Finding your Ikigai in your community with Nina Cataldo

When Nina Cataldo moved back to Japan after finishing college she was surprised to find that even though she considered it her “motherland”, having grown up in Tokyo, she was seen as an outsider.  This set her on the path to creating a community for women who identify as Hafu (mixed-race Japanese person) called “Hafu Women”. A proud Hafu herself,  Nina advocates and educates for recognition and the fair treatment of marginalized communities in Japan. Nina is someone making waves and following her passions, so I just knew I had to interview her to find out more about her ikigai.

If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, we’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. Come and find Jennifer and Nina on LinkedIn.

Show Notes

In this episode you’ll hear:
  • How Nina’s experience of being shy at a young age has helped her in her life and career as an adult
  • What Nina did when she noticed a lack of support for Hafu Women like herself
  • Nina shares her Brave and Bold Mastermind for Asian Women and how it helps entrepreneurs to accelerate their businesses
  • The importance of Asian women being even more visible in spite of racial tension and discrimination
  • Nina’s challenges with her own energy when her work is also her passion

To watch on YouTube

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Listen on Apple Podcasts

About Nina

Nina Cataldo is a DEI Facilitator and Multicultural Communications Specialist based in Tokyo, Japan. Originally from Tokyo, Nina grew up in the Pacific Northwest of the United States before returning to Japan at the age of 23. She is the founder of Hafu Ladies and co-founder of the Brave & Bold Mastermind program for Asian women entrepreneurs. 

In 2019, Nina quit her full-time job in order to sail around the world on Peace Boat for 4 months as an English-Japanese interpreter. Upon returning to Tokyo, she began her career in the fields she’s most passionate about: communication and fostering human connections through the DEI lense.  

Connect with Nina

Website –

Brave & Bold Mastermind – 

Hafu Ladies – 

Connect with Jennifer



How your Ikigai evolves from the core

Loved talking to the passionate and professional Sarah Liu of The Dream Collective about finding the core of your ikigai and evolving how it shows up in the world. 

She also talks about how borderline burnout was the impetus of her side hustle becoming her priority and the importance of saying yes and experimenting.

Let me know your takeaways in the comments and how listening to this podcast has influenced you!

About Sarah

Sarah Liu, Founder and Managing Director of The Dream Collective, is an international thought leader, speaker, trainer and facilitator on next-generation leadership, diversity and inclusion and the future of work.

Having represented Australia in the G20 YEA since 2017, Sarah also served as an APAC advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister’s Cabinet and sits on the judging panel for Forbes Awards. Sarah is invited to train leaders around the world across private and public sectors on leadership transformation and is an appointed regional partner for Google, lead trainer for National Women in Construction, Engineering, Media and Technology across AUNZ. She is also a member of the UTS Industry Advisory Board.

Whilst she manages a diverse portfolio of career and businesses, there is only one common thread across them all and that is to see more women in leadership and to transform the way we work.





All the Podcasts for your listening pleasure

Access through Spotify or Apple Podcasts

Show Notes

1:44 The ability to Influence as Sarah’s Ikigai 2:50 Leaving a mark and having an impact on others 4:10 How Sarah discovered her focus of influence – women’s leadership 5:18 How wanting to solve a problem for herself became a way to solve a problem for more people and The Dream Collective was born as a side hustle 7:20 Combining passion and profit by bringing value both in the content and commercial sense 8:31 I’ll give it a year – committing to the side hustle 8:56 “Borderline burnout” – inability to do onese best 9:55 Chūtohanpana 中途半端  the issue of doing many things incompletely 11:08 How finding your Ikigai is like losing your car keys 11:57 Bringing seasonality and life stages into your ikigai 14:04 Evolution of Sarah’s ikigai in terms of how it manifests itself and shows up in the world 15:53 Differentiate between a core belief and the method 18:50 She Pivots – one of the ways that the ikigai core stays the same but the delivery method changes 20:09 Outsider advantage in She Pivots 20:59 Keeping your ikigai relevant to the reality of the world 22:52 What happens when your ikigai is too focused in a single role or aspect of your life 25:07 Ikigai is not a singular destination 25:55 Ikigai in Marriage 28:15 Starting small with integrating ikigai before you are “ready” 28:46 Bringing Ikigai into team goal setting 31:04 Balance and priorities 31:41 What do you care about the most? And do you spend most of your time doing what you care about? 32:25 How to keep your motivation when things are not progressing externally 33:12 Passion and Professionalism 33:59 Professionalism is waking up, not wanting to do it, but do it anyway 37:47 Show me your wallet and your calendar and I’ll tell you what your priorities are! 39:46 What will you need to deprioritize to follow your ikigai 42:00 Say yes to thinks as a way to find your ikigai

