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JUNKO VAN NORMAN

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

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"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building on the new."
― Socrates, Philosopher

The most important thing I look for in an early stage company?  Integrity and motive. 

I think those two attributes play very important roles for the success of start-ups. When a company starts with the right motive, it will create a ripple effect and make a positive difference to our community. Also, I chose integrity because without it, a company will not have a healthy environment for their employees. Whether or not a company has a strong team determines the future of a company because, “they are the most important asset”. It is a proven fact that no matter how great products, services or inventions are, without integrity and happy employees a business will fall apart soon or later.

What technologies will change the world in 5-10 years?  Environmental Technologies.

 

I would like to see new technologies that clean air, water and soil.I am passionate about eating healthy ever since I was young. I have always look at fresh produce as a vehicle that brings all the nutrients and goodness from our mother earth to my body. What we eat affects both our physical and mental health, and that’s why improving the environmental health should be our number one focus. It is very fundamental, and we may not see an instantaneous result, but because it is fundamental, it will for sure become a catalyst for the changes we need in the world we live today.

My professional and personal background and interests are diverse. I have always been a curious and creative person who loves trying new things. I was a kind of kid who doodle something on the corner of every page in a textbook. Also, I recall proudly wearing a dress that I made with the daily newspaper just delivered. That was the time people actually look forward to reading paper before they went to work, and Yes, I did get in a trouble later for cutting it up in pieces before anyone could read it.

 

I came to the US by myself when I was 19. All I had was one suitcase, a couple hundred-dollar in cash and a big dream to be anything I wanted. It was pretty crazy even back then when US$1 was worth 260 yen. I don’t even know how I made it, but somehow, I landed on a job at the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco. I spent 6 years supporting Deputy Consul General and 2 other diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During that time, I also worked at SF Opera as a backstage crew member in the evening. I did prep work for special effect makeup and helped performers with quick consume changes. It was a fun job, but I realized that painting on people’s faces was not creative enough for me. It really did not have anything to do with the expression of myself.... I did theatrical work on and off for the next several years while working full time in the corporate world. Fast forward more than a decade later, I finally decided to paint professionally. While I kept a part-time contract job as a creative project manager, I tirelessly worked on my art. Some nightsI was up until I saw the sunrise. My commitment and all the hard work eventually lead me to start a small business. I began selling my original paintings and prints at galleries and gift shops, however, when the great recession hit in 2008, I had to redirect the trajectory of my career. It was a very tough time. Not only I had to close my art business, sell my house and move to a small apartment with my four-legged buddy, I was also getting so burned out from the pressure of creating something people would buy in order to make ends meet. My creatively inevitably stopped flowing, which was very frustrating. That whole experience was a great learning lesson for me, and the funny thing was that I felt so relieved afterward. I learned that giving-up is not always a bad thing.

 

Today, I pick up a pencil or painting brush whenever I feel like and let my imagination and expression flow with no pressure. I also love going to galleries and museums to be inspired. Especially I savor the art in NYC.

BACKGROUND

Junko joined YMVSV in July 2019 as an Executive Administrator to support the company’s leadership team. She brings extensive skills and experience in senior level executive support and project management in a global environment. Prior to YMVSV, she was an Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Intermountain Business Unit at Bimbo Bakeries USA in Denver, CO.

 

Junko studied fine art at Waubonsee Community College and graphic art at Cal State East Bay.

 

She is also experienced in the theatrical industry where she earned apprenticeship training as a backstage crew member at San Francisco Opera and other production companies. In leisure time, she enjoys painting and drawing, visiting galleries and museums.