Short Bio of Dr. Mieko Nishimizu
Dr. Mieko Nishimizu is an economist by training, a banker by profession, and a "leadership mentor" by passion. Mieko’s professional career began as an academic, at the prestigious Princeton University. A quiet life of research and teaching came to an unexpected end, however, when she accepted an offer to spend a sabbatical year at the World Bank. She bid farewell to an academic’s life and joined the World Bank’s fight against poverty. Fighting bad governance and nurturing good leaders became the hallmark of Mieko’s World Bank career. "I benefited from the wisdom of outstanding leaders, from all walks of life? village elders, farmers, women of city slums, prostitutes turned social workers, NGO activists, business leaders of social conscience, journalists, students, professors, and even a few Generals, parliamentarians, ministers, and presidents... They were my teachers." She discovered one thing these leaders shared in common: passion to do what’s right and to do it right. Their passion, in turn, fed their conviction, and connected their heart with head and actions. It was this consistent alignment of "mind, speech and body" that made those leaders credible to their people, and inspired others to join their cause. Mieko put to her management practice what she learned from the grassroots. She wanted to transform the World Bank’s "bureaucratic culture to one that serves the poor" and focused her work on nurturing "true leaders" among her staff wherever she was assigned. To put that "fire in everybody’s belly," Mieko asked her staff to follow her, and live the life of the poor people for a week or two at a time. Her change leadership work was a participatory learning process of and by her staff, with a strong sense of common purpose? a vision of what they wanted to be, and values they shared deeply among them. This work, which she continued as the Vice President for South Asia, won acclaim among notable Business School professors and other management experts. Dr. Peter Senge of MIT’s Sloan School of Business, and the founder of Society for Organizational Learning, refers to her case in his best-selling classic, The Fifth Discipline - The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization, which the Financial Times called "one of the five greatest business books of all times." Mr. Ron Ashkanas, a leading management consultant to CEOs on organizational transformation in Europe and America, details her case in The Boundary less Organization – Breaking the Chains of Organizational Structure, which won the Executive Leadership Award. In 2003, Mieko surprised everyone by announcing her resignation from the World Bank. Mieko has since declined all offers to take up leadership positions in any organizations. She chose to be "my own boss" and continues her passion of nurturing good leaders, in her various capacities, and through her popular columns and lecture series in Japan. She continues to reside in Washington with her husband, Mr. Wickham, but spends a good deal of time doing her writing work at her second home in British Virgin Islands. She commutes to Japan and to the Kingdom of Bhutan that "refuses to let me go," and telecommutes to the world thanks to the Internet age.