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Haruo Kano: Reflections of an Alumnus

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AIESEC was my life changing event in the late 60’s traveling abroad was something reserved for the Jet Set and the rich, the first 747 Jumbo Jet was still on the drawing board, actual drawings made by hand not Mac’s, so for me, the son of a Japanese immigrant who came to Mexico in 1911 it was only an impossible dream to think to go abroad, then I met my local AIESEC UNAM committee and found incredible stories of my schoolmates that have gone abroad to a Congress or to a traineeship.

Little by little I started to convince myself that going abroad was not that “impossible”, I joined AIESEC and did all the chores and learned to do presentations (no .ppt available), work with no financial resources but Hey! I started to call on the first generation AIESEC  ALUMNI who only few years ago had founded AIESEC in Mexico, these guys were a total inspiration, they all were willing to help and support us, a bunch of young students with higher dreams, I was then chosen to take a traineeship in France and my whole perspective changed radically, then came my first IC in The Hague, wow¡ what an experience, I felt like I was at the UN general assembly, discussing whether Taiwan should be accepted jeopardizing the entry of P.R. of China, meeting 500 students of 49 countries and seen my Mexican colleague Cecilio Aliaga even running for PAI.

Coming back to my country from that experience, I was a completely different person, still having 2 more years of university and marketing diploma in separate schools,  part-time job at the family business and of course AIESEC, 24 hour days were too short for me but I accomplished all the tasks in time, while working at the MC I met a Swiss AIESECer who represented a Swiss bank in Mexico, he invited few of us to a dinner party at his home and fate was fixed for me, I was seated next to Mariana who was going to be my wife, we just celebrated 42 years of marriage.

After graduation I was still working for AIESEC as OCAL or Latin American Coordinator without smartphones or the Internet, finally the dark moment came, I had to leave AIESEC what an unhappy prospect, going out of the womb; the point here is that nobody had ever told me that there was life after AIESEC, companies did not appreciate my CV full of AIESEC achievements they thought it was just a fraternity or a student club. Due to AIESEC in Mexico acting as counselor of the Mexican Government in matters related to sending students abroad, I was able to find myself in Japan with a scholarship to study the Japanese Management System, during that period I met several Japanese AIESECers who are still my friends, coming back to Mexico, a very close friend who was MCVP during my time, was working as executive assistant to the CEO of the Mexican National Shipping Line and they were looking for a Mexican – Japanese representative in Japan, my AIESEC friend introduced me and I was hired on the spot for the job of my dreams, this job took to live in Japan 7 years and 2 years in London, I was called back to the head office and became their worldwide CFO, after 5 more years I left to go on my own and founded GNK which is close to its 30th anniversary, since the inception we have reserved part of our profits to give back to AIESEC, in fact since 17 years ago we provide AIESEC for MEXICO MC with office space, free lunch and infrastructure for their operations, I serve as Chairman of the BOA and I am the President 15-16 of AAMexico.

I have always supported AIESEC in Mexico and have never lost contact with AIESEC in Japan, France and Latin America, since the inception of AAI I have attended conferences in Russia, Austria, Portugal, Poland, India, Hong Kong, Ecuador, Panama and Colombia. We have made many new friends and loved every minute of it; I am fully convinced that AIESEC ALUMNI can contribute a lot to provide young AIESECers with the proper orientation to make their transition from AIESEC to ALUMNI and become true leaders in our communities by using AlumNet our worldwide group will be properly linked.

Now it is up to everyone that benefitted from AIESEC to give back.