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Femme Palette mentee Mai Wakasa on her journey towards becoming a Senior Manager

Written by
Rose Smith
Published on
March 19, 2024

Mai Wakasa was a Femme Palette mentee who has finished her Mentoring program. She is a Senior Manager at Computer Futures. In this spotlight interview, we asked Mai about her journey towards becoming a senior manager, the biggest challenges she faced and lessons she learned along the way, and so much more!

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

My name is Mai Wakasa and I work for Recruiting company Computer Futures (SThree Group) Japan office as a Digital Sales Sr Manager. Currently having a team of 6 people and we support mainly for B2C Sales and Marketing candidates find new opportunities and also I just started a new business for start ups as well.

Could you share with us your career journey towards becoming a senior owner?

I joined Computer Futures back in June 2021 as a Manager and was able to successfully expand the team members from four people to eight people in one year bringing new industry coverage to the team. While I was at my previous company, the Managing Director at Computer Futures reached out to me, and in the end, I decided to  join the company.

As a senior manager, could you share one important strategy for leading a culturally diverse team?

As part of this role I have really tried to understand the strengths of each of my consultants and their style of recruitment.  Based on this, I reassigned several team members to the 'right' market, which happily had very positive results.

What's the biggest challenge you have faced in your career so far?

One of the hardest things to do in sales management is to manage underperformance, and unfortunately last year I had to ask two of our collegaues to leave the team due to their ongoing poor performance. Over the course of several months I held performance improvement meetings with them, and invested a lot of time in coaching and encouraging them to raise their activity levels, but unfortunately despite both of our best efforts they were not able to make placements. Ultimately the business decided they could not stay, and this was very hard for me as we had a good working relationship and I personally felt like I failed too when they were not successful. That being said, we worked to a very clear and transparent process and spent a lot of time together trying to make it work -in the end he left the company on good terms, and I have also learned from this experience and believe it will lead to me being a stronger people manager in the future.

What’s the biggest lesson you have learned in your career so far?

One thing I can say is I still keep learning new things everyday but the biggest lesson I have learned not only from my current company but from my entire work experience is to listen to people. From this mentor program as well, listening to people and taking all the advises will make you a better person.

Let's discuss your experience as a mentee in our mentoring program. What made you decide to join as a mentee?

This Femme Palette was part of our Women's Leadership program run by our company SThree.

You outlined your goals for the mentoring program during your application. How has your mentor helped you achieve them?

My mentor was the best! I was surprised how well Femme Palette matched me with the best mentor. I had the best time ever meeting my mentor and she did help me out with all the problems I was carrying as well as helped me achieve most of my goals.

Mentee Testimonial: Could you share your overall mentoring experience with us?

I never really thought mentor will help me improve my job but that was not true. Since I met my best mentor here at Femme Palette, I can say that a lot of things turned to be positive. The market was not good during this mentee program but she helped me to think positive in many ways and I am so happy that I was able to attend this program. It’s a life changer!

We have mentors all over the world to help you explore your options, set development goals, build your network and identify resources you need to level up your skills. You can apply to get 1:1 mentoring from an industry expert with us.

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