Being a successful entrepreneur is a tough row to hoe. But being a mom is even tougher. Getting a business off the ground takes all your time, energy, commitment, dedication, and a whole lot of patience, and perseverance — and so does being a mother. But running a company being a mom is a whole other ball game with double the work, triple the fatigue, and several stressed-out days and sleepless nights. Taking care of the needs of the family and kids, waking up to the wails of your newborn at the wee hour, managing chores at home all while keeping your bottom line in check and ensuring that nothing is neglected—not an easy feat to achieve, right? And with a lot on your plate, you hardly get any time to doze off in peace or sit in serenity with a cup of coffee. Sounds too much to take on, isn’t it?
But surprisingly, many incredible moms over the world are pulling it off successfully every day— and they couldn’t be happier about it. Juggling between their family and vocation, these tenacious businesswomen are still managing to hold high-powered positions across different industries. In this edition of the APAC Entrepreneur Magazine, we are proud to share with our readers the inspiring story of one such admirable women entrepreneur, Ryoko Kamo who is a proud mother of two girls, an avid explorer, a talent acquisition leader, and the Co-Founder of Saachi Partners, a Tokyo-based executive search firm working across the Asia Pacific region.
Be it skiing down to the black diamond slopes or introducing a talented candidate to a new role, Ryoko isn’t afraid of any challenge. Perhaps, this is the reason she decided to take on the most challenging endeavor of her life—being an entrepreneur and a mother at the same time. She had just given birth to her first child when she co-founded Saachi Partners. But what’s even more special about this influential leader is rather than seeing this big change as a hurdle in her professional path, she considers it as an opportunity that prompted her even more to have full discretion of her principles, value, drive, and time. She says, “I wanted to feel fulfilled in both work and life. Life is too short, and you can’t afford to make the change tomorrow.”
A Fascinating Journey with Saachi Partners
Since the beginning, Ryoko has always enjoyed cultivating her own path, being in control of her decision, and taking full responsibility for it, so entrepreneurship was a natural progression for the strong-minded personality. Fascinated by the idea of talent acquisition, she ventured into the recruitment industry. What she loves about recruitment is the catalyst role it plays in unleashing people’s potential and she wanted to create a company focused on that. As a result, Saachi Partners Co., Ltd. was born in 2016. “People are often vague about their future. Most people aspire for success, or a sense of fulfillment, but what that success or fulfillment looks like, is unique to each person. When we assess candidates, we don’t just assess their present capabilities; together with the Candidates we uncover their goals and missing pieces to attain those goals,” opines Ryoko.
The uniqueness of Sachi even runs down to its ability to reap a win-win situation for both its clients and candidates. “Candidate assessment is such a critical part of what we do; this is why we are able to make recommendations that matches their aspirations, why we can influence the candidates to take action because we are not selling, and why clients see value in our service because we put forward those passive candidates who are not looking to make a change,” she adds.
A Reputation-First Recruitment Company
In most recruitment companies, consultants are financially incentivized to close a position. But standing apart from the rest, Saachi is not driven by a “revenue-first” culture. In fact, after helping a client close a position, if the candidate leaves the organization within a year, that is not a value for Sachi. The pioneering company strives to fill its clients’ needs with simply the best talent, not the best available talent and its superior customer experience ultimately creates a healthy cycle of referrals of candidates and clients. When it comes to building a relationship with customers, its philosophy is— to give, give, and give. “We put an emphasis on always providing value at every interaction we have with our customers. It can be something small like anticipating the needs and providing all relevant information in one concise compact email to avoid back and forth email rallies, to taking every measure possible to bring in passive candidates so that our clients can make best-informed decisions,” affirms Ryoko.
With such client-centric value, reputation-first culture, and unwavering commitment to deliver the best service, it’s no wonder that Sachi has been able to grow from a team of 2 to a competitive team of carefully selected 20 in a short span of time, and its revenue has been enjoying healthy year-on-year growth, even during Covid-stricken 2020.
Support the Team Members to Shine and Win
According to the avid entrepreneur, a company is made of people, and logic alone cannot move people. She believes that as a leader, showing the vision, transparency in your thought process, and ensuring that your team members feel both challenged and safe to push the boundaries, are critical. Ryoko advises leaders to support their team members and understand each other to win as a team. She elucidates that speaking each other’s language is not the same as understanding each other.
Especially for the aspiring entrepreneurs in the APAC region where there are such diverse cultures and communication styles, she emphasizes on two key ingredients for the recipe of success— passion and transparency. Ryoko often turns to The Culture Map by Erin Meyer from time to time to remind herself of the layers of cultural nuances.
Conquering the Challenges along the Way
While running a business being a mother of two is quite challenging on its own, Ryoko had to navigate many other stumbling blocks on the way to lead Sachi towards the path of success. Though fortunately, there was no evident challenge in establishing the company in itself, growing the company, building the team with talent who are aligned with the company’s vision and principle, has not been easy for the company. “Every member has been carefully selected and we could not have been more proud of our colleagues,” states Ryoko.
Successfully navigating all the challenges along the way, Sachi is now gearing up to expand its footprint in the Asia Pacific region. Meanwhile, it is also focusing on interview coaching and global talent development advisory for local affiliates with a vision to strengthen the talent pipeline to global and regional headquarters. We are certain that the fascinating journey of Sachi and the incredible story and inspiring insights of Royoko will ignite a spark of passion in every passionate mother with an entrepreneurial heart.