Media Partner the newyork times

Costco Wholesale Japan

Japanese Branch President

Ken Theriault

Costco Wholesale Corporation Ken Theriault
A culture where it's natural for women to flourish

Women experience many life stages such as raising children, being pregnant, etc. And in order to promote diversity, companies must create and improve environments where such women can easily work. Having the philosophy of promoting women's activity is a natural duty of a company. This is because it is a natural culture for Costco.

Year of Birth
1958
Birthplace
Canada
Name
Costco Wholesale Japan
Headquarters
Issaquah
Founded
1983
url
https://www.costco.co.jp/
In order to even further promote women flourishing in the future, I believe we must prepare proper programs to fit with this and conduct appropriate training for it. It is important to properly grasp data on the company side such as individual employee data regarding who is placed in what environment, and what career they have built up for themselves, in order to cultivate human resources making the best use of people.

This is not only about women--workers have a variety of family structures, and there are challenges for each of these. In other words, in order to maximally support said challenges, it is important for the company to display a positive attitude. For example, if employees take time off for child care leave, they should have their same position secure when they return to work. They should be presented with a vision that allows them to continue to advance their career afterwards as well. It is necessary for us to achieve these obvious duties.

To give an example from this company, there was a position where few women flourished. For example, the job of merchandizing. This position was traditionally left to men in most cases, which is unacceptable. Taking the initiative on our side to proactively create a space for women to thrive and intentionally appointing women, we have changed toward a trend to have women in charge of management. Of course, in order to achieve that new programs are required. We have established a 12-week women's training program and furthermore are promoting increased activities by women. Asking what the women thought after finishing the training, we heard positive feedback such as "it was interesting", and "I hope to continue even more merchandizing training in the future". Hearing these actual reactions makes me very pleased.

To give a more specific example, in 1998 when Costco Japan had just been established, the 2nd person hired was actually a woman. She had just graduated university, and she was given the position of marketing manager soon after hiring. At first, she was hesitant toward her sudden duties, but with continuing support from those around her she continued to advance her career and rose to the position of vice warehouse manager. She has now left the company to get married and have children, but I hope to be able to work with her someday again.

Looking at the current state of Japanese society overall, there seems to be much debate on promoting women's activities, and as the representative of this company I am also in the midst of this debate. And in that position, I feel that there is an increased will toward creating more opportunities for women to flourish. But the most important thing is not debate or awareness, but action. I believe that our company must take the lead in taking the action needed to give form to the ideas regarding women flourishing which have been debated in the past.

Currently there are 4 female members of management working throughout the country at our company (warehouse managers). Being appointed at the top of a warehouse carries with it the highest hurdles within a career at our company, so the fact that women are flourishing as leaders in management like this is a very good trend. Furthermore, the director of the product purchasing department at our company is also a woman, and 3 women work as vice directors. The important thing to improve the quality of work is not gender. It is not age either. It is the skill of the person in question. We strive to be a company that focuses only on the abilities of workers without limiting to their age or gender.

Costco Wholesale Corporation Ken Theriault
Costco Wholesale Corporation Ken Theriault

*Information accurate as of time of publication.

Costco Wholesale Japan

Japanese Branch President
Ken Theriault