Spotify Jo Tateishi

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Women in Technology Japan【Role Model Interview】Jo Tateishi

Role Model Interview vol.27 Jo Tateishi

Women in Technology Japan (WITJ)’s mission is to close the gender gap in tech and promote diversity and inclusion in Japan.

Our goal is to create a world where women can have the courage to truly shine and find employment in their ideal profession or industry and help as many women as possible to know about the possibilities of working in the IT industry. 

This series features people working on the cutting edge of the IT industry, sharing their enthusiasm, thoughts, experiences, and stories.

In this edition, we feature Joe Tateishi, who is the Head of Sales at Spotify Japan, a mother of two. Read her unique career journey and mission at Spotify!

Q1. Please introduce yourself.

My name is Joe Tateishi and I’m the Head of the advertising department at Spotify Japan. My previous job was at X, where I was in charge of sales for the entire Asia-Pacific region for performance advertising products. Prior to that, I worked at NIKE and was part of the leadership team that launched the Japanese e-commerce business.

Regarding my personal life, I’m a mother of 2 kids, my daughter is in the 6th grade of elementary school, and my son is in the 3rd grade of elementary school.

Q2. What did you like as a child?

I loved reading. Even when it was time to go to bed, I would crawl under the covers and read with a flashlight, and my parents would scold me. I also loved listening to music, and I would make something like playlists with mixes of my favorite songs on MDs and other sources and share them with friends.

Q3. What was your first job?

I grew up in a bilingual environment, and from my experience working as a freelance simultaneous interpreter while attending university, I initially applied for a bilingual administrative job.

However, at that time, a British woman who was in charge of the interview told me, “There is no doubt that you can do this job, but you have more potential, so you should look at a wide range of other jobs.” Her words gave me an opportunity to think about what I really wanted to do.

So I decided to start a company. In addition to being an interpreter, I became a project manager for market research and supported overseas companies expanding into Japan. Although starting my own company was not easy, I also learned a lot from this experience. Even now, my mantra is that “if I haven’t failed, I haven’t tried hard enough yet.”

Q4. What career path did you take after starting your business?

I decided to pursue an MBA because I had never studied accounting or marketing formerly. I chose the French business school HEC partly because I wanted to live in Paris, a city I had always wanted to live.

The students I met were diverse range of nationalities and backgrounds, and also they were motivated and ambitious, so it was very exciting to learn with them. I learned from the lectures, but I also made a lot of discoveries from discussions  with my classmates.

It was a place where I could truly experience the fact that “diversity is a strength.” 

At Spotify, we also try to draw out different points of view in our discussions.

After completing my MBA, I had many options. In the end, I joined a consulting firm where I worked with the senior management of global CPG and Retail clients. It was a valuable period where I was able to face the challenges of a top global company while still in my 20s. In particular, through consulting, I was able to grasp the situation in a short period of time, and acquire problem solving skills.

After being promoted to manager in the consulting firm, I was invited to join Nike Japan as part of the launch of NIKE’s e-commerce business in Japan. This was another fast-paced environment where no one had the “answers,” and we built the plane as we flew it.

Q5. How did you join Spotify?

I’ve been using Spotify since 2015, before it launched in Japan in 2017. I couldn’t even start my day without it. Then, I learned that Spotify were investing heavily in expanding advertising business in Japan.

In the advertising business, our mission is to give back to artists and content creators from the sales of audio advertisements distributed in the free plan. Now that Spotify has become a mainstream way of enjoying music in Japan, my mission is to raise awareness of Spotify as an audio advertising platform.

Q6. You have had a variety of career experiences. What was it like building your career?

After taking on new challenges, including in different industries, I think the most important thing I learned was to learn as quickly as possible in a short period of time and build relationships with important stakeholders.

Be humble and actively ask questions to build relationships with those around you, and take on challenges without fear of failure. Like we say, no questions are stupid questions. You won’t be able to demonstrate value by just waiting until you’ve learned everything, so I think it’s important to take on challenges while managing risks to some extent.

Q7. In Japan, when a female employee becomes a manager, sometimes they feel that she has to work harder than a man to be recognized. How did you feel from your own experience?

I gave birth to my daughter in 2012 while I was working as a consultant, and at the time there were only a few female managers in the company globally. To be honest, there were times when I felt like I had to work just as hard and as long hours as the male managers on the team. There was limited support for working parents at that time.

On the other hand, Spotify is a company where there are opportunities regardless of gender, and the company has many female managers.

Rather than focusing solely on numerical targets such as the percentage of women in leadership roles, Spotify focuses on building truly diverse teams, including people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds.

Furthermore, as Spotify’s mission states, “Unlock the potential of human creativity,” we are working to create a company where each individual can bring out their best qualities and work in their own way.

Q8. What a wonderful mission! Please also tell us about Spotify’s specific initiatives on DE&I.

There is a program called “Inclusion Mindset,” and as a part of it, we team up with Billboard Japan to hold model seminars for women working in the entertainment industry. Also, we  released the official playlist called “Top Japan Hits by Women” that spotlights songs from female artists ranked in the Billboard Japan charts.

Q9. Japan still faces the issue of a low gender gap index. What’s your opinion on resolving this issue?

Personally, having role models and mentors has been very helpful. I regularly get coaching from my mentors who are great leaders and ask them for advice.

Additionally I think it’s very important that companies create an environment where employees can take on challenges even if they are not perfect.

For example, at Spotify, both men and women can take six month paid parental leave, thanks in part to Sweden’s culture of valuing families. Recently, more and more male employees are taking childcare leave, and after returning to work, I feel that they have a deeper understanding of those around them and are more supportive.

Personally, I didn’t take childcare leave at Spotify, but my experience at another company has taught me how to prioritize and balance my lifestyle.

If you handle work, childcare, and everything on your own, you’ll end up being burned out. So, my advice is to trust others and that it’s okay to not do everything perfectly.  You are already doing the best that you can!

Q10. Please tell us about your future goals and career goals.

Our goal is to increase the number of people who enjoy Spotify, provide useful information to listeners through advertisements, and increase the satisfaction of advertisers. I also want to strive to continue our efforts towards building a team and company that grows, while allowing our team to express themselves.

WITJ hopes that this role model story will inspire and encourage you to shine and find your dream job or industry.

If you are interested in collaborating with WITJ or sponsoring an event, please fill out our contact form or contact us directly at