As a member of the ABCN Walkathon’s inaugural committee, I could never have imagined that 30+ years later it would grow to be such a long-term, massive event, nor that it would raise in excess of 8 million yen per year for the benefit of local charities. To be honest, at the time, I had huge doubts that the inaugural event would even get off the ground.
I had never been involved in organizing a project of this scale, but nevertheless, Harry Hill and I found ourselves managing the event, which, incidentally, doubled as a 4th of July celebration. There were many moving parts, and I was not completely sure how this was actually going to be pulled off successfully.
I clearly recall one of the first planning meetings that took place in the Lockheed Martin office. Feeling somewhat overwhelmed, I said something that expressed my anxiety over the growing enormity of the event and its huge production scale. At the time, what we were trying to accomplish seemed impossible. I was very young at the time, and did not have extensive business experience. I was feeling insecure about my qualifications to manage such an event and its ever-growing scale. Henry Gomez, who was the director of the FSX project for Lockheed, was in that meeting. He looked me straight in the eye and pointed his finger at me and said, “Boy, there is absolutely no place for that attitude. This will work and it will be a success and it will be the best 4th of July celebration that Nagoya has ever had. We will make this work!”
Following the success of the event, I reflected on the lessons I had learned, and it reinforced the value of my involvement with ACCJ, which was then known as the ABCN in Nagoya. I would have never had access to a guy like Henry if it weren’t for this connection with the American business community. Henry was a champion of American industry, and there he was giving me management advice. That kind of advice and mentoring is priceless, and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
I’m proud to have been a founder of this annual event. It’s so fulfilling to realize how much has been done for local charities as a result. To learn more about the Walkathon and International Charity Festival, please click here.