"Wanted: manager for the Mazda Internet Committee (MICE)." Chie Yokote was hooked by this advertisement in the in-house recruitment system. She wanted to do a job that would allow her to use her IT skills and knowledge, as well as enable more people, from customers to employees, to gain a better understanding of Mazda. And now the chance to fulfill that dream was right before her eyes.
Yokote joined Mazda in 1991 and was assigned to the Technical Research Center. As she continued working on the research and development of safety technologies in the Vehicle Research Group, she also voluntarily attended business skills training sessions during her working hours out of a strong desire to increase her skills. Among these training sessions, she was particularly enthusiastic about undergoing training in IT, which was rapidly becoming widespread throughout society at that time. Later, an intra-departmental move enabled her to use the skills she had acquired by setting up the Technical Research Center Web site,which contributed to the revitalization of the organization by streamlining work, allowing the sharing of information between researchers, and enabling the timely communication of information.
During that time, she married and had two children. Mazda has good systems for promoting work-life balance, and a working climate that makes these systems easy to use. After Yokote's first child was born in 1999, she returned to work after a year's maternity leave and used a system of shorter working hours to work seven-hour days. During her leave, she worried whether or not she would be able to catch up again after such a long break. However, she says that "thanks to the warm support I received from my coworkers, I was able to get back to my normal working pace just one month after coming back." When her second child was born in 2004, the system had become even easier to use, and she was able to combine work and family by using super-flextime and the half-day paid holiday system.
It was in fall 2006, while she was working hard both at work and at home, that Yokote noticed the in-house advertisement. She says she felt conflicted about applying. She enjoyed her job at the Technical Research Center and was supported by her superior and colleagues, making it a comfortable place to work. "But I wanted to try using the skills I'd built up to do something bigger. I wanted to take a step forward in my career. I said that honestly," explains Yokote. Her superiors readily understood her desire to rise to the challenge.
Today, Yokote is extremely busy managing the MICE secretariat and producing content. "At Mazda, there is a generous climate, and as long as you have a firm idea of what you want to do, the Company will let you take on new challenges. Even if you have children, you can use the various systems so you don't have to give up on your dreams. In my case, a fulfilling work life also led to a fulfilling home life."