Japan Society of Northern California Names Stephen Pollock as New President
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 8, 2022 – The Japan Society of Northern California (JSNC) Board of Directors has selected Stephen Pollock as its new president, effective August 23, 2022. A member of the JSNC Board of Directors for more than seven years, Mr. Pollock has been actively involved in supporting the Japan Society and its mission to advance U.S.-Japan collaboration and understanding in a global context, and has more than 30 years of cross-cultural personal and professional experience. He will succeed Takahide Akiyama, who has decided to return to Japan and will remain on the JSNC Board of Directors as Vice Chairman.
In making the announcement, Chair of the JSNC Board Larry Greenwood noted that “Steve Pollock has the perfect blend of business background, hands-on management experience, deep respect for Japan and its people, and a passion for forging even stronger ties between our two nations. I believe that he will be an excellent leader for the Japan Society of Northern California as it seeks to build on the growth we have enjoyed over the past seven years.”
Mr. Greenwood also praised the efforts made by President Akiyama. “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, under Takahide’s outstanding leadership over the past three years, the JSNC has broadened its outreach, expanded its influence, and achieved a level of financial stability that we have not seen for many decades,” he said.
Mr. Pollock is the founder of Turnstone Ventures, a boutique consulting firm that provides strategic advice and market-entry consulting services to companies doing business between the U.S. and Japan. He began his career at Mitsubishi International Corporation, co-founded and served as president of WetFeet, a venture-backed software and services firm in the recruiting industry, and has led numerous successful new business initiatives for startups, nonprofits and large employers in the U.S. and Japan. Mr. Pollock holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.A. in East Asian studies from Harvard College.
As a JSNC Board member, Mr. Pollock has been actively involved with a number of the Society’s signature initiatives, including starting JSNC’s operations in Japan in 2016, leading the corporate membership committee, and serving on the steering committee for the annual Innovation Awards.
“I’m deeply honored to be chosen to lead the Japan Society of Northern California,” said Mr. Pollock. “Japan has been a personal and professional passion for my entire adult life, and I am a huge believer in the work the Japan Society does to build bridges between the Bay Area and Japan through its extensive high-quality programming on topics in business, innovation, healthcare, the arts and culture.”
Outgoing President Akiyama said that he plans to focus on building JSNC’s network in Japan to further connect Silicon Valley and Japan. “I look forward to working with Steve. We have unique opportunities to expand our outreach in Japan among Japanese companies interested in Silicon Valley, Japanese executives who have returned from the Bay Area and wish to stay connected, and American businesses in Japan that have headquarters in the Bay Area,” he explained.
Founded in 1905, the Japan Society of Northern California hosts speaker events, conferences and symposia, including the popular Japan-U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium. The Society also provides school-education programs and language lessons in the Bay Area.
Chief Operating Officer, Japan Society of Northern California