Aug 18, 2021

Sports, Sponsorships, and Events / Feature Story

Sponsorship & Events

Messages from Advisors on Final Presentation Part 1

Here are the brief biographies and expectations from the advisors who are going to participate in the 1st half session of SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS Final Presentation to be held on August 23. On the event, representatives from USA and China will present their ideas and passions. Then they and advisors will discuss each idea to make it more realistic.

(Messages from advisors are added on August 30, 2021.)

Photo: Duane Kale

Name: Duane Kale

Title: Vice President, The International Paralympic Committee

Biography: Paralympic Swimmer, winning 4 gold medals at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. New Zealand Chef de Mission to Beijing 2008 and London 2012. IPC Governing Board 2013-2017 and VP 2017 -

Expectation for SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS project: The youth of today will be the people who will shape an inclusive society for all. Sport is a powerful resource to leverage change. Through sport people strive for success and achieve what was previously though impossible.

Expectation for Generation Z and Millennials: Understand the past and learn from both the good and the bad of history. Dream of a better future and relentlessly pursue that dream.

About barriers: Becoming a disabled person at the age of 22 felt like a massive barrier. But from adversity comes opportunity and I have had an incredible life with many opportunities. What may initially be seen as a barrier can be an opportunity in the making.

Photo: Jemima Montag

Name: Jemima Montag

Title: IOC Young Leader (2021-2024), Olympian racewalker (Australia)

Biography: Jemima is an elite 20km racewalker and Commonwealth Games gold medalist and a competitor for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. She has a Bachelor of Science and will study medicine with a public health focus. Jemima is passionate about creating fun and inclusive ways for women and girls to be physically active.

Expectation for SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS project: I'm expecting to see projects driven by young people that explore the possibility of sport to go beyond barriers such as age, sex, gender, ability and race.

Expectation for Generation Z and Millennials: Generation Z and Millennials have grown up with access to ever-improving technology, so I am expecting their project ideas to be very creative. I hope to see the teams creating clever, scalable and sustainable solution.

About barriers: I must acknowledge my privilege as a cis, white, able-bodied person. However as a woman athlete, I have seen and experienced the discrepancies in visibility, pay, job opportunities and treatment for men and women athletes. The barriers to women in sport are plentiful, but what we need is to see women in visible leadership positions to drive systemic change.

Photo: Sakura Kokumai

Name: Sakura Kokumai

Title: Olympian Karate athlete (USA)

Biography: Tokyo 2020 Olympian, and Worlds and Pan American champion. She has lived half of her life in Hawaii and Japan and currently based in California. She is passionate in teaching karate to kids and young athletes. During her free time she likes to enjoy outdoor activities and also take photos and videos.

Expectation for SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS project: Sport has impacted my life in such a positive way. I am excited to see and hear students' ideas on how we can connect better through sports and technology.

Expectation for Generation Z and Millennials: Generation Z and Millennials have grown up in the digital era and have a constant entrepreneurial mindset. I am excited to see all the exciting ideas they will bring to the table at this event.

About barriers: There have always been challenges in my life growing up. Especially being raised in two countries, it was challenging for me to adapt to different cultures and environment. Karate was something that grounded me growing up. I learned that being creative and also reaching out to people is a way to overcome any challenges. And also through sports, I have learned that any challenges, or loss actually helps you build your character and makes you stronger as a person.

Photo: Aaron Fotheringham

Name: Aaron Fotheringham

Title: Professional WCMX rider

Biography: From Las Vegas in the USA, Aaron was born with a birth defect called Spina Bifida which has left him with limited use of his legs so he uses a wheelchair full time. His first time in a skatepark with his wheelchair was back in 2000, ever since then his wheelchair has been much more than just a medical device--it has been a tool to help him achieve his goals and has given him many opportunities.

Expectation for SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS project: I expect to see a lot of great and innovative ideas that push the limits of what we perceive to be limits. I expect to see concepts that could potentially break down a lot of the barriers that are sometimes present in sports. I expect to be inspired by and motivated by what is presented.

Expectation for Generation Z and Millennials: I expect to see great things, I think it is great to have the younger generation have the opportunity to look at the barriers that we face with fresh eyes and fresh ideas and I am very excited to see the creativity that these groups have. I am very excited to see how they will use technology to help them go beyond barriers and make sport more accessible to all.

About barriers: In my experience one of the biggest barriers I have faced are the limits that other people try to place on me & others with disabilities. I have faced issues with gaining access to places because of my wheelchair, finding the technology to help further the sport, as well as letting more people know that this sport exists. I think the way to overcome these is by first showing the world that a disability doesn't make you less capable - it just forces you to adapt. Second I think there needs to be more awareness that sports like this exist and that is where technology is a huge contributor. Helping others to see and hear about it which will lead to more people getting involved and that will lead to more ideas.