Just keep hitting “live”- “Can Giraffes Swim?” Prize Draw

Hold it lightly and just get it done!

This is my takeaway from trying to get clever with a scheduled facebook live giveaway for my children’s book, “Can Giraffes Swim?”

First I share the story of how the book came about…

How “Can Giraffes Swim?” was born

Then I try to share my screen with a Wheel of Names but no! It isn’t possible once you are live!

Great way to bring in a little bit of suspense!

So I start again and run the draw… only to be foiled again as I did not now that you also can’t stop the screen share once you are live! (or at least I could not find that button!)

The draw itself!

Then I try to go live again but do it on my private instead of business page – a real comedy but I hope I failed gracefully! By this point I am feeling like Georgie the giraffe of the story as they flounder in the water (#spoileralert)

Final Thanks and a call to action!

So hold it lightly, put your work out there and reflect on the learnings.

My learning: Zoom meeting live streamed to facebook for next time!

If you would like to get your own copy of Can Giraffes Swim? head over to Amazon today

Upcoming Points of You Workshops: Ikigai and Hello Points

Your #ikigai workshop gave me the push I needed to make a change”

It was great to hear this from a podcast guest so I decided to open an online public workshop on June 10th, 9:30am to 12:30pm JST
Early bird discounts until May 31st

What makes you leap out of bed in the morning? Or perhaps you hit snooze more times than you’d like to admit?

“Ikigai” is the Japanese concept for living a life of purpose and the concept has gained prominence globally over the past 5 years. Purpose is one of the drivers of employee engagement and in this taster session, you’ll begin the journey of discovering your Ikigai.

In this highly interactive workshop, you will explore your Ikigai using the Ikigai Venn Diagram and the “unexpected but precise” images and metaphors in the Points of You®️ tools. Don’t worry if you do not have Points of You® tools, I have a back up plan!

It is a chance for some deep introspection and inner research. You’ll spend time thinking about your perfect morning and leave with a bite-sized action plan to start integrating elements of your Ikigai immediately. I look forward to what we will discover together!

The 3-hour session gives you plenty of time to develop your self awareness and a deeper understanding of where your purpose lies.

VIPs can also sign up for a 60 minute online coaching session to start to find ways to integrate your ikigai through job crafting.

Early Bird Prices Close on May 31st

July 2021 Online Points of You® L1 Hello Points Academy (English in Japan) Weekday Morning Sessions ( オンライン・平日午前)

Experience the power of our pattern breaking coaching tools on Level.1 ‘Hello Points’ Workshop coming to Tokyo Online in English. Take your first and exciting step into Points of You® Academy.

Join thousands of professionals around the world who are using our innovative and creative tools on a daily basis. Integrate our phototherapy based tool for 1:1 sessions and group environments.

Learn how to use our best sellers – ‘The Coaching Game’ and ‘Punctum’ in creating a unique form of communication and add new skills to your professional know how.

Join all 3 days on Zoom at this Asia friendly morning slot!

Wednesday July 14, 2021 09:00 – 11:00
Thursday July 15, 2021 09:00 – 11:00
Friday July 16, 2021 09:00 – 11:00

Who is it for?

