Rich Okumoto


Rich Okumoto

Keys to the Future: Exposed

In the spring of 1970 I saw two shooting stars. Upon the first I wished for success in business. Upon seeing the second I wished to be a writer and an educator. Upon the death of both parents, 14 months apart, I decided that it was time to realize my second wish.

In 2006, while recovering from reconstructive neck surgery, I found my uncluttered time un-nerving. Months passed and my tension vanished. Three things happened: I slowed down and began to embrace thinking, I fell into a daily rhythm, and I became comfortable with fewer things in my life. It may have been an anesthetic induced calm, but it felt like I was floating and smiling all the time.

In 2007, after a one year recovery period I made the decision to never return to a full-time corporate position. I tried consulting for a while, but found no satisfaction in the work. By chance in 2008 I was asked to develop a strategy course for the Lucas Graduate School of Business at SJSU. I was then asked to teach the class. I found my heart in teaching and mentoring. It was difficult, but natural. Teaching and mentoring provided a platform for me to chat, share ideas, and write papers for classroom use. To improve my skills I applied to and was accepted at Gonzaga University. For two years I attended the university on a full-time basis – receiving my Master’s degree in Communication and Leadership in December 2011.

While attending Gonzaga University SJSU granted me two additional MBA classes to teach (both in strategy and one class is the capstone course). I was also asked to help develop a Financial Literacy course for undergraduate students. Although I had an accounting degree and had worked in corporate finance for many years; I went back to school for 1,000 hours of study to complete my Certificate in Personal Financial Planning and received my Registered Financial Consultant (RFC ®) designation. This qualified me to teach the class. This was the first Area-E Personal Financial Education class at SJSU. As a service learning project I combined this class with financial education training sessions in the underserved East side of San Jose. CommUniverCity, a collaborative community organization, facilitated my activities. I am currently developing one of the first MOOCs at SJSU using my Personal Financial Education class as the pilot. It will be launched in the 2014 Spring Semester. For my work at SJSU the students and faculty granted me Master Teacher status in 2011 and 2012.

Ironically, I feel that I am not doing enough. As an instructor and a Board member I continue my teaching and mentoring work in both the academic and corporate environments. To Accelerate-Time-to-Knowledge I am building and will soon launch the Dot University© (#DotU).

R.Y. Okumoto

Date Recorded: 2/14/2015

SITE: Site

Podcast of the interview Download:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here