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Roadmap to Success: A Marketing/Communications Expert Shares Lifelong Lessons

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“If you can imagine it, you can create it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward

A Road to Success: Highway 99 in Seattle, WA - Plane Views ~ via EOF

Megumi Oyanagi: Building Bridges to Success through Motivation and Lifelong Learning
I used to visit my favorite social network sites, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Triiibes, several times a week to catch up and update my friends, family and associates. Because I have a very busy work schedule, I find that, lately, my visits have been infrequent. When I do visit, I make the best use of my time by visiting my friends’ pages, reading their blogs and getting to know/support them a lot better.

Recently, during one such foray on Twitter, I stopped by Megumi “Meg” Oyanagi’s page and was impressed by her bio and upbeat mood. Meg and I have been Twitter friends for a while and she always sends heartfelt Thank Yous on #Follow Friday (A special way of thanking/praising twitter friends and building support; especially on Fridays) and when people retweet (RT –resending a comment or tweet sent out by another on twitter) her tweets. Meg’s tweets are friendly and positive and her twitter photo shows a warm smile on her face.

I felt a good connection and positive energy from this wonderful Communications Specialist, Marketer, writer/blogger, and motivational Executive Assistant at Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Osaka, Japan and it occurred to me to invite her to share her work and views with us. I was delighted when she accepted the invite.

Aside from our Twitter friendship, Megumi and I share a common bond; we spent parts of our lives in the UK. Reaching out to her also brought back wonderful memories of Japan. I went to Japan with my children two years ago and it was the best vacation with many positive experiences; plus, one of my kids speaks Japanese. I love making connections with people from different cultural backgrounds and experiences as I believe that global peace begins with respecting and learning from each other.

Please welcome Megumi Oyanagi and share your views and comments below. Megumi is definitely a marvelous kismet connection. Thank you!

“A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.” – H. Stanley Judd

Learning Success: Meg Oyanagi and view of Mt Fuji

Foundation Questions:

Tell us a bit on your background: Who are you? Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I view myself as Japanese with a unique background; a dual education in Japan and the U.K. I was born in Ehime Prefecture, Japan and moved to Osaka when I was 4 years old. I lived in Osaka until the age of 8 when, suddenly, my family moved to the U.K. (Cardiff, Wales) for my father’s business. I did not really know what the move was all about; I had lived 100% in my Japanese society receiving a Japanese education – I did not know English at all! Even the simplest English words – “yes” and “no” – meant nothing to me.

For the first 6 months, my brother and I went to a school where they had a class to teach English conversation to children who came from non-English speaking countries. Then we moved to the local school, where we were the only pupils from Japan. I remember, at first, my classmates used to look at me when words such as “Japan” or “Japanese” came up in class.

After receiving a British education and preparing/passing my O Levels (subject based qualification to go on studying after compulsory education , replaced by GCSE), my teachers were confident that with my academic performance I would have no problem doing my A Levels (standard entry qualification for assessing suitability of applicants for academic courses in UK Universities) and getting into a university. However one day, suddenly, at age 15, I was told that we were returning to Japan.

Since school resumed at different times of the year (September for the U.K. and April for Japan) in both countries, I stayed for 3 extra months after my family went back to Japan. I was a home stay student for a U.K. family who served as my official guardians and took good care of me until I finished the school year and returned home to Osaka. Months later, I was back in Osaka, and have lived there since.

After my return to Japan, I went to a “normal” senior high school (not an international school) like every other child brought up in Japan, and sat for the “normal” university entrance examination (no advantage for a returnee). I started my career at Panasonic, a typical Japanese company, based in Osaka.

What do you do for a living?
I have always worked for global companies for a living. I first worked at Panasonic as a Product/Corporate Marketer, and now I work as an Executive Assistant & Communication Specialist in Pharmaceutical Operations for Novartis, where I energize, motivate and guide employees on how to navigate the system.

“If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.” Jim Rohn

Motivate by Ballooning: Japan Alps in Nagano prefecture.

Why did you choose the path you now follow?
Under the concept of “career drift” and “planned providence” I chose which path/option to take at milestones in my life but I would say I was guided. With my background, I believed that I would be placed overseas in a trade department; so, it was a big surprise and shock for me (and my friends) that I started my career as a product marketer for the domestic market. After 2½ years, I was transferred to the overseas market business.

Looking back, I feel my experience in the domestic market division was significant because this was where I learned the basics of working in a company and of marketing. Considering this incident, I feel all of my experiences have had some significance, although they might have seemed to be detours at the time.

