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Seventh Annual Women's Leadership Forum and Networking Luncheon

  • December 03, 2021
  • 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Tennessee State Museum
  • 65


  • If you have any issues logging into your member account, please contact plgoodman@jastn.org

Registration is closed

You are cordially invited to JAST’s Seventh Annual Women’s Leadership Forum and Networking Luncheon to be held in-person Friday, December 3rd, 2021, from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the award winning Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.

Join us for what is certain to be an inspiring session, featuring remarks and conversation with three distinguished women leaders in whose lives and career paths Japan-Tennessee connections figure prominently and continue to play a pivotal role in the good they bestow upon the world:

Consul-General Kayoko Fukushima

Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville 

Masami Izumida Tyson

JAST Board Chair

Global Director of FDI and Trade, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

Jennifer Butler

Senior Manager, Student Relations Team, Ashinaga Foundation

In addition to a catered luncheon featuring delectable seasonal fare followed by a stimulating program, participants may opt into an informal networking session with Japan-connected counterparts from across the state, a guided group tour of the Tennessee State Museum and its current exhibits, exploration of the Museum Shop, and a stroll through the eclectic offerings of Nashville Farmer’s Market next door. A special memento of the occasion will also be presented to each participant.


11:00 a.m.       Informal Networking and Refreshments

11:30 a.m.       Welcome Remarks and Luncheon

Noon                Program/Q&A

1:00 p.m.         Museum Tours/Explore at Leisure

2:00 p.m.         Program Concludes

Reserve your spot today for this year’s Forum. Through our respective connections, we all share in the important work of shaping the future of Japan-Tennessee relations.

Per state and local guidelines, face coverings are now optional for guests of the Tennessee State Museum.


Consul-General Kayoko Fukushima 

Consulate General of Japan in Nashville

Consul-General Fukushima assumed her post as Consul-General of Japan in Nashville in December  2019. This is her third diplomatic assignment in the U.S.: she received a Master of Law and  Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Tufts University in 1985 and served at the Consulate-General  of Japan in New York (1993-1996). The Consul-General has extensive experience working with the  United Nations. She served as a Program Officer at the United Nations University (2003-2006) and as  the founding Director of the UN Women Japan Liaison Office (2015-2017), both based in Tokyo. 

Consul-General Fukushima joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) in 1981 after  receiving a Bachelor of English Literature from Sophia University. She has held a variety of posts at  MOFA headquarters in Tokyo, most recently serving as Director of Diplomatic Archives (2017-2019).  Prior to that, she held several posts in the Minister's Secretariat, including as Senior Coordinator of  the Public Diplomacy Strategy Division (2014-2015) as well as Assistant Chief of Protocol (2011- 2013). She served overseas at the Embassy of Japan in Ireland (1985-1988) and the Embassy of  Japan in Thailand (2006-2008). 

Consul-General Fukushima is married with two adult daughters.

Masami Izumida Tyson 

JAST Board Chair 

Global Director of FDI and Trade

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

Masami Izumida Tyson serves as the Global Director of Foreign Direct Investment and Trade for the State of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Masami works to create jobs for Tennesseans by recruiting and supporting foreign businesses to and in the State. She manages and develops strategy for Tennessee’s offices in five worldwide locations whose mission is to identify and recruit companies to invest in Tennessee. She interfaces with international delegations as well as various diplomatic offices and organizations located domestically and abroad in order to promote economic development in the State of Tennessee. Masami is also the state’s trade director.

Masami was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, has lived in the United States since age 18. She received her B.A. and M.A. in the Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University, where she was a recipient of the Sudler Prize in the Arts. After teaching creative writing at Johns Hopkins and then in high schools in Tennessee, she received her law degree from Vanderbilt Law School. Thereafter she worked as a federal law clerk, a litigator at law firm, and in various in-house positions such as at Mentor Graphics Corporation and at Nissan North America. She then assumed her current position in October 2018.

In addition to her role as the Board Chair of JAST, Masami serves on other boards and committees of several organizations, including the International Business Council and Tennessee District Export Council. She is also council leader of the national organization, U.S.-Japan Council. Masami lives in Nashville with her husband and their three children.

