For the past two years, my daughter Stacy, my firstborn child, has been working as an executive for Nike Inc. in China. She started in Beijing, and after a year or so she moved to a new Nike role in Shanghai. Stacy’s boyfriend Corey, whom she met at Nike/Portland several years ago, moved with her to China. Corey landed a job with Amazon’s China operation. Last summer, Stacy accompanied Corey on a business trip to Tokyo to celebrate her birthday. While there, they spent some time with my longtime business associate and friend, Mineo Yamamoto. Mr. Yamamoto was an executive with my company’s Japan distributor, Toyo Corporation. When Stacy was just six years old, she accompanied me on a business trip to Japan. Perhaps that is where her desire to be a “citizen of the world” was born.
Now here’s the news: while on that trip to Japan, Stacy and Corey decided to tie the knot! Yes, they are getting married, next July. So far, it looks as if the wedding will take place in Jamaica.
I’m over the moon with happiness for Stacy and Corey. Stacy and I have always been very close. She has been my “road dog” since she was just a few months old, accompanying me on local errands and long car trips and international excursions to Canada, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. She is a special kid, a wonderful daughter, and a splendid sister to Aaron and Nadiyah. I’ve known Corey for several years now, and I’ve come to realize that he is a pretty special person, too. In addition to being quite talented, he’s patient and kind, and he and Stacy have a special rapport that goes beyond their mutual love of sports and fitness.
Even though I feel happy and blessed, this is a poignant moment. I’m recognizing the passage of time, and feeling the torch being passed to a new generation. At moments like this, I miss my mom, my sister, my grandmother, and so many other special relatives. I want to call them and give them the good news, but they’re no longer here.
I had an absolutely wonderful time visiting Stacy and Corey in Shanghai a few weeks ago. They returned the favor and visited us here in Michigan for Thanksgiving, along with my son Aaron and his girlfriend Lesley. While they were here, we had a few local friends over for cocktails to announce the engagement and to share stories and advice about marriage. I’m curious to see if readers of this post will have some advice for Stacy and Corey. If you do, feel free to leave a comment.
Here is the message Stacy sent to tell us about her engagement following her trip to Japan last summer:
“Twenty-six years ago, Dad took me along on a business trip for the first major travel of my life, to Tokyo, Japan. It was the first time I had left the continent (I think), and it was when I discovered that the world is SO BIG with so much out there to learn and experience. One thing that I realize now is how lucky Aaron and I were to grow up with parents who so passionately promoted that worldview.
Pretty soon after I started working for Nike, I knew that I not only wanted to be a part of a brand that I had grown so attached to in my high school and college sport days, but that I wanted to share the positive impact of sport with others. I also knew that so much of what I hadn’t learned about the world were themes that were present in my own family. I remember writing in my official “Individual Development Plan” file that one day I wanted to get my MBA and work for Nike in the fast growing market of Greater China, where I could also learn more about my heritage.
I’m older now, and hopefully a little wiser, and I realize that my work doesn’t always feel as pure as ‘making the world better through sport.’ But the greatest gifts that sport and Nike have brought me are the experiences and relationships with people, and one very important person in particular…
This weekend, I tagged along on a business trip to Tokyo, only this time with Corey. We did all of my favorite things: we explored the city (while running), made art (with Mr. and Mrs. Yamamoto), shopped (a little), and ate (a lot). We got horribly lost *twice* on the subway and still enjoyed the ride together. On top of feeling so lucky to have grown up with an appreciation for world travel and new experiences, I can’t believe I’ve been blessed with such a supportive partner who would uproot their own life to join me. The fact that we come from such very different backgrounds just makes me all the more amazed, and keeps both of us looking forward to all the things we have to learn about the world, with, about and through each other.
So, we couldn’t be more excited to tell you…
We are getting married! Not sure when, where or how just yet, but there surely is something special about Tokyo.”