By GWEN MURANAKA
RAFU ENGLISH EDITOR IN CHIEF
Don Nose, 55, has been named president of the Torrance-based Go For Broke Education Center.
Nose, a Sansei, worked most recently as the director of major gifts, planned giving and gifts-in-kind for the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles.
“I’m very committed to seeing the story continue on into perpetuity, but also grow the exposure of the story,” said Nose.
Calling himself a typical Sansei, he said that leading the Japanese American veterans’ organization was a kind of homecoming to his roots. A native of Toronto, Canada, Nose first read about of the exploits of the World War II veterans in a book by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye given to him by a teacher.
“I felt a real kinship to the story, because of the story itself and my cultural affinity, being of Japanese ancestry,” said Nose. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with my community and be more involved.”
Before joining Go For Broke, Nose worked in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors. Nose created a nonprofit and public-sector practice group for the Staubach Company in Los Angeles and was a director of business development in the global corporate service group for CB Richard Ellis, both leading international commercial real estate companies. He came to California more than 10 years ago as director of marketing for Starbucks Coffee, where he was responsible for a multi-state region that is that corporation’s largest market-development zone.
George Nakano, who in January will assume board chairmanship of Go For Broke, said Nose was not a typical bureaucrat, but would bring an entrepreneurial spirit to the organization.
“You’re not going to find another Japanese American, or in his case a Japanese Canadian, who was engaged in the marketing area, which is very competitive. You have to be assertive, creative and innovative, and he fits that profile,” Nakano said.
Michael Ozawa, outgoing board chairman, added, “On behalf of the board of directors, we’re very excited about having Don as our new president. He brings us tremendous leadership capabilities as a result of his corporate and nonprofit experiences. His administrative competencies and fundraising expertise will give our organization structure and processes critical to our continued development nationally. He gives us the blend of skills we need to move our organization to the next level.”
Nose first met staff and the team of volunteers, many of whom are veterans or their wives, at a volunteer appreciation luncheon on Monday. Toke Yoshihashi is among the 100th Battalion members who volunteer with Go For Broke. “Somebody sent me an email with his resume, and he has a very impressive one. I’m sure he’s going to help. He seems to be a real nice fella,” said Yoshihashi.
Among Nose’s challenges will be to perpetuate the veterans’ story, even as their numbers continue to dwindle. Go For Broke conducts teacher-training workshops, has a substantial archive of oral histories, and also has plans to build the Go For Broke National Education Center in Little Tokyo.
“I think there is an opportunity to use this as a rallying point to get the community to collaborate better together. We’re a very diverse community,” said Nose.
Nose resides in Manhattan Beach and holds a B.A. in business administration from the University of Western Ontario, London. He’s a golfer, bicyclist, triathlon participant and former tennis instructor, and has been a coach for his son’s soccer and baseball teams. He is also a member of the LA5 Rotary.
Nose’s own life story parallels the Japanese American experience of toil and triumph. His mother’s family was interned at the Slocan internment camp in British Columbia, where they ran the camp’s general store. His father’s family evacuated Canada’s West Coast for Montreal, and he was in the first MBA class at Harvard Business school.
But, he said, there is at least one Japanese American staple that hasn’t reached Canada: Spam musubi.