Coaches, Trainers, Facilitators, Counsellors, Managers who want to help people open heart, break patterns and create a sense of belonging with an introduction to Points of You® Tools.

In this 6-hour course you will learn ways to facilitate “unexpected but precise” insights in individual, one on one, and group work using the Points of You® tools. By understanding the philosophy and background of the tools in depth, you will be able to create an unlimited number of experiences for your participants.

Leaving glamour, gaining health through your Ikigai with Violet Pacileo

Have you been thinking about leaving Tokyo and finding your own piece of paradise in the Japanese countryside? That’s exactly what Violet Pacileo did when faced with the reality of her highflying but stressful life in Tokyo’s financial industry. However, moving her family to the slowly dying town of her ancestors in Otoyo in Kochi, Shikoku was not all freshly dried green tea and yuzu baths! 

To sign up for Jennifer’s Ikigai workshop, listen for the special offer for listeners and sign up here:

If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, we’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. Come and find Jennifer and Violet here on LinkedIn.

Show Notes

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • What drove Violet to create a dream life and career for herself in finance that didn’t make her happy
  • Her experience during an Ikigai workshop with Jennifer that helped her to make a huge change in her life 
  • The benefits of speaking about your ikigai with someone who isn’t invested in the outcome or in a group setting
  • What happened when she landed in rural Kochi with her international mindset and some of the surprising opportunities that came her way
  • Why networks are so important in Japan and how Violet built a new one at lightning speed in a traditional rural area.

Prefer to Listen?

Please check out the other episodes, like and subscribe!
Listen on Apple Podcasts

About Violet Pacileo

Violet is a seasoned finance professional with over 15+ yrs working in Tokyo, London and LA for Japanese and international investment banks and asset managers. Her background is in Japanese equities where she spent her time selling Japanese stocks to institutional investors, researching and analyzing Japanese listed companies, introducing Japanese companies to foreign institutional investors, advising Japanese companies on their institutional investor strategies including ESG and corporate governance strategies and most recently consulted for a HK based hedge fund. She relocated to the countryside in Kochi in Aug 2020 to promote economic development in the region. She is of mixed heritage, born in Tokyo and raised in both Japan and the UK, giving her the advantage of connecting with Japanese and English speakers on a native level. She has been a passionate advocate for women’s rights and has hosted many female networking and speaker events including for Women in Finance Tokyo. She is the host of NHK World’s Otoyo: Bringing Fresh Life to a Traditional Community, and is scheduled to host more episodes along the theme of Genkai Shuraku (“Marginal Village”). Her company VP Advisors K.K. is also building a Crossfit retreat in the town of Otoyo, which is due to open in Spring 2022.

Connect with Violet


LinkedIn : 


VP Advisors: Coming soon.

Links mentioned in this episode

Violet’s NHK appearance:

Jennifer’s Ikigai workshop Special offer for listeners for this episode

Connect with Jennifer

Linked In: 



Ikigai as flow and identity

Loved talking to Jess Gerrity about #Kyudo and #ikigai in #japan

Some highlights of the episode:

Jess’s description of flow – being in the here and now

The long journey of 11 years from the first view to being an integral part of who she is now

Identity transition – from runner to archer, how different roles serve us at different times

How the flow from kyudo (her #ikigai) spreads into other parts of her life

Prefer to Listen?

Episode 7 Jess Gerrity

Please check out the other episodes, like and subscribe!

About Jessica Gerrity

Jessica Gerrity was born in Auckland, New Zealand. After graduating her Masters she came to Japan to work as an English teacher with no Japanese language ability. Jessica has worked in the Japanese media industry for over 15 years. Often appearing on television to talk about her home country. Jessica currently writes for GekkanNZ a Japanese language magazine based in New Zealand, and for Kyudo Nippon, a quarterly magazine for all things related to kyudo, the Japanese martial art of archery. Jessica practices kyudo in her spare time. She started 3 years ago after watching a practice she decided that she would start too. Jessica is the Saitama Prefecture tourism and PR Ambassador: Love Saitama Ambassador. Jessica is a mother to three children, 11, 10 and 7. Her youngest child was born with microcephaly and has intellectual and physical disabilities. This month her youngest was also diagnosed with epilepsy.