When did you decide to make key changes in your life?
My first big life changing decision was returning to Japan at the age of 15 because I was thinking of finishing my education in the U.K. To tell the truth, I wanted to stay in the U.K. but thinking about my parents, I convinced myself to return to Japan.

I decided to make key changes in my life in my late 20s when I seriously started to think about my career and life. To change my life, I first decided to transfer from my Division (product marketer, leveraging traditional media only) to G&G (Global & Group) HQ, through an internal job posting system at Panasonic, to start Internet/web marketing even though I was absolutely IT illiterate. Luckily, at the time, they were desperate for someone with a strong global and content background so they hired me on condition that I learn about the Internet. This opened up a door to the Internet world, corporate world, and the world of start-ups; I focused on vision/strategy/roadmap development, winning approvals, acquiring resources and more.

The second decision was doing an MBA program while working at Panasonic G&G HQ. I had been thinking of acquiring an MBA during my mid 20s but I did not have the courage to take the risk of investing the time and money, leaving the company, and relocating abroad to study for 2 years (many Japanese companies do have systems of paying and allowing selected employees to study abroad, but most companies do not select females). A number of MBA programs that enable motivated employees to acquire an MBA in Japan without interrupting our careers became available and I made the most of it.

After I completed my MBA program, my third life changing decision was seeking new job opportunities outside my former company. With some effort, I landed at my current role at Novartis, which is primarily energizing and guiding employees at our site to achieve the company goal. I focus on three key goals; change management, diversity and inclusion.

Share your world view: How do you live your life and manage your household?
The Key words and phrases that resonate with me on how to live my life and manage my household by are: “passion”, “understanding and supporting family, colleagues, friends, business partners”, and “prioritization”.

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” Jim Rohn

Lifelong Lessons come through many Channels...

Reflective Questions:

What motivates you to get out of bed?
My plans for the day, i.e. the things waiting for me to be done, make me get out of bed. If I have a plan to go on a vacation, that motivates me to get of bed as well. I love going to places with beautiful landscapes and enjoying the beauty of nature; it really makes me feel refreshed.

When I go back to bed in the evening, I look back on what I did during the day to review my achievements, contributions,and growth opportunities and then I refocus on the meaning of my day to maintain my motivation.

What makes you happy/laugh?
Spending time and interacting with people I love – my family and friends, achieving self-development goals within my organization, and being a contributing member of my society/community/organization make me happy/laugh. I am able to recognize and confirm my raison d’etre through my various connections.

What makes you sad/mad?
Fighting/quarreling at all levels all levels; be it in a country, an organization, or amongst individuals and betrayal/deceit make me sad/mad. I value and believe in peace, a Win-Win (co-prosperity) attitude and integrity.

What would you do differently with your life if you had the power? With the world if you had the choice?
If I had the power and if I had the choice, I would change/improve the society/community I belong to. I would strive to achieve the goal of making my industry high performing for growth, making my society more prosperous, sustainable and a better place for people to live.

Also, I would take measures to make Japanese people more competitive and enhance their presence in the flat, global world depicted by Thomas L. Friedman in his book; The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. This is because I feel that Japanese people are under-represented in global business and in the online world; social media and online communities.

The fact that Japanese people are under-represented may well be what Dr. Kenichi Ohmae, a Japanese management guru and author of The Mind of the Strategist, often points out in his presentations. He says that, unlike the era during which the founders of global Japanese companies such as Sony, Honda and Panasonic were energetic in growing and globalizing their company, there are few Japanese “professional” business entities that are truly competitive in the global business environment today. To me, it is not simply a language (English) issue. People are the most important asset of a country and a natural source for fostering a competitive spirit; therefore, I feel this is a critical issue.

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” Jim Rohn

Happiness is: A spontaneous and successful Boat ride...

What guiding principle(s) do you follow to make your life meaningful?
I believe that: 1) Every incident and experience has meaning in life.
2) We learn from experience; from our successes and failures.
3) People who are proactive in lifelong learning will succeed and be truly happy. Learning is not necessarily learning academics. It includes learning issues that impact our humanity as well.

What word(s) of advice would you give to others today?
Believe in yourself and your potential.
Keep pursuing your dream/mission with passion, persistence and integrity, and keep moving forward.
Always be positive not just optimistic. There is no real threat, risk or failure that cannot be converted into something positive.
With positive and “out-of-the box” thinking, creativity and flexibility, threats, risks and failures can be converted to opportunity/chance. This leads to innovation and breakthroughs.
Practicing the pointers above, you will have supporters, and will achieve your dream/mission in the end. I believe God is on the side of people who make effort.

