Learn about the 2018 Laureates: Dr. Sachiko Kuno

We had a chance to ask Sachiko a few questions so you could get to know her better. Here's what she had to say.

Dr. Sachiko Kuno | Founder & Chair, Halcyon

Dr. Sachiko Kuno | Founder & Chair, Halcyon

Washington Business Hall of Fame (WBHOF): Did you have a mentor or a role model over the course of your career?

Sachiko: "I have co-founded 3 biotechnology companies in my life, through which I focused on transforming invention into innovation, which I call 'Seed Driven Innovation,' i.e. creating novel medicines. A number of pioneers became my mentors, notably, my father who was an engineer becoming a business manager, and Dr. Ryuzo Ueno, who was a start-up investor and a late father of co-founder/business partner, Dr, Ryuji Ueno. They all shared the same dream and vision – contributing to society by turning a new invention or new technology into a product and making it available to the world. They all taught me the importance of dreaming big and chasing that dream.

Similarly, Halcyon is a start-up non-profit that is focused on 'Need Driven Innovation.' There, Kate Goodall, a co-founder of Halcyon and many team members, such as Ryan Ross, became my mutual mentors. They are all visionaries as well as doers (executors) who are focused on transforming inspiration into impact. We also all share the same Halcyon core values, which are 'Optimistic, Risk-Tolerable, Nimble, Humble and Nurturing'. Sharing of such core values provided me with encouragement and strength time and time again.

Since my focus is to do something new and unique, I usually do not actively seek out a role model. Rather, I always try to remain flexible and find the best outcome."


WBHOF: What’s the one thing you want the Greater Washington business community to know about your company this year?

Sachiko: "Halcyon seeks and celebrates creativity in all forms and galvanizes creative individuals aspiring to promote social good. We bring together diverse groups of changemakers in art and social enterprise and provide a safe haven for their bold ideas to take flight. Halcyon offers an ecosystem of advocacy that encourages socially engaged creatives to learn, freely experiment, sometimes fail, and advance their talents and visions. In doing so, we foster new pathways to knowledge and resources, and help innovators transform their inspiration into impact.

We started the first program, Halcyon Incubator, in 2014 for social start-up ventures, followed by Halcyon Dialogue in 2016 to promote and facilitate the discussions among innovative global leaders, and Halcyon Art Lab in 2017 to support civic-minded artists.

In 2018, Halcyon produced a new, inaugural international arts and dialogue festival throughout D.C., themed around America’s founding ideals - Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This is By The People Festival, and what I want the Greater Washington business community to know about Halcyon this year."


WBHOF: If you were to create a slogan or a theme song for your life, what would it be?

Sachiko: "a. World is wide, life is long (my own life theme song)

b. Optimistic, Risk-tolerable, Nimble, Humble and Nurturing (Halcyon’s values)

c. Be positive, look forward, prepare for the worst case, and dream of the best case (for my start-ups)

d. Don’t worry too much about what you can’t change, but change whatever you can change now! (for my weekend)"


WBHOF: If you could choose one person, living or dead, to have dinner with, who would it be?

Sachiko: "El Greco in a small restaurant in Toledo, Spain (two of us).

I first saw El Greco’s paintings in Toledo, Spain, during my visit there when I was 20 years old. This was my first trip outside Japan. It left such a strong impression and gave me, who only knew Japan at that time, a foundation of courage to seek and experience outside."


WBHOF: What do you think is the single greatest challenge facing the next generation?

Sachiko: "Uncertainty under the condition that everything is changing exponentially is the greatest challenge facing the next generation. However, this challenge can offer great opportunity as well."

Join us November 28th as we honor Sachiko and five other outstanding Washingtonian business leaders at our 31st annual Washington Business Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Gala!