This series of video interviews provides excerpts from a conversation with Heather McLeish, Director, Financial Services Advisory, EY Japan, on women in the work force in Japan and what progress has been made under the government’s “Womenomics” program.

Her comments are in conjunction with the latest Women in Business Summit, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan on February 28, 2019 to help promote the role of professional women in Japan.

Heather McLeish is Heather McLeish is a Director EY Advisory focusing on business development in the Financial Services Sector. Heather started her career in EY Japan by building the Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) practice in 2015 and was responsible for the overall management, development and market impact of this business.

Prior to working with Ernst & Young in Japan she worked in financial services and real estate focused firms in Asia, living in both Hong Kong and Tokyo. Heather has experience doing projects in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Heather is American and began her career in venture capital in Silicon Valley. In early 2001 she moved to Japan and has been focused on building, launching and expanding small businesses.

Heather is an active member of the American Chamber of Commerce’s (ACCJ) Alternative Investments Committee, Executive Committee member of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ), a board member of Shine On Kids, a Japanese NPO helping children with long term illnesses and a frequent guest presenter on NHK’s ‘Cool Japan’ TV program.

Women in Japan – A Personal Perspective <Set D>

Slide 1. As a foreign woman in Japan, what changes have you seen?

In this clip, Heather talks about how the workplace has changed since she first arrived in japan in 2001. She sees more options available to women, who previously would normally leave their jobs when they had children. She also believes that it is important for foreign executive women to play a leadership role to help pave the way for Japanese women to benefit from further advancement.

Slide 2. What other types of change have you seen from when you first came to japan?

In this clip, Heather talks about how the attitudes of executive men have also changed for the better. She says that when first here she would see open discrimination against women in the office. While that problem has not been eliminated, it is not as severe as in the past.

Slide 3. What brought you to Japan and how long do you plan to stay?

In this clip, Heather talks about what brought her to Japan, her work in financial services and consulting, as well as the challenges of her initial years when she was new to the country and the language. She today encourages other foreign women to come to Japan to experience the culture and working here.

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