Satoko Sugaya

Marketing Manager, Medela Japan

After 11 years in the field of consumer electronics, marketing specialist Satoko Sugaya decided to move on. Today, she is enjoying her dual role as Marketing Manager at Medela and mum to daughter Emma.

As a five-year-old, Satoko Sugaya had dreams of being a florist, a doctor or a sushi chef. But none of the above bears any similarity to her job now. As a business graduate fresh out of college, Satoko joined the marketing department of a consumer electronics manufacturer. 11 years on, she was ready to change track. "I was looking for a new challenge and also wanted to have a say in strategy," recalls the ambitious marketing specialist.

In early 2014, she was hired to fill a marketing manager position at Medela that had her name written all over it. Since then she has managed a team of three women. Sugaya derives great enjoyment from having her ‘finger on the pulse’. "I often get to chat with mothers face to face to spot trends and gain insights," she says. Almost three years ago, her daughter Emma was born. Satoko considers her dual role as businesswoman and mother fulfilling and interesting. And her husband, Naoki, supports her.

The Japanese market presents formidable challenges, with most mothers believing that only those with special needs require breast pumps. Satoko and her team are working to educate mums about this and communicate the fact that breast pumps provide support for all breastfeeding mothers: they allow for greater mobility and flexibility while also stimulating the breasts to produce more milk if needed.

Satoko herself used a breast pump so that she could attend a friend's wedding; she left two-month-old Emma in Naoki's care, but made sure Emma had breast milk even while she was away.

Satoko lives with her family in an apartment in downtown Tokyo. Her hobby is kickboxing, but at weekends the family likes nothing more than relaxing in a nearby park.


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