The Sun: Sato Brings Family Values to Business

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MASAMI SATO comes off as a simple yet extraordinarily inspiring person. “Giving and sharing with others creates a natural sense of joy in our lives,” said the founder and CEO of Buy1Give1 (B1G1) – an organisation that focuses on social entrepreneurship.

Her passion in life is simple – give and share, and the path to happiness will lay out on its own. Based on this notion, she has built a global movement that serves to bring together businesses, charities and consumers in a different manner. “For example, we naturally give to our family members because we want them to be happy. So why not extend that connection to the rest of the world?” asked Sato.

B1G1, which she founded in Australia but is now based in Singapore, has reached 160 companies – mostly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in 14 countries. The B1G1 website lists about 700 projects for various causes in 22 countries which can be supported in two ways – either by personally donating or transaction-based through the website.

“The donation may be small but the thought of sharing is what matters,” said Sato. The money that is donated online will be administered by the foundation in Singapore. “Some business owners want to give to local charities so they can do that directly. But some would prefer to donate through transaction for a continuous period of time,” said Sato.

“Buy1Give1 is important to me because it’s not saying, ‘look, there’s a problem so let’s change it,’ but more of, what if we all lived in a state of caring and sharing?”

She has been traveling widely connecting with leaders and sharing her experiences about how acts of giving change the world and improve businesses. She is among the speakers at the Live & Inspire Conference: Creating Joy for Everyday Success which will take place on Oct 24-25 this year, where she will be presenting a topic close to her heart – Joy of Having, Giving and Being. “Being a speaker as well as founder of Buy1Give1, people probably think I like public speaking, but when I was young and growing up in Japan, it was the opposite. Teachers and family members thought I was a quiet and inexpressive child,” she said.

It was only after she left for Canada upon completing her studies in architecture that she got out of her “cocoon” and bloomed into the person she is now. “When I was in Japan, I didn’t speak much although I understood the language but in Canada, I didn’t know the language but found a connection with people. “It was such a freedom for me because I felt like a child again, learning the words one by one and to me, that was a life changing experience because I let go my fear of judgement,” said Sato.

Sato spent a few years in Canada before she continued travelling around the world to seek ‘more experience’.

“I stayed in Guatemala for a few months to study Spanish because I discovered the joy of learning new ways of communicating. I’ve also been to Costa Rica, Nepal, and India. In fact, I came to Malaysia 13 years ago.”

She said her journey to the different countries taught her something – she found that most people are the same. “The places were different but the people are the same. I think people have different values and ideas but our common goal is we want to be happy and people have different ways of defining happiness,” said Sato.

Sato felt people can choose to feel joy and happiness – whatever the circumstance. “Individually, we can experience more joy if we choose to, rather than wait for the circumstances to change. “If the world has more people who choose to experience joy, then the world will be more heaven than hell,” she said.

For more information on the Live and Inspire weekend, log on to www.liveandinspire.com

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