As a ‘kiwiasian’ Aucklander, I like to play an active role in my communities including my immediate and extended families, Auckland City where I live, and groups of like-minded peers who are engaged in conversations and projects around transformational leadership.
Like most New Zealanders I yearn to be near the water where I boat, fish or paddle-board. I am always up for a game of mahjong or a conversation on NZ architecture, contemporary art or gender dynamics. Indeed, most of my mental energy is devoted to my deep interest in gender and how this pertains to leadership. It’s central to my uni studies and my work at Play Colab.
Having been a brand strategist for years, I am invested in helping people understand the idea of a “personal brand”. This is not about becoming some sort of inauthentic corporate avatar; conversely it is about gaining clarity in who you are and what you believe in, so you can get of your own way and get on with leading. Knowing where you’ve come from is an important part of knowing who you are. Hence:
My Brand Story
I am often asked “who did your logo?”. Here’s the story:
Being half-Japanese, I had used my Japanese family crest as a logo for many years namely because it is a samurai crest and the samurai were military strategists. As a brand strategist working in marketing warfare it seemed a perfect fit. It wasn’t however until I became certified as an executive coach that I looked more critically into its history.
This crest is called the “genji-guruma”; it is the samurai crest of my Japanese clan, the Sado family. One of the oldest crests in Japan, it dates back a thousand years to the Heian period, a golden age of cultural flourishing where much of what it means to be uniquely Japanese has its roots. Amongst other things during this period, the famed samurai warrior class emerged and Buddhism rapidly spread in Japan along with a uniquely Japanese expression of its principles, disciplines and mandala symbology.
The “genji-guruma” crest was created by my distant ancestor Satoshi Sato, as he ventured forth from being part of the powerful Fujiwara clan to start his own dynastic journey. While the story is more layered, what interests me the most is that the crest derives from a wheel of an “imperial coach”. Strong and balanced – with spokes radiating from a central hub – a wheel denotes momentum. The overall purpose of the imperial coach of course was to enable nobility to go on their respective journeys.
Hence to me the genji-guruma is more than a well-designed logo – it represents where I have come from, who I am as well as what I do.
My journey into ‘who I am’ literally came full circle.
An interest in personal and professional reinvention has led to a magazine column and blog featuring inspirations and thought-starters connecting to my philosophy – see below or click here.
- Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.Eckhart Tolle