re one of the only mariachi bands in Japan – maybe one of two.
I want people to hear that it’s okay to pursue a career change or pursue multiple things if you have the bandwidth. Especially in Japan, it’s either frowned upon or people get scared about changing paths once they hit a certain age. I’m sure it happens in other places, and I might be generalizing, but people here tend to want you to do just one thing. For example, I didn’t go into the sciences after studying biology, and I would hear, “Oh, that’s such a shame.” But I don’t feel like that’s the case, because learning different things gives you a much broader perspective; it actually makes you better in whatever career you decide in the future. I want to encourage people that it’s actually possible to change.