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Momoko's Story

At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.

The true value of the SAP Academy was understanding the importance of international networking around the SAP environment, and letting your brain get inspired by new environments. 

Momoko Ishio

The most visible evidence of Momoko Ishio’s artistic instincts can be seen in the front lobby of the SAP Japan office. Her floral arrangements on display there validate her assertion that they truly reflect her soul.

"Western-style flower arrangement really appeals to me. I love the fact that flowers bring color and a sense of vibrancy and movement. The real secret to flower arranging is one’s mindset, which has to be a bit different in order to explore different genres of art and arrangement. Ranunculus are my favorite flowers and I enjoy using them in my arrangements. They are beautiful and tall, and they have slim stems which bring me the chance to do something creative and beautiful and meaningful. Because we work in an IT company, our world revolves around huge amounts of data and software, but flowers are living things and they bring me so much additional joy.

My bosses became aware of my floral interests and the dream that I want to do flowers as a life work while I concentrate on my career at SAP. So they gave me the opportunity to work on the flower display right next to the front lobby of our office. It’s great, because it allows me to do something that really reflects my soul. I get to do that about once every fortnight. I enjoy using these beautiful flowers that are admired not just by our employees but by our customers as well. They also let me study floral business in New York for a few weeks this year, which was an amazing event for me. I finally found the way to start doing what I love so much, and now I simply hope to establish my career both in terms of SAP business as well as a flower business.

What is it that brings me to work on a Monday morning with a smile on my face? The answer to that is easy – my customers. And also the fact that I enjoy working with my manager, Yamauchi-san, and my VP, Takatsuka-san and also the President of SAP Japan, Fukuda-san, and of course the members of the VAT team who work with me for my accounts. They all inspire me.

I’ve been working at SAP for four years. I started at the SAP Academy, and then I joined the consumer team. When I got the news that I’d been selected for the Academy, I was very excited. I already knew about SAP because I did a postgraduate course in France and my former room-mate joined the company.

I was really happy when SAP offered me the job. I got the news in a phone call from an HR person. My father also worked in the IT industry, for NEC, although that is a different field entirely. When I told him that I’d been selected, he was very happy. He told all his colleagues that I’d got a job at SAP because he was so proud. We had a family celebration and my mother cooked a wonderful dinner at home. She’s a really good cook and she made a lot of dishes.

Joining a company with a global presence was a little less daunting for me because my first introduction to international culture was my time spent in France. I went there to study international marketing, and I lived with four French guys and one Polish girl and it was a lot of fun. At first, it was really complicated for me but after about four months or so, I adjusted really well to the lifestyle as well as the academic challenge. I have to admit that I was really nervous on the flight from Japan to France because I was really scared of leaving Japan for that long. It was going to be my first solo journey away from home for a whole year.

That was my first real introduction to an inter-cultural atmosphere. Then this became a much deeper experience during my time in France. Living in a diverse environment with my five fun roommates really brought a fresh and different perspective to my life. As someone from Japan, I was fortunate to be exposed to people from different nationalities and cultures, and when you think about it, there is a strong parallel between my life and my career at SAP. There are so many similarities.

I’m blessed to have been exposed to many cultures, many religions, many languages and many nationalities. This has enriched me as a person. In particular, the SAP Academy in California taught me so much more than just the curriculum. There were more than 100 people from all round the world, gathered in California. There were people from Brazil, India, France and many other countries. It made me realize that even the other Asian countries are very different from Japan and that there are many layers of diversification. It was really exciting to exchange ideas and views in this sort of environment and to understand how other cultures work. I think one of the best aspects was the international variety. It opened my eyes to an international world, in professional terms as well.

The things I learnt in California that I really value are sales skills and presentation skills. But the true value was understanding the importance of international networking around the SAP environment, and letting your brain be inspired by new environments. To me, those were probably the things that had the greatest value.

While I was at the Academy, I went to Yosemite with colleagues for the first time and I really loved it there. The whole question of scale was an eye-opener for me. Getting to see such a beautiful part of the state of California was unforgettable. You have to remember that Japan is a really small country, so the scale of Yosemite was something completely different to someone like me. During our trip, we all talked a lot about our future career, and what we want to do with our lives. The experience taught me so many things and changed my perspective a lot.

When I went to the Academy, I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. But afterwards, when I got on the plane to come back to Japan, I was so motivated because I had graduated from the Academy and I visualized and thought about my life and career. I was very excited and I had the feeling in my mind that ‘I can finally start work right now, properly, because I understand so much more’.

After four years of working at SAP, I will have my own family this year and I gradually started knowing my priority for life, which I believe is traveling around the world with my crafts and showing how I have fun with my dream job to my future family. I really appreciate my work environment because SAP surrounds me with great people who know my life goals and support me in so many ways. My passion for what I do at SAP comes from the deep gratitude for these great work surroundings.

I am glad that I continue to grow so much through my professional life at SAP. It’s still on the way and sometimes it’s really challenging to work on flowers while I keep working as a business partner for my customers, but I do enjoy every step of the process to achieve what I dream of. I will keep my journey going on so that I can prove that we never have to give up something in order to start something else that is new and that we see as an integral part of what we seek in life. It’s important to realize that we have so many work-style options available to us."

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