Renata Simril

“Diversity in Sports” will be presented on Monday, Nov. 13, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Japan House Los Angeles, 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Level 5, Hollywood. 

Over the past year, the Japan House Los Angeles Foundation has partnered with MUFG Bank, Ltd. to host a program series exploring the timely themes of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and how they are evolving in many industries and communities, including business, nonprofit, government, food culture, and entertainment. This year, the foundation has featured the changing world of entertainment in March, and hosted a special evening with Hollywood legend George Takei in August.

This fall, you are invited to an all-star conversation on how DEI is evolving in the dynamic world of sports. How are diverse athletes forging new paths in sports, at home and around the world? What are the new challenges – and opportunities – of an athletic landscape where sports, entertainment, and public advocacy increasingly overlap? Particularly in the run-up to Los Angeles’ next role as the host of the 2028 Summer Olympics, this event will be an invaluable chance to get candid insights from leading sports experts and accomplished Olympic athletes themselves.

Maia Shibutani

The evening will be moderated by Renata Simril, president and CEO of the LA84 Foundation, which supports youth sport programs and public education and is renowned for its advocacy of diversity in athletics.

In conversation with Simril will be sports stars such as Maia Shibutani, a two-time Olympic ice skating medalist, and Jun Endo, a record-breaking soccer player with Angel City FC.

Will Ireton, performance operations manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and former interpreter for Kenta Maeda, will also participate from the perspective of someone supporting the athletes.

Over the course of this candid talk, the panelists will reflect on how they came from diverse backgrounds and overcame challenges to forge inspiring careers through sport, and how to make the literal “playing field” of sports more inclusive and diverse today. After a lively panel discussion, guests are invited to join an intimate reception for networking and making new connections.

Jun Endo

Renata Simril is the president and CEO of the LA84 Foundation, the youth-serving organization committed to transforming the lives of kids across Southern California through sports and play programs, as well as through ongoing investments in infrastructure, research and education as a legacy of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Maia Shibutani is a two-time Olympic medalist, writer, producer, speaker, and consultant. In 2018, she and her brother, Alex Shibutani, made Olympic history by becoming the first ice dancers of Asian descent and the first ice dance team of color to medal at the Winter Olympic Games. Earlier this year, the duo was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

Jun Endo is a Japanese professional women’s soccer player known for her role as a forward for Angel City FC, a National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) club located in Los Angeles. She is also a member of Nadeshiko Japan, the Japan women’s national team, and was part of the 23-player squad that recently competed in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

Will Ireton

Born and raised in Tokyo until the age of 15, William Augustine Ireton grew up with a second-generation Japanese American father and first-generation Filipino mother. Aspiring to become a professional baseball player, he moved to Honolulu and attended Mid-Pacific Institute. After attending Occidental College and graduating from Menlo College in California with a Bachelor of Science in international business, he played professionally for WBC Team Philippines in the World Baseball Classic Qualifying Tournament (2012) and with the Texas Rangers organization (2013).

More detailed biographies of the speakers can be found at the link below.

Program Schedule

6 to 6:15 p.m.: Welcoming remarks by Yuko Kaifu, president of Japan House Los Angeles; Consul General Kenko Sone, Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles; Masatoshi Komoriya, executive chairman of the board, MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation

6:15 to 7:30 p.m.: Panel discussion (Q&A)

7:30 to 7:45 p.m.: Interval

7:45 to 8:30 p.m.: Networking and reception

Fee: $15. Registration:

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