Show Notes

2:17 Starting Kyudo Japanese archery in your 30s 3:03 A life of many elements including being a tourism Ambassador for Saitama prefecture, working with artisans 5:58 transforming into a fearless warrior! 7:05 Jess’s journey into kyudo began with Robin Hood! 7:46 Stumbling upon a dojo and being transfixed by the silence, calm 11 years ago 9:28 Finding a way in took a long time – 3 kids worth in fact! 11:47 How important it is to make it easy to get beginners to find the information – although perhaps that quest is what brought her to the right timing 13:01 from fun hobby to ikigai The falling away. deprioritizing of other interests Kyudo filling the stress relief space of running, slowing her life down 15:40 A shifting sense of self and identity – does this one thing need to remain my ikigai? 17:37 Jess masterfully handles my question about why is Kyudo so blooming slow! focus on the self and the breath, not the target 18:29 dancing with strangers, developing synchronicity immediately building trust and togetherness 21:09 Individual performance versus the movement of the team 21:48 cycle of competence 23:06 Jess describes a recent experience of achieving flow during Kyudo 26:36 is it better not to have a record and just hold it in your mind? 27:36 Challenging sports yabusame – horse back archery 29:16 Sports Yabusame’s refreshing Approach to beginners 31:40 Finding the approach that matches your lifestyle needs – how to make it sustainable? 33:42 Dealing with the haters who question your approach – “How can you start something else when you haven’t mastered this?” 34:30 Different approached to mastery and living your life 36:38 Understanding your own motivation 39:01 Acknowledging the change in yourself when you are engaged in your ikigai and how it impacts other parts of your life 41:28 Changing relationship with children, physical and mental health 44:38 Advice on taking your first steps – test out the community and the environment 46:30 Building your ikigai into your lifestyle sustainably 47:56 Starting You, Me and Zen Kyudo Club…. 49:26 Transition into your ikigai can be life changing and bring magical moments

Ikigai and Arete (pursuit of excellence)

In this episode with renaissance man, Dr. David Sweet, we talk Shakespeare, Stoicism, the parable of the talents and the evils of the snooze button. With the pursuit of excellence in all things as the essence of his Ikigai, David surprises me with a thoughtful moment of connection and celebration and shares his perspective on “Consistent persistency”.

You will also learn about how to structure a THREE HOUR (I know, right?) morning routine, the importance of mentors, and how it doesn’t actually take athleticism to be a runner. He also offers some great advice on how to drive in fog as a job seeker and I embarrass him by saying what a positive impact he has had on my life and in the last year especially.

Hope you enjoy listening to this and please go out and tell someone what they did to have an impact in your life.

(You can also check out Can Giraffes Swim? over on Amazon

Prefer to Listen?

Episode 8 on Apple Podcasts

About Dr. David Sweet

David Sweet is an author, poet, entrepreneur, executive coach, and runaholic. In the Sweet Success series, his books include Sweet Success, Sweet Sales and Recruit!. His poetry includes Pop Rocks and Split Infinity Forward. He lives in Tokyo with his wife, sons, fish, ukuleles, and running shoes. He can be found at

About Ikigai with Jennifer Shinkai

You’ve probably heard of the Japanese concept of “Ikigai” but are wondering how you can successfully apply it to your life. How do you start living a life of purpose, jumping out of bed, excited to face the day? Join the Tokyo based, British born facilitator and coach, Jennifer Shinkai and her guests to hear real-life stories of how regular people found and integrated their ikigai. Be inspired by how they took their first steps and how their lives have changed. Still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up? Looking for practical tips to find your ikigai? Then this show is for you.

How to enjoy the Ikigai with Jennifer Shinkai Podcast



Apple Podcasts


WOOPing up lives with Points of You®

WOOP WOOP! 🙌 Oh, I miss dancing in the club!

