Nanako (she/her) moved to the United States from Japan at the age of six, and struggled with being “othered” by her peers as an immigrant who couldn’t speak English. These early experiences taught Nanako what it felt like to not feel a sense of belonging—and set her on the path to her current work as an inclusive research and anti-discrimination leader.
For the past 5 years, Nanako has been leading inclusive research at Airbnb, where she works to uncover and diminish inequities that may exist for Airbnb hosts and travelers, while also creating and evangelizing inclusive practices for product teams. Before Airbnb, she studied human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University where she was first introduced to assistive technologies and the concept of inclusive design.
Her passion lies in ensuring that she represents the voices of users who are often excluded throughout our product cycles. Together with a like-minded group of researchers, Nanako created A Practical Guide to Inclusive Research to empower and equip people with best practices for conducting inclusive research and building experiences centered on perspectives of historically excluded communities.
In her spare time, Nanako enjoys exploring urban trails, eating eggs in all forms, and being a die-hard fan of the Toronto Raptors.