Long time expatriate Michael Ghiglione was an individual of singular vision—hardworking, dedicated to his work and insistent upon the highest standard of excellence. His friends and former colleagues are saddened by his recent passing, in June this year in his new home of Guam. A service was held on August 6th in Tokyo, at the Franciscan Chapel in Roppongi, where Mike was an active member for many years. Attending the service were Mike's sisters from America, his former office assistants and candidates of ESI, colleagues from JCI Consulting, schoolmates from St. Mary's International School, and other friends.
Mike's impact on the Tokyo business community was substantial. As a specialist in the recruitment of executive secretarial candidates, he sought out and placed hundreds of Japanese women into administrative positions in foreign-headquartered companies. He had identified a market that many of his expatriate management acquaintances complained about: the lack of highly-skilled, highly-linguistic women who could assist them in their Japan offices. What they needed was a right-hand lady who could communicate well, and bridge the cultural gap. Mike had already made the contacts with hundreds of English-speaking women as an event organizer, and his work in education and training helped him to develop programs to prepare people for their career advancement.
ESI, his company, ran for a decade before the Lehman shock hit Japan hard and the demand for full-time, bilingual personal assistants fell to a severe low. But Mike's efforts at raising the professional bar, by preparing women for work at foreign firms and training them for long-term careers as assistants to foreign managers has paid off. As one of his trainees explained, without Mike's advice, she would have been let go at her employer—a European investment bank—along with dozens of other staffers. However, making use of his seminar tips, she so impressed her manager that she instead was offered a position of higher responsibility and a pay increase.
Mike moved to Guam in 2009 to help found the Center for Micronesian Empowerment, an employment training program for islanders of Micronesia that prepares unskilled workers for the labor market. Mike's passion for helping people prepare themselves for a better future was tireless, and it is a sad tragedy to know of his passing. The Tokyo business community lost a terrific friend in Mike Ghiglione, and we hope to remember him fondly throughout the future.
Rest in Peace, Mike.