President &
Board Member

Mr. Kato is a sales, marketing, & business development professional with over 40 years of experience in high tech industries. Now he is the CEO at Silicon Valley-Japan Business Consulting and is helping Japanese and American clients to initiate/expand their businesses between the US and Japan. He has worked for HP, Agilent Technologies, and AMD.


Vice President, Program Development Director, &
Board Member

Ron is a global customer service leader with >30 years experience and has worked with customers of all cultures. Employed by Coherent Inc., a world leader in Photonics based in Silicon Valley, Ron lives in Sunnyvale with his family. He first visited Japan in 1987, has returned there dozens of times and is presently learning Japanese in his free time. Sparked by the positive experience of a student exchange and the opportunity to put his nascent Japanese language skills to use, Ron volunteered to join The Sunnyvale Sister City Association in 2014.


Advisor &
Board Member

Johney became involved with SSCA after his oldest daughter, Abigail, visited Iizuka and had an amazing experience. Johney practices intellectual property law at Levine Bagade Han LLP in Palo Alto. He was previously General Counsel at a start-up and he has also worked at the law firms of Morrison & Foerster LLP and Skjerven, Morrill, MacPherson LLP. Prior to law, he was a mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry. He holds a J.D. from Santa Clara University and a B.S. from U.C. Berkeley.


Community Outreach Director &
Board Member

Jay Yamanaga has loved Japan and Japanese culture from a young age. He is a member of the Mountain View Buddhist Temple and enjoys taiko, obon festivals, ramen and Japanese pop culture. After college, he was an ALT on the JET program in Motomiya City, Fukushima Prefecture. He counts it as one of the greatest experiences of his life and enjoys maintaining strong friendships.

Now back in the US, he is fighting a desperate battle to prevent his Japanese language from decaying and hopes to pass the JLPT N1 exam one day. He works as a chemist at Nanosys Inc., a Milpitas-based nanotechnology firm.


Creative Director&
Board Member

Nicole Nishimoto is a UX/UI designer for a Silicon Valley eLearning company. Prior to working in tech, she was an English language teacher for three years in Toki City, Gifu Prefecture and has spent several months living in Florence, Italy. Nicole grew up in Sunnyvale where she lived across the street from Jay.


Attorney at Law &
Board Member

Melissa's interest in Japan began years ago after having the opportunity to travel to Tokyo and teach high school in Okinawa after college. She loved the people, language and culture, and ever since has embraced opportunities to learn and be involved with Japanese activities wherever she is. She and her two teenage sons travel annually to Japan, where they spend all her money on convenience store snacks. In her spare time, Melissa is a corporate attorney at O'Melveny & Myers, LLP, working with companies at all stages of their life cycle.


Program Development Manager
Leave of Absence

Katherine’s interest in Japan began when she received a copy of “Tonari no Totoro.” Growing up in hot SoCal, she was, and still is fascinated by the lush Japanese countryside!

Katherine studied Japanese in college and interned for a summer in Okayama. She attended Stanford's Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies, where she picked up woodblock printing and experienced the value of a homestay. After working for Google in Mountain View for 3 years, she transferred to Tokyo where she mastered rush hour subways and biking with an umbrella. She dreams of moving to the Japanese countryside working on woodblock printing.


Office Manager

Mami was born and raised in Yamagata, Japan; although from the idyllic countryside, Mami's passion to improve her English and see the world has taken her to many different places. Mami previously studied International Relations in Ohio before going to work for Emirates Airlines as a flight attendant. Most recently, she worked for an American ad-tech company in Tokyo as an executive assistant and a simultaneous interpreter. Mami is currently enjoying her life in California, soaking up the sun and playing tennis as much as she can.


IT Manager

Nao Kondo is a creator of lifelike robots who is working to make real an imaginary picture-book like world using robotics. She has served as leader of the TRYBOTS team known for developing a penguin shaped underwater robot, and proactively works to make robots more casual and familiar. She graduated at the Keio University Faculty of Environment and Information Studies. Her accolades include selection for such lists as Forbes 30 under 30 and the Nikkei Business 100 people creating the next era, as well as the L’Oréal UNESCO for Women in Science in Japan Special Award.


Program Development Manager

Sinziana was born in Romania where she experienced her first camp away from home in first grade and, after a short homesickness night, she enjoyed traveling ever after. After graduating Computer Science and working as a software engineer in Bucharest she lived in Haifa, Israel for a few years and Mountain View and Sunnyvale since 1998. She worked for several software companies until she had her second daughter when she started exploring a new world with her daughters, organizing math festivals, volunteering as an art docent and participating in international fairs. After experiencing the magic of S2I and I2S exchange she is very excited to help connect the sister cities through art too!


Program Development Manager
Leave of Absence

Andrea's educational background is in geological engineering and planetary sciences, but after 20 years as an aerospace engineer, she recently transitioned to being a full-time artist. She creates abstract custom works for private clients and home stagers. Andrea also loves quilting, crafting, cooking/eating, reading, and traveling. She and her husband are restoring their historic Eichler home. Andrea is currently supporting the Sunnyvale Sister City Association in the capacity of Student Exchange Manager.


Program Development Manager

I was born and raised in Kitakyushu (a one hour drive from Iizuka). I completed my studies at the University in Okayama receiving a teachers license in PE. In 1995, I moved to San Jose and have lived in Sunnyvale since 2000. I have worked for Japanese high tech companies including Marubeni and Toray since living in the bay area. My mom lives in Nogata and my brother lives in Iizuka, so that I feel thankful to get involved with SSCA and make a positive impact between Sunnyvale and Fukuoka!!


