Tosh Hattori, ABC, IABC Fellow
PeopleFirm, LLC Organizational Development Consultant
TAF Board of Directors
I owe who I am today to the many people who have shared their time, experiences, and knowledge in support of my journey of continuous learning and growth. It is the generosity and willingness of those people who instilled in me the importance of giving back. But determining how, when, and where to give back isn’t easy when there are so many things competing for our time and attention. So, when Kris Kutchera invited me to join her at her table for the annual Varsity Luncheon, she brought to my attention the people and programs of TAF.
Kris’ invitation caught my attention in three ways. First, I have great respect for Kris as a professional and trust that anything she is willing to attach her reputation to is worth consideration. Second, as a life-long learner and past educator, I am always interested in how we may improve learning opportunities for young people. And, third, growing up in Utah where my face and color of my skin quickly called me out as “different,” while being told Japanese-Americans are no long considered a minority, I am passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion. I was also immediately intrigued by the core mission of TAF, which is based on what influenced my give back commitment – shared time, experiences, and knowledge in support of life journeys of learning and growth.
The next step in the process was for me to meet Trish Millines Dziko, and visit the school. Anyone who knows Trish will be able to relate to my first impression. Kris had already shared with me a little bit of the TAF story. But when I first met Trish, I was immediately drawn in by the passion with which she speaks about her vision, the students, and the teachers. Her enthusiasm about what has been accomplished and what we’ll see in the years ahead was like an electric current that that created a spark in my mind, heart, and body. This – I thought to myself – is a vision that I can embrace and dedicate my time, energy, and resources.
We often hear people say, “I’m willing to contribute to something that I believe in and something that I believe can make a difference.” TAF is more than something that I believe in and something that I believe can make a difference. I’ve met some of the amazing teachers and observed them interacting with their students. I’ve talked to some of the students who talk about their school work with enthusiasm and pride. I’ve worked with the dedicated, behind-the-scenes employees who give their minds, hearts, and souls because they see and experience the impact that their work has on real people. I’ve heard the stories of gratitude and achievement from the young adults who have taken their TAF education to become successful educators and business leaders.
These are the true reasons that I am a TAF volunteer. Thank you, TAF, for enriching my life with the opportunity to give back.