Photo: Gon Matsunaka

Name: Gon Matsunaka

Title: President, Pride House Tokyo

Biography: Born in Kanazawa in 1976. Joined the advertising agency after graduating from the Faculty of Law, Hitotsubashi University. Based on his experience in NPO-related businesses in New York, USA under the overseas training system, he established an NPO with his colleagues in 2010. In 2016, won the 7th Youth Power Award "Youth Leader Award". At the end of June 2017, he left the advertising agency, where he worked for 16 years, and became a full-time NPO representative. In addition to activities centered on creating a place to connect LGBTQ+ and society, he organizes and leads projects including Leslie Kee protraits of nationwide LGBTQ+ peoples called "OUT IN JAPAN" and the "Pride House Tokyo" which recieved official recognition from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Expectation for SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS project: Bring about a sweeping change not only to the social mechanism but also to people's mindsets and behavior.

Expectation for Generation Z and Millennials: An involvement that transcends generations and barriers.

About barriers: Stereotyping of happiness creates a barrier. A sense of autonomy that it is one's own self that defines what happiness is, and the awareness that making choices independently at every step of life is important to become happy.

Photo: Nobuyuki Hayashi

Name: Nobuyuki Hayashi

Title: Freelance journalist/Consultant

Biography: Covered the tech industry for more than 30 years. Starting last year, Nobuyuki began to claim to be a seeker of cultural value worth inheriting into 22nd Century. In doing so, he covers interesting challenges in design, art and education and use both traditional and social media to report them. One of the inspectors of GOOD DESIGN AWARD in Japan.

Expectation for SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS project: Sports have continued to evolve over the course of more than 30,000 years while adopting the technologies of the time. The world today is at the dawn of an era in which technologies beyond our imagination are about to emerge. It will also be a period that will see social values, our attitudes towards life, and the world of sports undergo a seismic change. I have great expectations, as the sports that will be presented here could well be major sports in the 22nd century.

Expectation for Generation Z and Millennials:My impression of the members of Generation Z that I have met so far is that many of them are not only digital natives, but also have an inclusive mindset, ready to accept diverse values since childhood. Above all, they are highly environmentally conscious. The world of sports often saw itself at the opposite end of the spectrum. I am excited to see what changes those young people will bring about.

About barriers:The greatest barrier we face in our lives is our mindset of giving things up without even trying, not realizing that it is no more than an obstacle. If you think something is not right, you should stop to listen to your heart and ask what is wrong and what should be done to make it right, after clearing your mind and throwing away all assumptions. In doing so, meditation and good sleep greatly help. Meanwhile, one huge visible barrier is our acquired character. I myself still have not overcome this, but I think mindfulness also helps here. Mindfulness is a method to focus one's awareness on the present moment, releasing yourself from the future and the past. Past experiences and expectations and anxieties for the future often deter us from breaking down a barrier.

Photo: Yoky Matsuoka

Name: Yoky Matsuoka

Title: Managing Executive Officer, Panasonic

Biography: Yoky Matsuoka is the Founder & CEO of Yo Labs, an independently led subsidiary of Panasonic focused on building consumer technology products and services to help people live healthier and happier lives. As an accomplished executive and technologist, she brings more than two decades of leadership experience to her role where she also leads global innovation and serves as the Managing Executive Officer of Panasonic Corporation.

Expectation for SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS project: In my youth, as an aspiring professional tennis player and swimmer, I was glued to the Olympics. They meant everything to me at the time. Eventually after an injury, I was drawn to technology, specifically robotics, to help individuals overcome physical limitations. I have spent my entire career focused on building technology to help people. I cannot wait to see the ideas this group will come up with.

Expectation for Generation Z and Millennials: I really want for this next generation to be mission driven all the time. The potential is limitless. Through technology they have access to so many more resources, mentors, funding, ideas, and new ways of doing things, than my generation. I think they are very aware of the big problems and challenges we face in the world today, and are already looking at ways to use technology to build a better future.

About barriers: Absolutely, as a female in tech, and as a mother of four, I have faced many barriers and challenges. When I look back at my career, first in academia as a professor, and then building consumer products in Silicon Valley, I was often the first woman to join these organizations. There was no maternity leave! I had to create it. Looking back, all of the barriers I have faced have always made me grow and led to helping people in one way or the other. I have always been able to focus on the opportunities technology can create vs. the barriers in front of me. Currently, the biggest barrier in my life at the moment is juggling my family and career. This is a pain point for so many women across the world. My mission at Panasonic is to help with this problem and to create technology that helps enhance well-being for women and families. There should be ways to support people in the home so they are able to be who they want to be.

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