So what does it actually mean to be Senior Director of People?


Meet Fukuko Ayama, Senior Director of People at LearningLeaders, a Shanghai startup that teaches debate and public speaking training for middle and high school students.

On today's edition of #TakeYourFriendtoWorkDay, we'll be getting to the bottom of what it really means to be in HR (and why we shouldn't use that word).

Describe your job like you’re talking to a 5 year old.

I teach debate and public speaking. I find people to work for LearningLeaders. I try to make LearningLeaders an enjoyable place to work.

Top 3 things you spend the most time on at work:

1.I do a lot of interviews

2.I take attendance, prepare for lessons and make sure I understand the concepts that I’m teaching

3.I spend a lot of time in meetings. Because I run the team, [the meetings are] about communicating with my team clearly about what the expectations are and communicating with other team leaders and the executive team to make sure we’re aligned.

What do you like about your job?

The end result. I know that making our coaches’ and other team members’ lives better at work positively influences the students directly. That is huge for me.

Top 3 skills needed to be good at your job:


2. Problem solving

3. Assertiveness

Interview tip from an HR expert:

People always ask me what the company culture is like, but no one ever asks me what the company values are.

This question will help you identify:

1) If the company has core values and if the interviewer is able to articulate them clearly

2) What your non-negotiable factor is. It is so easy to get caught up in wanting to please the interviewer or wanting to align your answers to what they are looking for.

This is an opportunity for you to find out if this is a place you want to work at.

Piece of career advice to pay it forward?

Identify one non-negotiable factor that you look for in the place that you work at. Not everything is going to be perfect, but you want to make sure that your one non-negotiable is there.

Thanks, Fukuko!

-thelighthouse team


81 Prospect Street

Brooklyn, NY 11201


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