Nichi Bei Foundation welcomes five new board members


The Nichi Bei Foundation recently welcomed five new board members, adding youthful energy and leadership experience in the largest one-time addition to the board since the organization’s formation in 2009.

The Board Development Committee chaired by Sharron Sue and composed of Grace Horikiri, Jonathan Shindo, Bruce Hironaka, Karen Ijichi Perkins and Allen Okamoto presented the new board members to the board. They were approved at a January board meeting.

“This committee was a pleasure to work with and made my job easy because each individual is committed to strengthening the Nichi Bei Foundation,” stated Sue. “Despite busy schedules and tight timelines, all contributed their influence and time to get the job done. We’re quite proud of the new board members.”

The new board members are:
• Jason Okazaki — An associate general counsel for Gilead Sciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Foster City, Calif., Okazaki heads the Corporate Legal Group, comprised of eight attorneys, six contracts specialists and one group administrative assistant. He has a B.A. in economics from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law.

• Michael Innes — The program director of national supply chain for Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., Innes brings with him strong business and corporate experience, project management skills and experience in consulting. He possesses an MBA from California State University, Long Beach and bachelors in economics from UC Irvine. Innes is the chair of the Vendor Committee of the Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival, a fundraiser for the Nichi Bei Foundation.

• Jeffrey T. Yamashita — Born in Hawai‘i, Yamashita is a co-president of the Berkeley chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and an ethnic studies Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley specializing in Japanese American studies. He received his undergraduate degrees in history and American studies at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn.

• Kiyomi Tanaka — Raised in San Francisco, Tanaka is an occupational therapist at the California Pacific Medical Center. She is the co-chair of the Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival, and the chair of vendor committees of both the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival and Nihonmachi Street Fair. She is also an active member of Nakayoshi Young Professionals, a group that offers opportunities for networking and volunteerism. Tanaka graduated with a B.S. in health science and an M.S. in occupational therapy from Dominican University in San Rafael, Calif.

• Graig Inaba — A fourth-generation Japanese American raised in Sacramento, Inaba is a pharmacy tech at San Francisco General Hospital. He is a leader of the Nakayoshi Young Professionals, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Program, and has organized numerous fundraising events, including the VIP Reception for sponsors of the Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival, and coordinated food booths at the Festival. Inaba is a graduate of UC San Diego with a degree in biochemistry.

“We’re very excited about this new group of board members, who have already contributed their enthusiasm and talents to a large degree,” said Nichi Bei Foundation President Kenji G. Taguma. “They bring specific legal, financial, educational and community organizing expertise, fortifying our board as we move forward with our community-serving mission.”

The five join existing board members Tim Yamamura, Lisa Yokota, Grace Horikiri, Fred Kochi and Taguma.

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