IWD2024 Spotlight Series – meet Izumi Okawara, Senior Specialist Planning, Sydney

IWD2024 Spotlight Series – meet Izumi Okawara, Senior Specialist Planning, Sydney

“I consider being a woman as an advantage, and I am always trying to look at things with fresh eyes from the perspective of women and the younger generation.”

Entering the second week of our International Women’s Day IWD2024 series, we are delighted to introduce Izumi Okawara, our bridging force between Bridgestone Mining Solutions Australia (BMSA) and Bridgestone Japan (BSJ). Read how opportunities came to fruition and of a delightful twist, Izumi shares a charming anecdote from her past.

Can you tell us a bit about your role at BMSA and what you find most fulfilling about it?

I’m in Corporate Planning, and my role is to analyse markets and to coordinate business planning and strategy in BMSA.

Since I am expat from BSJ, I communicate closely with both BMSA and BSJ; playing the role of “bridge” to connect both teams.

With my work, I enjoy communicating with people from different roles, and there are always new learnings.

What challenges have you overcome in your career, and what advice would you give to other women facing similar obstacles?

Since I joined Bridgestone in 2015, I have never felt any career barrier as a woman.

But since I was assigned to Off-The-Road (OTR) division, it was not unusual that I was the only lady in the team or in the meeting.

When I joined Bridgestone Japan, I was the 3rd female employee who started their first career in OTR division and, I am the 1st female expat from the OTR division in BSJ (excluding trainee).

I consider being a woman as an advantage, and I am always trying to look at things with fresh eyes from the perspective of women and the younger generation.

Outside of work, what passions or hobbies fuel your creativity and energy?

Outside of work, I like walking and exploring new places and learning the history of places.

I really enjoy the Aussie healthy culture and love to bush walk / coastal walk and picnics!

We’d love to bring a smile to our audience’s faces.  Can you share a fun or quirky fact about yourself that they might not now?

 If you know the movie called “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in 2005, I used to be best friends with the actor who played Charlie (Freddie Highmore)!

When I was little, I used to live in London and my best friend at school was Freddie.

We were also born on the same date, “Valentine’s Day”, so we were holding birthday parties together and I remember he was waiting for me in front of the gate every morning!

I am not keeping in touch with him anymore but one of my dreams is to meet him in person again someday.