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Noriko TAKEUCHI (President, Congress Corporation)

A part-time job as a student led her to her current profession

Ms. Takeuchi first encountered the then-unfamiliar profession of “Professional Congress Organizer,” or PCO, when she was a student at OU. She still gets asked, “There are jobs like yours?”

Curious about the position and willing to try anything, she took a part-time position as an administrative staff member for a particular academic convention she found on a message board on campus. Even though she played a supporting role, she was able to experience the most advanced knowledge and get a real taste of excitement, which led her to enter a company for planning and organizing conferences after graduation.

After getting four years of experience, she and some colleagues started Congress Corporation in 1990. The company was involved in starting up The International Garden and Greenery Exposition, Osaka, Japan, 1990 (Expo ’90) and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. It has also been involved in over 200 conventions, such as the Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit in 2008 and the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meetings in 2012. For the Third Session of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP3) in 1997 in Kyoto, Ms. Takeuchi was involved in everything from receiving orders to operations of the historic conference as a superintendent of sales and was able to be a part of the historic scene. "The convention business is inextricably linked to a world that changes with every moment. We keep a close eye on what's going on in the world. It’s a very exciting profession!"

Opening the convention center at Grand Front Osaka – further developing an alliance with OU

Using know-how for organizing international conferences, Congress Corp. is involved in operations of some 80 conventions and tourist facilities across the country. In 2013, the company opened the Knowledge Capital Congrès Convention Center, the first private convention center, in Grand Front Osaka, a new commercial complex. Grand Front Osaka is directly connected to JR Osaka Station, which also boosts the Congrès Convention Center’s occupancy rate. 

Congress Corp.’s connections to OU have expanded even further through academic conferences in the medical field. She has kept in touch with her mentor, Professor Emeritus Tamotsu AOKI (currently Director, The National Art Center, Tokyo), since she was an OU student.  

“We also participate in community development as a member of the Grand Front Osaka community. I want to contribute to the community in cooperation with OU , my alma mater.”

She experienced different cultures as a student

From when she was a child, Ms. Takeuchi has always liked to read newspapers, which generated her interest in differences in cultures in the world. She entered the School of Human Sciences with the intent of studying cultural anthropology and experienced other cultures through her homestay in Sydney and a pilgrimage to Chartres, France. 

Her experiences as a student have served her well through her work in international conferences.

“I heard that the School of Human Sciences had had many idiosyncratic mavericks from the first class. We, the students in the 11th class, were told that we were just average, but there were plenty of unique individuals. We had all kinds of fun at camp, on trips, and at the school festivals. I started living in a boarding house in my second year. Chatting, studying, and hanging out with my friends in that house was a memory I will keep with me for the rest of my life.”

We want to create new worth

It’s been 2 years since she became President. The needs of her clients have diversified, leading to a lot of challenging work. She said, “We undertake grand projects on a global scale. I support my employees so that they will not succumb to pressure, which is also an important role of mine. Rather than simply taking care of business, we need to have a higher level of consideration for attendees and participants from all over the world so that they can be satisfied. The world is getting smaller, and I hope that our company can create new worth.”

In March 2016, Congress Corp. will start the first drone exhibition in Japan. “It’s been 25 years since the establishment of Congress Corp. Taking advantage of having our own facilities to hold events, we will expand our business from simply taking on assignments to more aggressively planning and organizing projects at our own initiative. We want to try to plan timely projects in reaction to world trends, too.”

With its sights set on upcoming events such as the Summit to the World Cup, and the Olympics/Paralympics, the company is about to take the next leap forward.

Have a strong will to bring about a revolution

Ms. Takeuchi has moved forward while cherishing her bonds with people and connecting her work with her own curiosity. She encourages current students, saying, “In this line of work, you need both communication skills and planning ability. I want students to connect with the world with a sense of curiosity and have their will to make a splash in the real world from the time they're in school.”

Noriko Takeuchi

A 1986 graduate of the School of Human Sciences, Ms. Takeuchi worked in a convention planning company before becoming involved in the establishment of Congress Corporation in 1990. She became Company Director and Marketing and Sales Promotion Division Chief in 2001, and after serving as Managing Director and Representative Director & Senior Managing Director, she became President in June 2013. She also serves as Executive Director for the Japan Convention Management Association (JCMA), Manager for the Japan Travel and Tourism Association, Member of the Cultural Policy Committee of the Agency of Cultural Affairs, and member of the Committee for the Improvement of the Environment for Tourism in Osaka Prefecture.

Corporate Information

• Congress Corporation

Established in June 1990, Congress Corporation performs planning and operations for exhibitions, events, and large-scale conventions, such as international and academic conferences. Congress also manages and operates convention facilities and culture and tourism facilities. Of the 290 employees at Congress, 8 are graduates of Osaka University.

Website: https://www.congre.com/en/

Note: This is a reprint of the article posted in the Osaka University NewsLetter No. 69 (Autumn 2015).

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