Alumni in 5 Spotlights
Todd Lukasiewicz '12
Rakuten Group Inc., Product Manager
1. Tell us about your journey since graduation.
After graduating from GVSU in 2012, I spent 1 year working in Lansing, with the company I interned with. In 2014, I moved to Tokyo Japan to join a small domestic tech firm. While in Japan, I moved to the Tokyo branch of a French tech company, which eventually saw me move to Paris to work out of their HQ in 2017. While in Paris, I met my wife, and we married in the summer of 2019 in the French countryside. In the fall of 2019, we moved together to Tokyo Japan, where we've been living and growing our family ever since. I give a lot of credit to GVSU for the amazing journey I've been on so far. The focus on a rounded education has provided me with a lot of soft skills and complementary proficiencies that have served me well while working as an ex-pat.
2. Share a favorite Grand Valley memory.
When I was a freshman, there was quite a snowy winter. One day, around the weekend lunch rush around Kleiner, a large crowd mingled outside the building. Suddenly, a man in a Hot Dog suit came running out of a nearby dorm. He was soon followed by 2 men in a Ketchup and Mustard suit, who tackled him into the snow. The ensuing scuffle saw a snowball being thrown, which then promoted a student watching from his dorm window to yell "SNOWBALL FIGHT". What ensued had to have been one of the most large-scale snowball wars in the school's history. I distinctly remember this as my "Welcome to college life" moment.
3. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
"Evaluate intention through the thoughts of the speaker, not the ears of the listener" Working abroad and in diverse multinational companies, I see cultural miscommunications every day. What is seen as a very soft request in one culture can be perceived as a harsh demand by another. It is important to set your immediate reactions aside and try to understand what the person you are interacting with indented with their words. In time, you build a better understanding of the world around you and create a skill set that lets you more easily identify the posturing of different cultures and how to best collaborate with them.
4. List three words you would use to describe your Grand
Diverse, Personal, and Inviting
5. What difference would you like to make in the world?
I just want to help the world become a little more of a collaborative and understanding place. We do much better as people when we put aside our biases and open our minds to different ways of thinking. No one person, country, nor culture has the best way to do everything. By sharing, we can find the best parts of each of us, and collectively build a better whole.