Iizuka City Liaison

I have been interested in foreign countries and cultures since young age. So I like traveling very much. When I visited Sunnyvale as an I2S chaperone, the kindness of people living there and SSCA touched my heart. At the same time I’m into Sunnyvale and want to be a bridge between two cities. Currently, I teach English at a junior high school and an elementary school. On my days off, I often enjoy running. I’m looking forward to working with people and for people.


Program Development Manager

Jenny is a mother of two school-age boys and works as a grants manager at Sequoia Healthcare District (SHD). Prior to joining SHD, she worked in the public schools for over a decade in various teaching positions at the high school, adult school, and middle school levels. Her interest in volunteering for SSCA stems from her experience teaching English in Japan for two years, which she fondly recalls as the best years of her life. Jenny holds a bachelor's degree in English from UCLA, a teaching credential from UCSD, and a master's degree in counseling from San Jose State.


Program Development Manager

Born in Tokyo and raised in Yokohama, Japan, Kaori moved to the U.S. in 2001. She attended Foothill Community College and transferred to UC Berkeley, where she completed her bachelor's degree in Molecular and Cell Biology. Kaori's desire and passion for volunteering at SSCA is to help young generations to open up to the world for new and exciting experiences. While being a busy mother of two hyper boys in grade school, Kaori works for a pharmaceutical company as a regulatory affairs professional to help bring new therapies for cancer patients. In her spare time, Kaori likes being active: running, playing tennis, practicing yoga, and of course, loves playing and goofing around with the boys.



Born and raised in Osaka, Japan. Yushi moved to NYC, studied accounting at CUNY and obtained a CPA license while working at a Japanese CPA firm. He moved to the Bay Area in 2017 and has been working as a partner at Ozawa, Kaneko and Associates and providing attestation, accounting, consulting, and tax services to Japanese companies in the United States.


Program Development Manager

Anthony is a sales officer at Union Bank. He majored in Japanese and lived in Japan for 8 years. During his time there, he worked as an English teacher in Shizuoka as well as a Disaster Prevention Advisor in Tokyo. After moving back to Sunnyvale in May of 2022, he joined SSCA.


Program Development Manager

Daniele was born and raised in Brittany, France. After studying Computer Science, she moved to the Bay Area where she worked for SanDisk, Samsung, Apple and more recently Google. She had the opportunity to travel to Japan for business and really appreciated the culture and collaboration with her Japanese coworkers.

Daniele has been living in Sunnyvale with her family for over 20 years. Her son was part of the S2I 2022 Student Exchange program. She is supporting the Sunnyvale Sister City Association to enable other families to enjoy this wonderful program.



A Bay Area native, Cassidy fell in love with traveling at a young age, and especially enjoys exploring Asian cultures and food. She studied abroad in Osaka during college, and she taught English in Hiroshima through the JET Program. These challenging yet transformative opportunities reaffirmed her love for Japan and intercultural exchange.

After returning to the States in 2019, Cassidy connected with the community by attending a Japanese church and joining the Sunnyvale Sister City Association in 2023. She hopes that the relationship between Sunnyvale and Iizuka will grow and more people will fall in love with Japan! 🇯🇵


Media Specialist

Chance is a Bay Area native with family in the Sunnyvale area. He is currently a freelancing digital creative and is a prospective graduate student aspiring to do a masters in UX and HCI design. From a young age, Chance had a profound interest and fascination with Japanese culture and media and spent time studying the language and studying abroad in Kyoto. After graduating from university, Chance participated in the JET Programme as an Assistant Language Teacher in Kochi Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. He lived and worked there for four years and developed deep ties to Japan and wants to keep maintaining those ties now that he is back in the Bay Area.

(Mandy Malek)

Program Development Manager

Mandana has been an educator since 1996. She has an MA degree in International Studies and Global Education. Currently, she enjoys working as a substitute teacher for the Sunnyvale School District.

She and her husband are avid travelers and enjoy learning about the culture, traditions, and food of every country they visit. In 2019, their son applied to attend the SSCA exchange program. She found the program aligned with her passion and is happy to facilitate students and teachers alike to benefit from this program. She understands the amount of time, resources, and dedication needed for running such programs and is happy to be part of the SSCA team.


Program Development Manager

Irene is a 2nd generation Taiwanese American who moved from the Chicagoland area for undergraduate studies at Stanford. 30+ years later (including earning an MD from Stanford Medical School), she still calls the Bay Area home. She works part-time as a family medicine physician for PAMF and full-time as a mom. She is excited to be volunteering for the Sunnyvale Sister Association since all 3 of her daughters participated in the student exchange program and all had incredible experiences with their host families in Iizuka. She looks forward to supporting the wonderful connection between the cities of Sunnyvale and Iizuka.



Dustin is a Bay Area-based CPA who works with nonprofits and small businesses on their accounting/bookkeeping needs.


Program Development Manager

Purva's interest in Japan started as a child when she watched a Japanese drama 'Oshin' televised in India. Wanting to get to know more about the country led her to learn Japanese language and culture for her Bachelors and Master degree. Working as an interpreter in the telecom industry after graduation, gave her an opportunity to travel to Japan for business. After relocating to US and switching jobs, she lost touch with the Japanese language for many years. Most recently, she was a part for an art collaboration project between Sunnyvale and Iizuka being a member of Sunnyvale Art Club, and she's now excited to revive her Japanese language skills along with learning Japanese art. Currently she's working as an executive assistant at a Montessori School and enjoys art, hiking and gardening in her free time.


Program Development Manager

Elaine is a Bay Area native and has lived in Sunnyvale for fourteen years. She has a background in education and enjoys volunteering and working with the PTA at her kids' schools. Together with her family, she has visited Iizuka two times and is looking forward to promoting cultural exchange with SSCA!


Are you interested in helping the SSCA? We are looking for:
- Student Program Manager (2)
- Program Development Manager
For more info please email us at: volunteer@sunnyvalesistercity.org.