But the WOOP I’m talking about is a “science-based mental strategy that people can use to find and fulfill their wishes, set preferences, and change their habits.”

What is WOOP?

When I learned about the WOOP from Tokyo based facilitator, Tanja Bach, a few years ago I knew it would be a powerful coaching tool if I combined it with Points of You®. Over the last few months I have been invited to deliver the workshop for teams and communities around the world.

In addition to supporting clients #IWD #choosetochallenge APAC events with WOOP workshops – from a global Teams Live for a global materials science company, an APAC wide Japanese/ English Zoom for a food industry leader and local zoom for the Japan office of a big law firm, I was delighted to return for the 3rd time as a supporter of Women in Law Japan, giving the members a valuable time to focus on their own goals and connect in breakout rooms.

Despite the diversity of the audiences, I left each workshop with feedback that the process was insightful and powerful. The only complaint – people wanted it to be longer! Each session was between 60 and 120 minutes so it’s great to know that with engaging and personally meaningful content, participants have more staying power that you can imagine

Thank you to Points of You® Tribes in Japan and the Philippines for the Uplifting Sessions where we welcomed over 150 members of the Points of You® global tribe. I also held a more intimate event for my online “Points of You® in English from Japan” community. It was a great way to connect even though we can’t be together in person!

Contact me if you would like to bring WOOP x Points of You® or other engaging online experiences to your team!

Finding your Ikigai in a Positive Mindset: Podcast with Dr. Ashley Dash

Loved this conversation soooooo much! What an inspiring woman! We talk about recovering a positive mindset, practical tips around unemployment and the thrillingly disconcerting moment when everyone gets behind your idea! Enjoy and share your comments…AND don’t forget to like, subscribe and review (5 stars only please 😉 )

I loved talking about recovering a positive mindset, practical tips around unemployment and the thrillingly disconcerting moment when everyone gets behind your idea. I just loved chatting with Dr. Ashley Dash and after we stopped recording we went on for another 30 mins! Wish I had a director’s cut!

Watch on YouTube

Listen on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts


Dr. Ashley Dash inspires action through her lived experiences in person and online. She often shares her greatest life challenges, including how she went from being an unemployed college graduate to landing a $100k+ job in Human Resources with Mercedes-Benz. Or revealing how years later, she restarted her life after facing foreclosure and unemployment, shifting back to six-figures with an international move to Japan.

Dr. Dash is known for her ability to help individuals identify the patterns that keep them stuck and move them into action. She is determined to create safe spaces for black business professionals in Corporate America through speaking, coaching, and courses using her high energy and direct approach. Her mission is to help people overcome personal circumstances, regain control of their lives, and find purpose through career freedom.

A self-proclaimed information junkie, she believes in Faith over Facts and Facts over Feelings. Dr. Ashley Dash has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, an MBA, and a Doctorate of Strategic Leadership. She is also a Certified Job and Career Development Coach and Job and Career Transition Coach. However, celebrating and loving Black men remains her best and all-time favorite superpower.

Listen Via Anchor



Career Breakthrough Strategy Session:

National Black Man Day™



Speaker Sheet:

Show Notes

01:35 First culture shock – what do you mean by countryside?

02:48 Ikigai as a positive mindset Revisit your genius level as a child

03:47 Getting back to being ready to take on the day with positivity

5:11 When did the joy stop showing up?

6:58 Ashley’s journey back into positivity – talking about issues that need to be dealt with 8:35 Gratitude in a box

9:13 Music as a mood shifter and a big plug for Goal Cast! Don’t force positivity but find ways to lift yourself up

11:29 Curation of information

13:20 Innovation around Black Man Day

14:23 Who is supporting multi-layered Black men in a positive way?

16:16 Curating what a whole Black man looks like- building empowered and positive hub of resources

17:50 The power of sharing your idea – making it real

19:53 but how it can be a bit disconcerting when you are used to people pushing back!

