People of Beam Suntory: Dru Yamagiwa


People of Beam Suntory: Dru Yamagiwa

“My grandfather always told me I would be one of two things. I'd either go into ministry or work with computers. I chose the latter for a variety of reasons. I’m grateful for the career path I’ve chosen - I feel like I was built for my role.


When I was younger and working retail, many of my coworkers built their own computers. This was long before it was common, and it fascinated me. I have them to blame for a lot of failed attempts at disassembling and reassembling my family computer. But I learned a lot, and it’s what really sparked my interest in technology.


I was very eager to join Beam Suntory in 2020. I’ve always wanted to join a Japanese company; as a fifth- generation Japanese American, Beam Suntory’s “East-meets-West” culture aligns with a big part of my identity. In a way, working here has helped me connect the dots with how I was raised, recognizing similar values and habits.


Japanese culture wasn't really taught in our household. My parents were encouraged to not learn Japanese because after World War II, it was seen as taboo to be associated with Japan in any way, so I’ve always felt like a very westernized minority among other Asian Americans.


During my first weeks at Beam Suntory, I joined Harmony, our Asian Employee Impact Group. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with others who may have grown up in a similar Asian American household. But rather than finding similarities, I ended up learning so much more from our differences within the group. One of the aspects of Harmony that I treasure is hearing people’s stories and understanding who they are and learning about their experiences. It’s interesting to see how the group differs depending on how long our families have been in America or how prominent Asian culture is within our identities.


I try to bring my whole self into work every day, both the western and the eastern. I want to leverage all my experiences to be a better person and a better leader.”


-    Dru Yamagiwa, Service Delivery Manager – IT, Chicago

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