Japan Society Appoints Shane Williams-Ness to Vice President of External Relations

New York, NY, April 14, 2014 — Japan Society has appointed Shane Williams-Ness to Vice President of External Relations, effective May 12, 2014. In this position, Ms. Williams-Ness will direct Japan Society’s fundraising operations; ensure consistency among media, marketing and development initiatives; and oversee relations between the Society and its Board of Directors.

"Shane has extensive experience in business development, strategic planning, corporate sponsorship, marketing, fundraising, donor cultivation and stewardship," said Motoatsu Sakurai, President of Japan Society. "Her expansive skillset, numerous accomplishments and unparalleled enthusiasm made her our first choice to fill this significant role in strategic planning and management of Japan Society."

“I am both grateful and excited at this incredible opportunity to be part of Japan Society’s leadership team,” said Williams-Ness. "My admiration and respect for Japan and its people began decades ago as a Rotary exchange student in Kyushu. The richness of the culture and the strength of the Japanese people left a lasting impression and sparked my passion for deepening understanding and appreciation between Japan and the United States. I look forward to dedicating myself to this mission and helping Japan Society create and fulfill its goals globally.”

Shane Williams-Ness comes to Japan Society from the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), where she is Chief Marketing and Development Officer. Prior to joining SPAC as Director of Marketing and Development, Shane was Vice President of Sawchuk, Brown Associates, a public relations and marketing communications firm. Her experience also includes positions as Senior Engagement Manager at Jaakko Poyry Management Consulting-Asia Pacific in Singapore, and Marketing Manager for the Pioneer Group in Boston, Massachusetts. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Skidmore College and participates in the Skidmore College Business Mentoring Program. She is a Board member of Saratoga PLAN (Preserving Land and Nature), the Wiawaka Women’s Center, and was formerly on the Saratoga Arts Fest Strategic Planning Board and the Japanese Cultural Association of the Capital District of New York State. At age 16 she served as a Rotary ambassador to Japan. Shane earned a Bachelors in Government & Asian Studies with a minor in Art History at Saint Lawrence University. She studied advanced Japanese speaking at Shirayuri Gakuen, in Kyushu, Japan, Cornell University and the Harvard Extension School.

Japan Society is an American nonprofit committed to deepening mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context. Now in its second century, the Society serves audiences across the United States and abroad through innovative programs in arts and culture, public policy, business, language, and education. For more information, visit or call 212-832-1155.

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