20:48 How your ikigai can resonate with others

21:18 Magical moments – against all odds – short time, pandemic, time zones

22:43 August 8th 2021! 23:31 Don’t make finance a barrier to service

24:43 Make it Matter Book – Make your Legacy

25:31 The power of choice and intention. Integrating all the information that you have

26:55 3 pieces of practical Advice for those furloughed or laid off due to Covid

29:34 Stay in practical mode for 48 hours and then you can grieve

30:19 Why positive mindset is essential for the long term unemployed

31:01 How being open AND having clear criteria brought Ashley to Japan

31:56 Be specific and people can help you

34:55 Friday Career Affirmations – turning her homesickness into gratitude

37:50 The power of amazing bosses

39:94 Even in difficult situations you still have control

41:34 the power of the F* off Fund

42:23 Finances first

43:11 Believe you are the right candidate for the job

43:57 Interviews aren’t the time to be humble – but you don’t need to be braggadocios either!

45:30 An extra tip for when you are laid off – get your appraisals printed outa and your factual achievements on your linked in profile!

46:31 Do all Japanese people have ikigai?

47:33 Yes, but are they always connected to it?

48:15 The importance of being connected to your work and your financial drivers

49:00 Everyone is motivated… but maybe not to do the thing you want them to do

50:17 If your HR Compliance is boring then you should be excited!

51:59 Shifting perspectives and bias about roles

54:03 All you have inside of you is all you need – take the next logical or illogical step

Fabruary: Make March Matter Part XII|

This free online community was created on February 27th, 2020 as a way to support entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners affected by Coronavirus cancellations.

Our aim is to provide connection, accountability and inspired action. It is a community that brings smiles, cheerleaders and new ideas.

What happened in February?

One year on from the birth of the group on February 27th, 2020, we decided on the theme of Fabruary – making the most of what we have and celebrating what we can!

(writing this in mid March should give you an idea that it has been a busy few months for the community and my personal and professional life!

  • Over 260 people in the Facebook group . Our doors are always open to new members who need support and community.
  • 8 Regular Meetings –  Monday Morning Accountability Kick Off, Friday Evening TGIF Week in Review. The bookends of the start and end of the week are powerful motivators.
  • 3 Guest Speaker Content Sessions
    • Understanding America’s Racial Injustice Through James Baldwin’s Classic “The Fire Next Time” with Sabrina Hassanali
    • HOW TO MASTER DIFFICULT EMOTIONS IN LIFE AND BUSINESS? Mira Simic-Yamashita, Psychologist & Therapist
    • Why you need a podcast in 2021 and how you can make it happen: Jayne Nakata: PodLaunch with Jayne
    • Replays of all of the guest sessions video links at Make March Matter
  • 1 Virtual Co-working Session
  • Launch of Entreprenipponial Collaboration

We will continue into March 2021!

The theme for next month will be…..

Drumroll please……….:


 “Make Matters March: Season 2, Episode 1″

Make Matters March: Make March Matter Season 2, Episode 1

Even though we may have binge watched everything on Netflix, we are ready for a new Season of Make March Matters. I bring you Season 2, Episode 1: Make Matters March!

What matters do you want to see march out of the door? What will you deliver and how will you finish up the Japanese fiscal/school year? And of course, our anniversary month -let’s celebrate!

You can follow all our events here

See you over at the Facebook Group

How can you support Make March Matter?

1. Contribute

Make March Matter is and will remain a free community. If you are in a position to contribute, I accept payments via PayPal to Previous contributions ranged from ¥10,000 to ¥30,000 or choose an amount of your choice. Entirely optional and gratefully received.

2. Share your knowledge

I’m actively looking for guest speakers to share your expertise, knowledge and offers to the community. You get a great platform to practice your online facilitation and an engaged and interested audience ready to learn from you. Drop me a DM if you might be interested.

3. Grow the community

Invite your friends and partners who might benefit and bring new ideas to the group.

Share the event reviews on your SNS. 

4. Shine a light

Write a testimonial on my Facebook Business Page

or LinkedIn Page