Debra Nakatomi has been a director on the Board of The California Wellness Foundation since September 2014 and was elected chair in December 2016. Nakatomi is president of Nakatomi & Associates, a Santa Monica-based communications firm dedicated to advancing social change and promoting equity and awareness initiatives for nonprofit, public and private organizations committed to social good. As an advisor to CEOs and executive teams, the firm designs communications and culture change initiatives.
Nakatomi has more than 30 years of experience in community education, public affairs and communications serving organizations committed to building philanthropy for women and girls, promoting health equity and advancing wellness for underserved communities. Nakatomi is chair-elect of the Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corporation and former board secretary and international commissioner for Girl Scouts of the USA. She previously served as vice chair of Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum and chair of the Los Angeles Women’s Foundation.
Nakatomi is co-producer of “Stories From Tohoku,” a one-hour documentary that aired on PBS in 2014 chronicling survivors’ stories of courage and resilience after the 2011 Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. She is co-producer of a film profiling the life and career of Secretary Norman Mineta, who began his early years as an internee in a Japanese American Internment Camp and rose to serve in Congress as secretary of commerce and secretary of transportation under Presidents Clinton and Bush, respectively.
Nakatomi received her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sacramento. She is a graduate of UCLA’s Management Development Program for Entrepreneurs, Gallup Leadership Institute, a fellow of the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute and a member of the 2009 Japanese American Leadership Delegation. She is recipient of the Changing the Face of Philanthropy award from the Women’s Funding Network.
Watch Cal Wellness’ video interview with Nakatomi by visiting our Sound Bites section.