Member Spotlight - Baker Donelson 

With six offices located in Tennessee, Baker Donelson has been a proud member of JAST since 2004. John Scannapieco, a shareholder in the Nashville office, is chair of the Firm's Global Business Team and also immediate past board chair for JAST. 

Baker Donelson has a unique understanding of the issues facing Japanese companies operating in the U.S., offering broad experience in Japanese business transactions and culture. Over the years, they have served as corporate counsel and business advisors to Japanese clients and represented more than 120 Japanese companies in a wide variety of industries, including automotive OEM and parts manufacturing, electronics and chemicals. 

Baker Donelson is working hard to assist clients in these unprecedented times, and its team of attorneys and advisors continues to monitor and advise on new issues as they develop. In January, Baker Donelson created an internal Coronavirus Task Force to monitor the impact of the outbreak on global supply chains and employees overseas. The Task Force brings together leading professionals across practice groups with a range of experience in the operational, legal, regulatory and governmental issues that are vital to ensuring businesses implement a comprehensive approach to preparing for and responding to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

JAST thanks Baker Donelson and John for their longstanding support. For more information, please visit Baker Donelson’s website and its Coronavirus (COVID-19): What You Need to Know information page, featuring alerts, webinars, and other important business resources.

Nashville Cherry Blossom Virtual Festival 


On April 4th, JAST hosted a virtual Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival sponsors, partners, performers, martial arts groups, exhibitors and vendors sent fun and engaging videos for the virtual festival. Missed virtual festival day? You can watch the videos HERE.

Former JAST Board Chair, Christine Karbowiak Receives Order of the Rising Sun


Chris Karbowiak, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Risk Officer and Executive Vice President, Bridgestone Americas, has been awarded The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette for her contribution to promoting friendly relations and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States. The Government of Japan announced the Spring Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals on April 29, 2020. As Bridgestone Americas’ representative, Chris was among the founding members of JAST and later served as the organization’s Board Chair from August of 2010 until June of 2014.

Key milestones achieved during her long tenure with and support of JAST, particularly as JAST’s Board Chair, that contributed to strengthening of Tennessee-Japan relations include:

  • Hosting the Annual Joint Meeting of the SEUS/Japan and Japan-US SE Associations in Nashville in 2010;
  • Major support for establishment of the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival through Bridgestone America’s Trust Fund and serving on the Advisory Council during the “Centennial of the Trees Celebration” in 2012;
  • Raising and donating nearly $200,000 in funds through JAST for the victims of the Great Tohoku Earthquake in 2011.

The Order of the Rising Sun was established in 1875. The conferment of the decoration is a privilege of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to Japan’s ties with foreign nations.

Welcome New JAST Members 

-Corporate Member

Haley L. Lee, MBA 


-Individual Member

Steve Kenerson 


JAST Staff Update


Ginger Byrn - Executive Administrator 

  • Hometown - Nashville 
  • Years at JAST - 7+ years 
  • Favorite JAST event - The Festivals - Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival and Memphis Japan Festival
  • Favorite place in Japan - Fushimi Inari Shrine's Senbon Torii in Kyoto

Mari Yamamoto - Manager, Japanese Community Outreach and Support Services

  • Hometown - Tokyo, Japan
  • Years at JAST - Affiliated since 2007
  • Favorite JAST event - SEUS in Japan
  • Favorite place in Japan - Tokyo 

Peyton Goodman - Operations & Program Coordinator 

  • Hometown - Vine Grove, KY 
  • Time at JAST - 8 months 
  • Favorite JAST event - Memphis Japan Festival 
  • Favorite place in Japan - Udou Shrine in Miyazaki Prefecture  

Partner Resources COVID-19 

Office: +1 615-663-6060

Facebook • Twitter • LinkedIn