SUNNY SIDE UP, Inc.

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Company: SUNNY SIDE UP, Inc. Tokyo, Japan
Company Description: SUNNY SIDE UP is a Japanese PR enterprise with more than 30 years in the business. Lead by co-founder Etsuko Tsugihara, SSU now has subsidiaries and branches not only in Japan but also Hawaii and S. Korea. Unusual for a Japanese corporation, more than half of the 140 plus employees are females. SSU has grown in recent years and received acknowledgement by both domestic and international awards.
Nomination Category: Company/Organization Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Women-Run Workplace of the Year - More Than 10 Employees

Nomination Title: SUNNY SIDE UP, Inc. - Women-run in a male dominant country

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated organization since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

SUNNY SIDE UP has grown from a small standard PR firm representing corporations and athletes, to a public relations enterprise offering a wide range of services. Priding ourselves in taking on new challenges and creating a buzz, SSU has made significant advances in its business practices, company structure, and its status as a trend setter.

One of our greatest achievements has been our continued involvement with Australian restaurateur Bill Granger, known for his all day casual dining fare, who entrusted SSU to handle his entire business development including advance marketing research and restaurant site location. The success in Japan has exceeded expectations, enabling us to open 2 locations in S. Korea, as well as expand to the Kyushu region of Japan which has always been a challenge for foreign businesses. We are unable to disclose sales figures, but the lines outside of the 6 locations within our franchise territory (Asia including Hawaii) are a testament to the chain’s great success.

Culturally, we have continued to expand the OMOTENASHI Selection project, now in its third year. Begun as a way to introduce the unique concept of “omotenashi” to both the domestic and international markets, the project seeks out products/services that exemplify the hospitality and sensibilities of the Japanese culture. The 2016 project attracted 274 applications with 90 receiving accreditation. ENGAWA Co., Ltd., a newly formed subsidiary, provides follow-up PR, marketing and distribution services including e-commerce opportunities in Japan and mainland China.

Combining social contributions with business, we created a social movement of volunteerism in our third year representing RockCorps in Japan. Wrapping up the 4- month project with a “celebration” on September 3, close to 4100 volunteers came together to celebrate the time, energy and emotion that is put into assisting with ongoing recovery efforts in the areas hardest hit by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. What is unique is that SSU was responsible for every phase from soliciting sponsors, recruiting and organizing volunteer projects and volunteers, to setting up artists to perform at the live event, and producing the entire celebration. There are repeat volunteers looking forward to participating in the 100 to 140 volunteer activities that provide not only physical but emotional support for those still suffering after more than 5 years. Having added local volunteer projects (beach clean-up in Yokohama), providing free transportation between Tokyo and the celebration venue, offering discounts on car rentals and hotel packages for volunteer activities outside of Tokyo helped to attract the most volunteers to date.

Our activities are also socially diverse. As the first Japanese corporation to establish a contract with U.S. LGBT marketing agency Target 10, SSU offers consultation and support with respect to LGBT issues for corporations in the Japanese market. A groundbreaking endeavor in a very conservative culture, SSU started by incorporating 2 new employee benefit programs: "Dear Woman" which provides financial assistance for egg freezing, and the "Partnership” system which recognizes same sex partners and extends the same benefits available to heterosexual couples. SSU continues to be in the forefront of the social wave, and our activities have garnered a lot of attention from the media.

Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the nominated company (up to 125 words):

Etsuko Tsugihara is the current CEO of SUNNY SIDE UP, Inc., a multi-faceted PR enterprise that provides comprehensive PR and marketing services for corporations and individuals seeking to establish brand recognition in Japan and abroad. Starting up SSU while still in high school with her mother’s help, Etsuko immediately drew attention with her unique style which led to the company motto of “Let’s have fun!”.

As a female executive in a male driven culture, Etsuko has continued to change the rules, challenging the limits of what can be done by a PR firm. Firmly believing that a true leader leads by example, she is active socially (LGBTQ issues and volunteerism) and politically (advisory council for 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games). Etsuko continues to create a buzz.

Choose one (even if both apply): The CEO (or other principal manager) of this company is a woman, and at least 40% of the management team is comprised of women.