After serving as executive director the past two years, Stephanie Nitahara has announced her decision to leave Kizuna to pursue other leadership opportunities.

Her last day as executive director will be Friday, Nov. 13.

Stephanie Nitahara

“We are incredibly grateful for Stephanie’s leadership, dedication, and commitment to Kizuna these past two years,” said Amy Watanabe, Kizuna board chair. “During her tenure, Stephanie shepherded our flagship programs and developed new initiatives and partnerships to continue Kizuna’s mission to educate, empower and engage the next generation of leaders, especially during these unprecedented times. We wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

“I have immensely enjoyed the opportunity to lead Kizuna over the last two years,” said Nitahara. “The coronavirus pandemic posed many challenges to our organization and a clear opportunity to create innovative programming upon the foundation we’ve built for the past ten years. My highest priority was ensuring that we served participants at every stage in our pipeline and I’m so proud to say that we accomplished that goal and more. Thank you to the passionate staff, board members, and volunteers who’ve supported my vision and ensured we could create an inclusive and empowered community together.”

The Executive Committee of Kizuna’s Board of Directors is working closely with Nitahara to ensure a smooth transition. In the upcoming weeks, Kizuna will announce its search for its next executive director, as well as naming an interim leader. Information will be available on Kizuna’s website,

Kizuna was founded in 2011 to address a need for next-generation involvement in the Japanese American community. Kizuna’s mission is to build a future for the community through the education, empowerment and engagement of the next generation. Kizuna has an expansive network of programs for the Japanese American community; programs that teach the importance of culture, traditions, giving back, philanthropy and community engagement.

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