BNY Mellon has a presence in 35 countries around the world, and operates in 17 locations across Asia Pacific. Our workforce is global as it is diverse. And that means as an organization we need to be inclusive to ensure each of us can bring our whole selves to work. What is right for our people and our clients also extends to the communities we operate in.
That is why as part of our Diversity and Inclusion programs in the community, we sponsor professional wheelchair tennis player Shingo Kunieda from Japan. At our recent event in Tokyo in November, Kunieda, a Paralympic gold medalist (London and Beijing) with a remarkable 26 Grand Slam victories, spoke about his motivations, dealing with pressure as well as the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Kunieda’s perseverance, achievements and attitude towards embracing change convey a strong message to all, one that fuels hope and inspiration that goes well beyond the confines of the office. Yet his experience and approach to sport also draws parallels in business.
Kunieda said he found it easier to find the motivation to get to the top than to stay at the top. After an initial slump in form, he managed to get back up in ranking by changing his approach. “I started to work not towards the ‘outside’ but what was ‘inside,” he said. “I set certain criteria within myself, my own internal targets.”
By focusing on himself, his targets and what he could control, rather than worrying about his opponents, he has retained his title as one of the top professional wheelchair tennis players in the world.
Shingo Kunieda, renowned professional wheelchair tennis player
For most spectators and supporters, the focus now is shifting to the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. But the pressure and build-up are not on Kunieda’s mind at present. “There is less than a year to go and I am often getting asked how I am getting ready.”
Kunieda said he is focusing now on the Australian Open and then the French Open. “My target is the Grand Slam, all the major tournaments, and the Paralympics,” he said, but added that his immediate focus was an event in Orlando. “After that, the Australian Open.”
An important support is having his wife accompanying him on the tour. The work-life balance plays an important part in elite sports. “For the past three years, my wife has come with me to major tournaments overseas, so when in hotels I can feel very relaxed and at home.“
BNY Mellon is a firm believer in embracing change, commitment and perseverance, which go hand-in-hand with diversity and inclusion, and point to a better future. Throughout his career, Kunieda has challenged common perceptions and misconceptions of people with disabilities. We are glad that our partnership with Kunieda is set to continue and wish him success at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and beyond.
The views expressed herein are those of the panel speakers and may not reflect the views of BNY Mellon. This does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, investment, financial or other professional advice on any matter and does not constitute a recommendation by BNY Mellon of any kind.