To celebrate the culmination of Women’s History Month as well as Women’s Running Power Women of the Year cover featuring Sara Hall, four ASICS team members joined a virtual conversation that covered everything from inspiration and innovation to advancements in product development (and the increasing role athletes like Hall play in that process), plus their hopes and goals for 2021; moderated by Women’s Running Editor-in-Chief Jen Ator.
Read more about the four panelists here:
Hall, 37, is an American distance runner who has excelled in the sport of running since high school. Hall grew up in Santa Rosa, California where she won four state cross country titles, three state track titles and won the National High School Cross Country Championships.
She would go on to attend Stanford University where she was a seven-time All-American and three-time track and field runner up in the 5000m and 3000m. While attending Stanford, Hall competed in the 5000m finals of the United States Olympic Trials.
In the past few years, Hall has won several marathons including the 2018 Ottawa Marathon, 2018 Gold Coast Half Marathon and 2017 USA Women’s Marathon Championship. Most recently, Hall finished second at the 2020 London Marathon with a personal best (at the time) of 2:22:01. Just two months later, Hall finished first at The Marathon Project in Chandler, Arizona, securing a new personal best and second fastest women’s American marathon time of 2:20:32.
Hall married fellow runner, Ryan Hall, whom she met at college. In 2015, the couple became parents to four sisters who they adopted in Ethiopia. Their oldest is following in their footsteps currently running at the collegiate level.
Three-time Olympian and ASICS Elite Athlete Nukuri, 36, is a Burundian-American distance runner. She left Burundi in 2001 at 16 years old for Canada, where she was recruited by the track coach at the University of Iowa. After college, Nukuri turned professional and has competed in races ranging from 4k to marathon distances since 2008. Nukuri has represented Burundi in the Olympic Games 3 times – Sydney (5000 M), London (10,000 M) and Rio (10,000 M).
Nukuri, who has been with ASICS for nearly 10 years, recently became a U.S. citizen in 2017 and now holds dual citizenship allowing her to compete for a spot in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials and for a chance to join Team USA in Tokyo. Most recently, Nukuri finished 10th at the 15K National Championships in Jacksonville, Florida.
Following her graduation from Wake Forrest, Laura began her career as an Equipment Manager at Florida State University where her passion for footwear, development and athlete- and sport-specific product was ignited. Her experience at FSU gave her a unique perspective into the sporting goods world–seeing first-hand how a brand works directly with athletes to create products tailored for their individual needs.
Laura took that experience and migrated west where she began working at Nike. For several years, she sharpened her skills in Footwear Wear Testing and Consumer Insights, focusing on a broad swath of athletes and sports, ranging from professional soccer and football to Crossfit and barre. From there her career at Nike evolved into Product Management where she helped launch the 2019 Women’s World Cup kits.
In 2018, Laura joined ASICS’ Global Footwear Design and Development team focusing on Performance Running.
For nearly a quarter of a century, Tomoko Koda has been both a leader and trail blazer within the footwear industry helping brands build global programs, launch new departments, maximize top sponsorships, while developing strong connections between brands and consumers.
After spending nearly two decades Nike, Koda-san joined ASICS in 2016 as the Director of Global Marketing with the assignment of developing category marketing teams for the global brand. In 2018, her role evolved to lead the team on the ground in Japan to develop marketing plans and activations for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Now, as one of the most senior women at ASICS, she leads all global marketing as the Senior General Manager of Global Marketing and was appointed as the first female Board Member in 2019. She has been a driving force behind ASICS’ recent re-launch of the brand’s Sound Mind, Sound Body campaign and is a global member of the DEI Committee.