Japanese Students Get a Taste of Life and Leadership at eBay
By: Cicely Wedgeworth
On Aug. 6, eBay Inc. hosted 300 high school students from the area of Japan affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed about 20,000 people.
The students’ visit was part of a three-week leadership development summer program based at the University of California, Berkeley, that is sponsored by the Japanese company Softbank. Softbank’s CEO, Masayoshi Son, wanted to do something for the children of the devastated region, many of whom had lost parents or homes. As announced in May, PayPal and Softbank are planning to work together on PayPal Japan as a joint venture, and the student visit to eBay grew out of that relationship.
“eBay Inc. was the only company in Silicon Valley that hosted this group,” said Joe Streng, Senior Manager, Employee Communications. “We’re thrilled that we were able to extend our relationship with Softbank to benefit hundreds of young people.”
Streng also spoke to the students about eBay’s culture and values. “This was a wonderful opportunity to teach these students about leadership,” he said. “We also were able to demonstrate the eBay values by providing these students – many of whom were affected by the earthquake and tsunami last year – with an unforgettable day.”
Employees from across eBay Inc. who speak Japanese fluently volunteered to show the students around San Jose’s North Campus and answer their questions. After the tours, the students headed to the soccer field, where a carnival had been set up, complete with a human foosball field, games with stuffed-animal prizes, and lots of food.