Case Study

U.S. Japan Foundation, Trustees

Finding a new Trustee for prestigious board

Donna Tanoue and Colleen Wakako Hanabusa, Trustees, U.S. Japan Foundation



Executive Search





North America


  • The United States-Japan Foundation is committed to promoting stronger ties between Americans and Japanese by supporting projects that foster mutual knowledge and education, deepen understanding, create effective channels of communication, and address common concerns in an increasingly interdependent world. 


  • Our goal was initially to recruit a Chairperson for this prestigious organization. Based on context interviews with the board and key stakeholders it became evident to us that the board would benefit from appointing one of its sitting Trustees to the position of Chairperson. We shared this observation with the search committee and they chose to follow that path. Consequently our assignment pivoted to finding a new Trustee to replace the individual who assumed the role of Chairperson.  


  • When we presented our shortlist,  the search committee was so pleased with our candidates that they hired two Trustees. 
  • Colleen Wakako Hanabusa is an American lawyer and politician who served as the U.S. representative for Hawaii’s 1st congressional district from 2011 to 2015 and again from 2016 to 2019. 
  • Donna Tanoue served as the 17th chairperson of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from May 26, 1998, until July 11, 2001. Subsequently, in April 2002, she became Vice chairperson and Managing Committee member of the Bank of Hawaii. 



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