Meet Mika Saito, a consultant at Copperleaf®. In this article, she shares her professional journey, what she’s been working on since joining the company, and some local trends in Japan.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Copperleaf? What is the focus of your team?
“I’m a consultant on the Client Experience (CX) team in Japan. Our focus is to provide extraordinary experiences for our clients through the implementation of the Copperleaf solution. I also help with user support and marketing operations in Japan.”
Can you tell us a little bit about your professional journey that has led you to Copperleaf?
“My career began with a process simulation software company whose product was used by petroleum and chemical companies. I worked in customer support for 9 years, doing project management work and providing day-to-day support and training. During that time, I found project management work to be the most rewarding as I was able to listen to the customer’s requirements and be directly involved in the whole process from the definition of the requirements to the final project delivery.”
How did you find the transition into this industry and how was your training and growth supported when you first joined the company?
“Being in the Chemical Engineering industry for over 15 years, I had some concerns about changing industries and its potential impact on the value that I bring to my team. At the same time, I was excited about learning new things and felt positive about transitioning into new industries with Copperleaf as I was intrigued by the company’s products and culture.
I joined the company during the COVID-19 pandemic, so all of my training was done remotely. We had instructor-led training and practical sessions that helped me learn the processes and systems very quickly. Shortly after my onboarding, I was assigned to a project and learned the most from this hands-on experience as I got to apply my knowledge and skills.”
Mika and the Copperleaf Japan team volunteering at a local soup kitchen in Tokyo
What have you found to be the most unique aspect of working at Copperleaf?
“The supportive culture at Copperleaf is the most unique and wonderful aspect of working here. As a new employee, I found that my fellow Copperleafers were very open to sharing knowledge, and this has benefitted my growth in the company.”
What are some of the projects you’ve been working on?
“Shortly after joining the company, I was involved in an implementation project for a Japanese oil and gas company. As I was familiar with the client’s industry from my previous job, I was able to communicate and easily understand the client’s perspective. This experience encouraged me to obtain my Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification.”
Are there any key themes or trends that you’re seeing?
“I feel that Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is an increasingly important topic. The G8 Summit in 2015 led to increased attention on social impact assessment in Japan, and in recent years, there has been more emphasis on and recognition of the need for more investments related to social and environmental factors. Since Copperleaf’s solutions have the unique ability to compare financial and non-financial measures on a common economic scale, and optimize timing in line with strategic objectives, I believe we can help our clients identify investments that truly have value and benefit our society.”
What do you feel is the most fulfilling part of the job?
“Receiving positive feedback from clients is the most fulfilling part of my job. We work hard for the success of our clients and strive each day not only to meet their technical specifications, but to also listen to their feedback to ensure that our products bring value to them. That’s why I’m very happy when I hear that the solution we’ve delivered works well and meets our client’s expectations.”
What are your favourite activities outside of work?
“I enjoy cooking the most—it helps me decompress. I also like hiking, visiting museums, and going for weekend walks around Tokyo.”
What’s the best thing you’ve learned on the job?
“I’ve learned the importance of adapting my thinking to the situation. We’re in the age of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (VUCA) and it is not uncommon for situations to change during a project. We need to be agile enough to calmly change our strategy to suit the situation. Even if I’m not in a management role, I believe I can help our clients achieve their goals by providing leadership and respectful guidance in a flexible manner.”
Learn more about what it’s like at Copperleaf.