Finding Your Ikigai in the Midst of a Mental Health Challenge, with David Macdonald
Play • 50 min

Content Warning: In this episode of the podcast David Macdonald and I have a frank discussion of mental illness, depression, suicidal ideation and suicidal thoughts.

If you are in Japan and want to talk to someone about these issues please consider contacting the Tokyo English lifeline at https://telljp.com/.

Today on the podcast we have a very important conversation with David Macdonald about mental health challenges. Originally from Canada, David is CEO of an independent advisory and consulting firm, focused on supporting Japanese companies go global, and global companies come to Japan, especially in media and tech. Whilst in the corporate world David experienced some mental health challenges that led to a diagnosis of depression and then later bipolar disorder. In this episode David and I discuss what ikigai means to someone for whom simply getting out of bed in the morning is their reason to get out of bed.

If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, we’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. 


In this episode you’ll hear:

  • What brought David to Japan in the 90s
  • What it was like for David to be succeeding in his corporate career while simultaneously experiencing depression and being diagnosed as bipolar
  • The importance of being honest at work and at home about the internal challenges you are facing
  • About the work of a Japanese firm, Tech Doctors, using data from wearable devices to improve diagnoses and therapies for various illnesses
  • What you can do if you think someone you know is experiencing a mental health challenge like depression


About David:

David is CEO of an independent advisory and consulting firm, focused on supporting Japanese companies go global, and global companies come to Japan, especially in media and tech.  David brings decades of international experience, including strategic leadership, general management, culture development and talent strategy, and a rich multicultural background.


A Canadian native with formative years in Germany and the UK, David came to Japan in 1995.  Armed with a BA (Honors) in History and Politics (International Relations) and an MSc in East Asian Business, he also holds several qualifications in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Governance, and Cross-cultural Leadership and Management, and is a strong advocate of mental health awareness in the workforce, and is very open with his own struggles with bipolar disorder.


He helped pioneer NTT DoCoMo’s non-Japanese team in 1999, with the i-mode mobile internet service.  His trajectory included key roles at major media and tech brands like Disney, Google (YouTube), and Discovery as GM and President for Japan.  Much of his work at Discovery focused on transformation, and post-merger with Warner Media, he steered the Discovery business and served as VP for Networks. 


He also serves as an Independent Director for Tokyo Prime traded KADOKAWA CORPORATION, as a member of the remuneration committee, and stewards diverse non-profits as a member of their boards.


Things mentioned in the episode:

David’s TedXtalk: https://www.ted.com/talks/david_macdonald_let_s_talk_about_mental_health



Connect with David:

Website: http://djmac.jp

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/djmacdonald/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/djmacjapan

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/djmacjapan/



Connect with Jennifer:

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifershinkai/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifershinkaicoach 

Website: https://jennifershinkai.com/ 

Instagram Coaching and Podcast: https://www.instagram.com/ikigaiwithjennifershinkai/

Instagram Artist: https://www.instagram.com/jennifershinkai/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ikigaiwithjennifershinkai/


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