Naokimi Ushiroda has stepped down as the CARP America President to accept the role of Director of the Youth, Students, and Young Adult Ministry in America. Teresa Rischl has been confirmed as the new CARP America President.
In 2012, after some years as a CARP staff and then a CARP Board member, Naokimi accidentally applied for CARP President. Naokimi was applying for a position at HSA Headquarters when his profile got introduced as a candidate for the open CARP President position.
Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon (affectionately known as True Mother) soon invited Naokimi to Hawaii for a leader’s meeting. Then, on July 5, 2013 Naokimi was officially appointed as the new CARP President.
For the next three years, Naokimi led CARP to embody a new mission statement and deliver annual student conferences, a coaching and mentoring program, the “STEP UP” seminar and a UP points incentive system for students, develop strategic relationships, and launch the first pilot series of the Culture Wars Seminar.
The First “100 Days”
“Learn to look at everything as an opportunity to learn.”
It was challenging. At that point, there was almost no CARP activity so Naokimi was working often working from scratch. But Naokimi had the desire to live up to Mother’s faith in him and to continue on his longstanding personal mission to nurture and invest in young people more directly.
Naokimi’s history with CARP and his degree prepared him to tackle the difficult first hurdles of starting up CARP activities again.
While a student at University of Pennsylvania studying Entrepreneurship in the early 2000s, Naokimi founded a CARP chapter on his campus. He would gather students of different religions to hold discussions on present day concerns with goal to help young people find a relationship with God.
Following graduation, Naokimi worked as a staff member with CARP Headquarters. During this time from 2004-2007, Naokimi often worked from dawn until midnight motivating students and colleagues, inviting people to events, and connecting to local chapters.
With a plethora of experiences in the organization and a business background, you couldn’t ask for a more prepared person for the task of raising up CARP to higher level of accountability and reach among young people.
Naokimi also felt strongly about personal development so toward the beginning of his presidency in 2014 he decided to attend the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). After receiving his Certificate in Life Coaching from iPEC, Naokimi founded his own coaching business and implemented a coaching program for CARP college students as one way to empower young people in embodying the CARP mission.
Leadership in a Time of Growth
“Ideally, every person’s unique capacity for creativity is being drawn out. For that to happen every person needs to be challenged and stimulated.”
Having learned mostly “on-the-job,” Naokimi encouraged CARP’s staff to seek opportunities for personal growth and growth within the organization. New staff members were given an ‘other’ section on their job description where they could develop their skills in a whole new area, beyond the job they were given. By taking initiative from the onset, Naokimi’s team developed ownership over their skills as a means to contribute to the greater good.
Naokimi emphasized integrity within his team and the organization. He reiterated the importance of each staff member to practice the culture CARP is trying to create around the seven Unification Principles and five core values – integrity, teamwork, intention, development, and joy.
“You were a great boss. But many times I’d even forget that you were my boss, you were more like a funny, wiser older brother. Working with you, I’ve learned a lot about myself and about the world. Your passion for discovery and exploration was contagious. And your interesting life stories (about when you had breakfast with True Mother all the way to the suit scandal) were captivating and funny but with deep lessons.” – CARP staff member
Naokimi built up a team consisting of roles such as National Program Director, Office Administrator, Student Coach, International Liaison and Communications Coordinator.
“For me working with you has not just been a boss-employee relationship. You were my boss, my mentor, my coach, an older brother and a friend. So much more than that. I miss those conversations we’d have when it was just the two of us and we’d just talk about what was possible. Our conversations could go on for hours and would just get more and more powerful and visionary.” – former CARP staff member
CARP Activities under Naokimi
“I hope for CARP to invest in a better future … the alumni or elders can be there to advise all levels of youth. I strive for this space to be like a family, in many ways.”
With his team, Naokimi was able to establish ‘Momentum’ conferences starting in 2014. These conferences are designed to provide students with clarity and confidence, practical skills, and a support network.
Another characteristic of Naokimi’s leadership has been the development of a coaching program and a mentoring program for CARP college students. Coaching provided students with one-on-one guidance on crafting and achieving goals for a semester. The mentoring program allowed young professionals to develop a relationship with current college students who might have questions about career, life of faith, relationships, and how to balance all of it while studying.
In August 2015, CARP America was invited to design and host a Leadership segment of an international program at the Top Gun workshop in South Korea. CARP America was invited back for the following Top Gun workshops in 2016.
STEP UP, or STudent EmPowerment through Unification Principles, is the student empowerment seminar of CARP established in 2016. This program offers students the space to discover their passions and unique qualities and to be empowered by them.
CARP held a celebration for its 50 Years’ Anniversary in July 2016 as an initiative to gather, highlight, and honor CARP alumni and the history of CARP’s many campaigns throughout the years.
Naokimi’s leadership also led to a growing CARP Board of Directors that have led the organization to a sustainable position. Additionally, he has helped develop a strategic partnership with the Generation Peace Academy (GPA) program through their annual kick off and conclusion workshops. This was a chance to give new college recruits an opportunity to prepare for college and think about what kind of college experience they wanted to create after leaving the gap year service program.
Continuing the Mission
“There are many people who are excellent at what they do … but who among them are doing God’s will?”
Naokimi would ask himself this question since his college days. At the core, Naokimi is striving to follow a path he believes God has set for him. He started this journey at CARP and now he will continue his mission as Director of the Youth, Students, and Young Adult Ministry.
Even before the creation of this new role, Naokimi had been brainstorming and developing blueprints to educate, empower, and raise up young people from kindergarten to adulthood. With God’s will in mind for young people to realize their potential, Naokimi is now considering the future for all youth throughout America.
On an ideal day, Naokimi will be relaxing by a beach with his awesome wife, Shukoko, and their two growing children, Taeshin and Eri.