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Mieko Janvier: Internal Mentor

Mieko Janvier

Office: SCOA Houston Office
Business Unit: Business Development Group
Total years employed by Sumitomo: 7 years

“Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.”





Why did you participate as an internal mentor and how many teams did you mentor during the 0→1 Challenge 2019 Program?

Back in 2018, I was one of the finalists who made it to Pitch Day. At the time, I had no prior business operating experience, yet my passion for yoga and spirit in challenging myself motivated me to go for it. I felt that the best way to contribute this year was to give back by being an internal mentor. I supported two teams with the goal of empowering them with the tools and skillset to unleash their creativity in building their innovative ideas.


Why do you think having an internal mentor is important to the teams? 

Internal mentors can help navigate Sumitomo’s internal structure and have a deep understanding of the broad businesses. In the case of 0→1 challenge, internal mentors can introduce and connect teams with relevant business units that might be interested in collaborating and supporting their business plans. One of the most important roles and responsibilities for BDG was to become a liaison between the 0→1 teams and Sumitomo’s various business units. Promoting team spirit, out of the box thinking, creativity, and positive working environment within company are another advantage.


How did being an internal mentor impact your life, career, and skills set?

The mentoring program provided me the opportunity to explore and learn about new industries and different business models. Being so deeply involved with NLu, I realized how important creativity and “out of box thinking” is a necessary mindset to be an entrepreneur in today’s world.  NLu was a women led team and I was incredibly proud to help them and witness their strong presentation on Demo Day.


Why should employees participate in the 0→1 Challenge?

If you are passionate about something, it is worth pursuing it as you never know where it may ultimately lead you. A positive mindset will help you get to be where you want to be. “Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits,” is the quote which motivates me to challenge the obstacles.


What was the most challenging part of being a mentor and what was the most rewarding part of being a mentor?

The most challenging aspect was abstract ideas, developing and refining them into a business plan with a differentiated business model relative to existing businesses. The most rewarding element was participating in the team’s journey and helping them through the process of building out a business and overcoming the challenges together. Regardless of cultural differences, I found a strong value in diversity as it enhances creativity and drives innovation.