After staying home for 11 years after her first child was born, Yoko Tanaka wanted "something different" from her previous job when she returned to the workforce. Working for Asahi Kasei Asaclean Americas Inc., a unit of Japanese conglomerate Asahi Kasei Group, is Tanaka's first plastics job.
"Our company is based in Japan. Being a native Japanese, I found the opportunity here," said the marketing coordinator for the Parsippany, N.J.-based manufacturer and distributor of Asaclean purging compounds. "Moreover, plastics is very common in our everyday life, and I was interested in learning more about it."
As marketing coordinator, Tanaka handles digital marketing, lead generation, trade shows, document management, campaign analysis, sales reports and ROI.
"I was surprised how people are supportive and willing to help each other. I didn't have any plastics background before I started this job, and everyone takes their time to teach me about plastics," she said. "No matter how many questions I have, they all take their time to answer my questions."
Tanaka said her greatest accomplishment was at NPE2018. "Although we had [a] 20-by-30 booth, we generated 1,600 leads, and that was one of top 10 companies in terms of number of leads," she said.
"I would have never thought that I would be excited about the plastics industry when I started here. It's a fascinating industry," she said. "You see all the technology, but you also meet with people who work [hard] and have good old values."
Tanaka said working in marketing is a dream job.
"I was a stay-at-home mother with three children for 11 years. I was hesitant to go back to work because I felt I was away from [the] workforce too long," Tanaka said. "The first year was challenging, but I learned that I am capable of doing my job and still being a mother for my children."
Tanaka was nominated by Tom Hanvey, senior marketing manager for Asahi Kasei Asaclean Americas.
Q: What's an accomplishment of yours that most people don't know about, either for work or in your personal life?
Tanaka: I raised money when the big earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011. That was before I started this job, but I reached out to the designers, vendors, stores and events and raised more than $3,000 in three months.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Tanaka: My father is my mentor. He always tried to look at the positive side and make things better. [I] never heard him complain about anything but appreciated what he had. He was not afraid of trusting people and respect their value and decisions.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Tanaka: Digital marketing evolves very fast, and I need to keep up with trends and strategies.