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. You can find them on the web, Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram at @tnecd.

Jennifer Butler 

Senior Manager - Student Relations

Ashinaga Africa Initiative

Ashinaga Foundation (Tokyo)

Jennifer Butler is the Senior Manager of Student Relations at the Tokyo headquarters of the Ashinaga Foundation, one of the largest nonprofits in Japan which provides education support to Japanese and international students who have lost one or both parents.  Under Ashinaga’s flagship “Ashinaga Africa Initiative” leadership program, she is directly responsible for the work of the Japan-based student relations team and works with senior leadership on activities and programming of student support teams in Ashinaga’s offices in the U.K., the U.S., France and Brazil.  

The Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI), as an international leadership program, contributes to the mission of the Ashinaga Foundation by cultivating the next generation of leaders from the African continent by providing financial support for international university degrees, along with leadership training and support in order to develop AAI Scholars into compassionate change-makers.  Following their studies, Scholars are committed to returning to sub-Saharan African countries to initiate change, innovation and development in the region and worldwide.

A Jackson, MS native with a lifelong fascination of different countries, and an enduring love for the culture of Japan, Jennifer pursued undergraduate studies in International Relations and Japanese at The University of Alabama, and later a master’s degree in Japanese Studies from The University of Sheffield (UK), with a research focus on International Education Policy in Japan. 

Her early career highlights include working as an Assistant Language Teacher in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka (Japan) under the JET Program; as an office administrator at a Japanese immersion international school in Atlanta, Georgia; and as the Cultural Programs Coordinator at the Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville. During her five-year tenure in Nashville, Jennifer founded and co-chaired JAST’s Young Professionals Program, designed to connect and serve Middle Tennessee’s “under 40s” with interests in US-Japan relations and international exchange opportunities. 

After leaving Nashville, Jennifer returned to the world of international education managing the study abroad office at Jackson State University, a historically Black university in Mississippi. During this time,  Jennifer also served on the Board of Directors of the Japan-America Society of Mississippi; supported special programming of a Japanese delegation from the Prime Minister of Japan’s office to her home state; welcomed a group of Japanese university students studying civil rights under the Tomodachi-Inouye Scholars Program; took a group of JSU students to Japan under the same program; and secured a capacity-building grant from the US State Department to continue developing study abroad programming at JSU. 

In 2017, Jennifer returned to Japan to undertake intensive Japanese language training at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies operated by Stanford University in Yokohama (Japan).  Her studies at the Center culminated with presenting research in Japanese on the cultural similarities and strong connections between Japan and the American South in the cultural, education and economic sectors.

Jennifer spends her free time exploring (lately virtually) the fascinating country, Japan, she currently calls home.  She is regularly invited to speak on and facilitate panel discussions on a variety of topics such as international education, NPO/NGO careers, studying, living and working abroad, and the impact race has on those who pursue international careers. She is an active member of several organizations including the US-Japan Council, the JET Program Alumni Association, NAFSA: Association of International Educators and the National Association for Black Engagement with Asia (NABEA).

Never forgetting her passion for Japan, international education and the benefits of a global career, Jennifer feels very fortunate to be able to combine all of these things in her current work guiding the next generation of young leaders as they prepare for their own journeys all around the world.

With many thanks to our generous sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Event Patrons

Events Sponsors

This event is part of the Japan Currents national series and is presented in partnership with the National Association of Japan-America Societies and the Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C.

About JAST’s Women’s Leadership Forum

JAST's Women's Leadership Forum brings into focus the critical need to invest in the advancement of women in the U.S. and Japan. By advocating efforts that advance social and economic equality in this way, women from all walks of life stand to benefit from participating in society without gender bias. In turn, their contributions to our mutual society fuel jobs growth, economic and political stability, and inclusive prosperity.

©2017 Japan-America Society of Tennessee

Contact Us:

Tel: (615) 663-6060

(615) 556-1928 (日本語)

Email: jastninfo@jastn.org


P.O. Box 330003

Nashville TN, 37203

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