How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a lifelong learner who made a difference by contributing to the growth of my community and my identity. Today, I understand that my identity includes the fact that I am a Japanese citizen who can be a bridge to other countries and global networks. I understand and can handle the Internet (including social media) and traditional media.

For the same reason, vis a vis my Japanese identity, I started posting articles about Japan and web/Internet marketing in English last year, targeting global web users. After I joined LinkedIn and started Facebook and Twitter, I got some help and advice from my LinkedIn connections. I started to post my blog articles to Article Content King, and, to my surprise, I became the “King” of Article Content King for the month of March. This was all because of the kind support and encouragement from my friends around the globe.

I also publish my articles on the ThoseinMedia site. I write on topics such as, Future Direction of Web 2.0 and Internet Marketing. My life journey is still ongoing; there is still a long way to go!

Happiness is…..?
I have been thinking about this for years. This is a million dollar question.
The definition of happiness for me may evolve in the future, but for now, my conclusion is:-
Happiness is finding yourself, being the owner of your life, leading your life based on your values and beliefs, and surrounding yourself with people you love/your supporters. There is no one-fits-all happy life. Everyone has his/her own happy life.
I have explained my concept of success and happiness in my first blog article; 7 Steps to Find ‘Self’: Be the Owner of Your Life to Succeed and be Happy.

Megumi-san, arigatou gozaimasu. ありがとうございます。

Megumi is a dedicated marketing and communications specialist who works and lives in Osaka, Japan. She enjoys traveling, blogging, making social media connections and motivating her coworkers at Novartis. Megumi can be reached via her blog, her LinkedIn page, and her Twitter handle: @MegOyanagi

Do you have questions or comments for Megumi? Do you have a business or story to share? Tell me. Do leave your feedback with us. Thank You!

All Photographs of Megumi Oyanagi ~ courtesy of Megumi Oyanagi
A Road to Success:Highway 99 in Seattle Washington – view from a Plane ~ via E. Obih-Frank collection

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Bree permalink
    29/03/2010 12:35 am

    Good day mate and thanks for truly making this a global experience. I enjoyed reading Meg’s interview and appreciate her honesty about her country.
    Thanks too for not editing out the nuances you often find when reading interviews with non Americans.
    I enjoy the natural cadence I hear here and bet your child translated it in Japanese too.
    Is Meg married and does she get to visit the USA? Does she come from an educated family and what plans does she have for her career?
    I enjoyed her sincerity, it was refreshing. Thanks again! 🙂

    • Megumi Oyanagi permalink
      29/03/2010 9:06 pm

      Dear Bree,

      This is Megumi (Meg) Oyanagi. Since Elizabeth, the author of the blog article kindly encouraged me to read and answer to the comments, I would like to take this opportunity for your kind, encourating comment.

      I am married, my husband (Japanese working for a Japanese company) has been working in Algeria for 3 years 8 months now. Currently I do not have a plan to visit USA but would love to visit (or even live/work) one day.
      I would say I come from so so educated family since my father studied engineering at university and started his career as a TV set engineer, and my mother studied at college and became a primary school teacher.

      I am currently thinking my next step in my career, and in such a process I wrote my blog article about success and happiness.

      Thank you again for your encouraging comment.

      Megumi Oyanagi

  2. Cassie permalink
    29/03/2010 5:52 am

    Hello and this was a very interesting interview with Ms. Oyanagi. She sounds like a very positive person and that she has a very challenging job.
    Meg, how do you handle work related stress? Do you plan to go back to the UK to see your friends even after so many years?
    I also liked very much when you said that “I believe God is on the side of people who make effort.” I agree.
    Take care. 😉

    • Megumi Oyanagi permalink
      29/03/2010 9:12 pm

      Too much stress is bad but I enjoy certain amount of stress because it is under certain amount of stress that I can really concentrate, come up with new ideas etc.

      I have gone back to the U.K. several times to see my UK parents and my friends. I attende the wedding of one of my UK friends (she used to be my best friend). A few friends from the UK including her now live in France and therefore I met them when I went to Tour, France for 2 weeks for to attend French language course.

      Thank you very much again for your kind comment.

      Megumi Oyanagi

  3. 29/03/2010 6:54 am

    quite the life she is living… its great to find something that motivates you … interested in what she said about Japanese business being slow to pick up on new social media and other tech advances … it wasn’t long ago that we thought about the Japanese being at the forefront…
    great to catch these insights from people “living fully” around the globe… and nice pix too…

    • Megumi Oyanagi permalink
      29/03/2010 9:19 pm

      I highly appreciate your comment.

