Nona Black’s Career:
Born in Japan from an American father and Japanese mother and raised in Paris, Nona was thrust into a world of fashion, culinary, and art. Nona’s culturally vast experiences have shaped the direction of her life. After her parents divorce at an early age, Nona had a chance to shadow her single mother, a journalist in the food industry in Paris. She attended meetings and was introduced to world class chefs, artists and fashion designers. Her father, an artist, remained in Asia relocating from Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore to Bali and Nona would help set up his exhibit in galleries and openings while still a child. Nona began considering career options at a very early age. She had a passion for travel, world affairs and culture and decided to jump into journalism after graduating University.
Nona started as an assistant director and translator for Fuji TV in Tokyo, Japan. She worked on the production team of a segment covering Praemium Imperiale, the International art prize delivered by the Japanese Imperial Family on behalf of the Japanese Art Association. During this time, she had a chance to meet and interview artists such as English sculptor Richard Long, Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. She has also done freelance work for NHK on their show “minnade nihongo” as well as for NipponTV and their annual 24hour TV fundraiser. Nona began working at Fuji TV located in Tokyo, Japan as one of her first official jobs, where she learned a lot and outperformed others. She began working as an assistant director, runner, and translator for the company and hustled day in and day out to get as much out of her all encompassing position as possible. She gained valuable knowledge while working for Fuji TV which she carried forward into her future positions.
Nona would eventually move on from television to gain retail experience in Japan. She started with Uniqlo and learned effective Japanese customer service in their flagship store in Ginza then moved onto American Apparel where her ability to fluently speak English and Japanese allowed her to move into the company’s PR department quickly. Having had a grandmother back in Toledo, Ohio who ran her own bridal shop, Nona understood the importance of customer service, sales and having a good attitude and became a point of contact for American Apparel stores and Japanese media looking for the brands new wave of clothing. As much as Nona enjoyed working in the retail industry in Japan, Nona decided to pursue a new path in New York City.
With little American work experience under her belt, Nona began her U.S. stationed working experience in the sales industry. Nona started her career in the U.S. in sales across the greater New York City area. This experience shaped her life. Not only did she quickly become an expert in sales, she also learned the ability to relate to anyone from any walk of life and became a top seller, before moving into a corporate trainer and manager role thanks to her strong work ethic. A naturally shy person, Nona had to overcome obstacles and grew tough and strong through this commission only job that came with responsibility, quotas and deadlines. Through this opportunity, Nona understood that she now had the skills to recruit, train, manage staff as well as bring in revenue for any company she decided to associate with. It seemed a natural choice to move into entrepreneurism and start her own business. This job was not for the faint of heart or for anyone looking for a quick and easy buck. Selling door to door between the boroughs was a tough job that required strong commitment and a drive to succeed. Not long after beginning her career endeavors in the States, Nona began flourishing as a sales professional. She did however have dream of more and knew where she wanted to travel next.
At 23 years old, Nona started her own marketing, sales and promotions company in New York City’s financial district. From there, she expanded into Chicago, Miami and eventually, internationally to Australia setting up a base in Sydney and Perth. The once fruitful and exciting growth was, with such rapid international expansion, a challenge to maintain and the company was forced to consolidate some of its branch offices.
By 26 years old, three years after starting her own small start up, Nona was at the head of a $3Million dollar enterprise that generated over $13Million a year in sales for its clients. And they kept on coming.