Board of Directors

Daniel Cox, Chair

With strong business and leadership skills, Dan is helping to nurture Mirai no Mori as we become a more sustainable organization, so that we may continue to empower as many youths as possible.

  • From: Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Board director since: March 2015
  • Years in Japan: 22
  • Role: Finance and Strategy
  • Background: A serial entrepreneur based in Japan, Daniel is founder and CEO of Better World KK, a venture incubator and renewable energy developer, and KK Sherpa, a resort operations and turnaround advisory firm.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being part of Mirai no Mori?

Knowing that we are creating life-changing experiences for these regular youths who find themselves in difficult circumstances, and helping youths understand that their circumstances are only temporary, and that English and self-reliance can have an impact on their future as adults.

Jeff Jensen, Vice-Chair

With a unique ability to connect with youths through outdoor experiences, Jeff has shaped Mirai no Mori programs from the start through his distinct character and expertise.

  • From: Banff, Alberta, Canada
  • Board director since: March 2013
  • Years in Japan: 23
  • In charge of: Programs
  • Background: Growing up in the Canadian Rockies, Jeff honed his skills—from a very young age—in all major mountain disciplines, such as winter mountaineering, rock and ice climbing, and whitewater river sports. He is co-founder and COO at Nomadics Inc., an outdoor gear distributor and mountain marathon promoter.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being part of Mirai no Mori?

Hands down, being in a position to influence and support marginalized youths is what it is all about for me. That said, Mirai no Mori has become so much more. Now, I am proud to say, we are a team of amazing people and organizations; from the continual participation of institutions and care-workers that support our programs to the irreplaceable staff, volunteers, corporations, and organizations without which we would not exist. It is humbling to be a part of it all.

Sarajean Rossitto

Sarajean plays a critical role at Mirai no Mori with her NPO knowledge and expertise gained from 20 years in the Japanese nonprofit sector.

  • From: New York, USA
  • Board director since: March 2015
  • Years in Japan: 22
  • In charge of: Communications and Outreach
  • Background: Sarajean has been working with nonprofits and NGOs her whole life. Most of her work right now is focused on training and education programs for nonprofit capacity building, but she has coordinated corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs and overseas foundations to find possible programs to fund in Japan.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being part of Mirai no Mori?

When I first encountered Mirai no Mori, I saw amazing potential to meet the needs of those often left out or forgotten. I made the decision to join the board in order to be a part of the development and movement into a full-fledged nonprofit that will have sustainable programs and meet the needs of the people we work with. We are not there yet, but I am excited to be able to join this process. Upward and onward!

Naoji Takeda

Mirai no Mori benefits from Naijo’s outdoor business network, strategic directions, and passion to give back to communities.

  • From: Osaka, Japan
  • Board director since: March 2015
  • Years in Japan: 52
  • In charge of: Fundraising
  • Background: Since 2013, Naoji has been the general manager of KEEN Japan, a global footwear brand based in Portland, Oregon, known for its programs that give back to communities by promoting responsible outdoor participation.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being part of Mirai no Mori?

To see the youths with smiles on their faces playing in nature with their friends.

 

Robert Williams

Through Rob’s charity cycling team, the Knights in White Lycra, Mirai no Mori has greatly benefited from funds it has raised and the business and community contacts it has brought. The Knights have given Mirai no Mori a springboard for expanding its vision for future growth.

  • From: Bournemouth, United Kingdom
  • Board director since: January 2016
  • Years in Japan: 18
  • In charge of: Fundraising
  • Background: Rob’s professional career in financial services has taken him from the UK to South Africa and Japan, where he is now a partner in AP Advisers Limited, a financial planning firm in Tokyo. Rob’s hobbies include golf and playing music, but it was his passion for cycling that led to him form the Knights in White Lycra amateur cycling team, which is dedicated to raising funds for community projects in Japan—specifically those that benefit disadvantaged children.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being part of Mirai no Mori?

It is very exciting to be a part of a small NPO that has such great vision for the future, and watching the organization grow year by year. It is incredible seeing all the hard work put in by the Knights in White Lycra cycling team to raise funds, and seeing that funding come to fruition at Mirai no Mori camps. Being able to see that effort bring smiles to—and better opportunities and outcomes for—marginalized children is without doubt the most rewarding part of supporting Mirai no Mori.

Lori Henderson, Auditor

In addition to her skills as an auditor, Lori’s experience as executive director at the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) has benefited Mirai no Mori tremendously, bringing the team together to accomplish our mission.

 

Masaaki Oka, Auditor

With more than 30 years of experience as a lawyer, Masaaki supports Mirai no Mori’s dedication to being a reliable organization that runs with precious donations from many people.

 

Kozue Oka, Executive Director

Inspired by her English teacher while she was in middle school, Kozue continues to study English, and understands both the challenges and rewards of learning the language. Through personal experiences, she recognizes the value of the English language, outdoor experiences, and the opportunities they both provide. She is now looking forward to sharing her experiences with the youth at Mirai no Mori.