Long story short – I had absolutely NO idea what I wanted to do with my life as I was finishing my studies in the UK, age 22. And – just as I was mid-personal crisis – the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster struck on 11th March 2011.
And that – I would later realise – was THE moment. The big turning point.
My parents were in Tokyo, and amidst all the rumours of spreading nuclear radiation and contaminated food, I was more than a little concerned… So, I ended up flying to Japan a few weeks later and, thanks to a series of serendipitous encounters and totally blind/naive enthusiasm, I was hurled into the world of humanitarian work.
Little did I know at the time, but this was the beginning of a journey that would take me to over 30 countries, lead to countless encounters with the most fascinating and inspiring people, and teach me more than I could have ever imagined about humanitarian emergencies, disaster risk reduction, climate, and broadly defined “social impact”.
From clean water projects in Haiti, to disaster education in Mozambique, to post-earthquake recovery in Nepal, I was extremely fortunate to be able to travel and learn through my work – all while making a (tiny) difference.
Fast forward 7.5 years, and I’m working as a consultant for the World Bank on issues related to disaster and climate risk, and am helping other purpose-driven organisations with everything from strategy to fundraising to marketing.
I’m also co-founder of Social Innovation Japan – an incubator for social change – and am very lucky to be a fellow at the Japan Foundation, an Asia-Europe Foundation Young Leader, a One Young World Ambassador, and an UNLEASH Innovation Lab SDG Talent.
In my free time, I (attempt to) write and take photos… In 2017, I started a humanitarian storytelling project which involved walking solo for 600+km along Japan’s tsunami-affected coastline to document the region’s recovery 7 years since the 2011 disaster.
If you’re interested, you can read some of my stories and posts on my Medium page.
Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Media, Interviews & Articles
- Featured by CNN – “Japan’s Tohoku Region, Seven Years After The Quake” (Link)
- Interviewed by Tokyo Weekender Magazine – “Walking Tohoku: A 614km Journey on the Michinoku Shiokaze Trail” (Link)
- Interviewed by Metropolis Magazine – “On The Trail To Rebuilding” (Link)
- Interviewed by GoGo Tohoku! – “Explore Tohoku: Michinoku Coastal Trail” (Link)
- Interviewed by CNN – “Life after the East Japan Earthquake” (Link)
- Interviewed by Student Times – “Hiking from Hadrian’s Wall to Holborn” (Link)
- Interviewed by ThinkTech Hawaii TV – “Do Not Panic! Be Prepared” (Link)
- Article on The Next Challenge – “Walking Japan’s Tsunami-affected Coastline”(Link)
- Article in Outdoor Japan Magazine – “My Tohoku Journey” (Link)
- Article on One Young World – “World Leaders Adopt the Paris Agreement on Climate Change: What Next?” (Link)
- Article on Japan for Sustainability (transcription of speech) – “Tohoku and the World: 5 Years since the Great East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami” (Link)
- Article in Ambassador Magazine – “Out of the Ruins” (Link)
- Article on World Cares Center – “Japan, Catfish, and the Need for Disaster Preparedness” (Link)
- One Young World Summit Bangkok Speech – “Call on COP (Climate Change)” (Link)
- Pecha Kucha Speech – “Mountains of Support For Nepal” (Link)
- National Geographic Article about project in Africa – “Nothing For Us, Without Us” (Link)
- United Nations Article about project in Africa – “African youth commit to reduce disaster risks” (Link)
- Booklet (Translated & Edited) – “The Citizen’s Guide to The Sendai Framework” (Link)
As a trainer and facilitator, I’ve delivered workshops in many parts of the world, including Hong Kong, Mexico, and Paris (COP 21), and am also a professional disaster preparedness trainer providing workshops for groups like the Dutch Embassy in Tokyo.
I speak regularly at schools, universities, and conferences (e.g. University of Tokyo, Sonora Climate Change Summit in Mexico, and USJC Annual Conference in San Francisco), and have served as a mentor and advisor for purpose-driven programs around the world.