This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview the Hon. Naomi Yamamoto.
Naomi Yamamoto was elected as MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale in the 2009 general provincial election and was appointed Minister of Advanced Education on March 14, 2011.
Prior to this, Minister Yamamoto was appointed Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations in June 2009. On October 25, 2010, she was appointed as Minister of State for Building Code Renewal.
Minister Yamamoto had been the president and owner of Tora Design Group in North Vancouver for 21 years. She also enjoyed working with the business community as the president and general manager of the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.
She also served on the board of the North Shore Credit Union and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and was President of the Gordon and Marion Smith Foundation. As well, she represented the North Vancouver Chamber on the North Shore 2010 Spirit Committee and Vancouver's North Shore Tourism Association Board.
In 1997, Minister Yamamoto served as chair of the BC Chamber of Commerce. She completed a six-year term on the board of Capilano College, with the last three years as chair. She also enjoyed six years as a director of the North Shore Neighbourhood House.
In 2005, Naomi was appointed as an inaugural member of the Premier's Small Business Roundtable.
In her role as Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations, Naomi Yamamoto is also the Premier's representative to the Pacific North West Economic Region.
For more information, go to: http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/39thParl/yamamoton.htm
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
You come from a remarkable family – can you share insights from your family history and your early years?
"....I never took post-secondary education for granted. When somebody like my father was able to complete that journey, despite the challenges that he faced, it's pretty incredible...."
Why is public service so important to you – what were the catalysts for your commitment in this area?
"....I was always involved in the community, on boards or volunteering, and I thought perhaps I could make a difference at the provincial level...."
Naomi, what lesson can you share from your prior roles in the public and private sectors?
"....I always try to under-promise and over-deliver...."
Can you profile your current role as Minister of Advanced Education?
"....I'm just five weeks into the role....I see the opportunity for this government to increase the number of students that we train in high demand fields...."
What are your goals for the short and medium term?
"....My short term goal is to get to as many institutions that I can in order to talk to the administration, faculty and students. What I've been trying to do is to ask the right questions because I think that's the key to anything...."
In your travels what are you finding are the biggest opportunities and challenges in advanced education?
"....We are anticipating in ten years there are going to be over a million jobs that will need filling and three quarters of those jobs are going to require post-secondary education of some sort...."
What are your views on technology education and how it should evolve?
"....We need to provide learning that is outside the traditional methods of delivery....I think what technology can do is to provide access for classes online...."
Naomi shares a success story in advanced education.
"....Here's a young man who realized that he didn't like the future that was written for him and he decided to change it...."
Provide your predictions of the future for advanced education?
"....These are just my thoughts....The time it takes to get a traditional degree is going to reduce....We are going to see an increase in international students....We are going to see a lot more online free courses provided...."
What tips would you give others to enable success?
"....If you want to do well, you need to surround yourself with people who also want you to succeed....Be curious – you have to keep asking those questions....Be bold - but you can't be reckless...."
If you were doing this interview, what question would you ask and then what would be your answer?
"....Who's going to win the Stanley Cup?...."
Naomi shares a story (something surprising, unexpected, amazing, or humorous) from her work and experiences.