      To be precise, Japanese are unique in picking up new social media. They were early in enjoying mobile services called “i mode” that started in 1997, and they do enjoy Japanese SNS called Mixi but still I do feel in general we are behind in IT and Web/Internet marketing. That is what I really felt when I was writing my MBA thesis “Concept and Maximization of Web Equity” submitted in March 2006. I had to rely on English sources for web/Internet marketing, web metrics etc. (and also other marketing information such as consumer behaviour).

      I strongly feel that English and IT/management(including being able to read/analyze finacial data) literacy are requirements to do business on the global level.

      Thank you very much again for your kind comment.

      Megumi Oyanagi

  4. 29/03/2010 2:01 pm

    You are gorgeous Princess Megumi I love tweeting to you as I always get a warm reply U ROCK MEG TRULY ,,,LOVE YOU

    • Megumi Oyanagi permalink
      11/04/2010 2:17 pm


      I also love tweeting with you because your tweets are warm, artistic, full of originality, and interactive, all of which contribute to engagement, important points of social media.

  5. goz permalink
    29/03/2010 2:27 pm

    If there is a recurring message in Meg’s interview, it’s that of persistence, determination and positivity, eventually leading you where you want to go. And you can’t really express those attributes without being clear and focused about where it is you *do* want to go.. I enjoyed reading about Meg and her life philosophies and professional goals etc and have no doubt in my mind that she’ll succeed. Thanks Liz

    • Megumi Oyanagi permalink
      29/03/2010 9:25 pm

      Thank you very much for concluding the message, goz!

      And, I sincerely would like to thank Elizabeth for offering this opportunity.

      I was surprised when she proposed me for this project. I was encouraged and inspired by reading and listening to stories and the beliefs of people based on their experience, but I had never thought that I would be one such person!

      Preparing my answers for this article turned out to be a good opportunity for me to really reflect my journey up till today, confirm who I am, what are my values, beliefs etc., and determine what I would like to do tomorrow/in the future.

      Thank you very much again, everyone!

      Megumi Oyanagi

      • 30/03/2010 4:54 pm

        Thank you Megumi and everyone for your thoughtful comments! I appreciate Megumi’s feedback to your questions and I continue to learn new details about her. Many thanks again!
        E 🙂

  6. 30/03/2010 9:32 pm

    Wow, Megumi, I learned more about you from Elizabeth’s wonderful comment on your “Roadmap” article – than I think I did from meeting you! Now, I had better go back and read your article. It might be something for the social media gurus of KansaiDeLinkedIn to get the link for.

    • Megumi Oyanagi permalink
      11/04/2010 2:11 pm

      Hello, Saul.

      It is because of Elizabeth’s concept making of her blog, planning and execution.

      Being a expert in this realm, Elizabeth has planned questions extremely well planned to “pull out” the “soft factors” of people she decided to focus on, and she has put everything well together to make the article “story telling”

      Maybe we should meet up again.

  7. 03/04/2010 1:27 am

    Hi Elizabeth, Itś great to see that your interview project on your blog is so successful.

    I can imagine that you do meet some of the glorious heroes on twitter and this project of you does highlight them but also promotes your own blog at the same time.

    I’m so glad that more people get to see your what I find, a fantastic blog and enjoy the combination of the quotes, images and your writing voice and style.

    Enjoy the Eastern weekend and lots of success.


  8. Tcm dr chen permalink
    18/04/2010 2:19 am

    SUMIMASEN , SWOM,S member contact. like to know you more .

    • Megumi Oyanagi permalink
      18/04/2010 4:07 pm


      Thank you very much for your comment and your interest. Please be free to send me your message to my inbox if there are any specific reasons and/or area of your interest.

      Megumi Oyanagi

  9. 20/12/2010 12:42 pm

    Thank you for stopping by Jessie… and kudos to Meg for sharing her knowledge with us. 🙂

  10. 22/09/2012 11:02 pm

    Hello, everyone.

    This is an update for your information about me.

    I have started my new role from July 2012 as a marketing professional at Quintiles and also have another assignment from September at CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) Council Advisory Board in APAC, as I have recently updated my LinkedIn profile.

    I am in middle of my journey of life-long learning and I am enjoying it.

    Best regards,
    Megumi Oyanagi

    • 23/09/2012 12:56 am

      Thank you for the updates Megumi! Congratulations on your new positions… Wishing you much success on your new path.

      • 23/09/2012 5:14 am

        Thank you, Eliz. Please have a look at your LinkedIn message as well.


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