Executive Director of Japan-America Society of Indiana Honored by Becoming Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash
INDIANAPOLIS - The Executive Director of the Japan-America Society of Indiana (JASI), Theresa Kulczak, was honored to receive the coveted Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash from former Gov. Mitch Daniels. (Mr. Daniels was Governor at the time of the presentation and is now President of Purdue University.) The award was presented at JASI’s holiday reception with Gov. Daniels in December. Theresa has served the Japan-America Society of Indiana since 1988 as one of its founding staff and as Executive Director since 1990. She has worked with the Japanese for almost thirty years.
The Sagamore of the Wabash award is among Indiana’s highest honors conferred by the governor to worthy citizens in recognition of their significant contributions to the state. The term "Sagamore" was used by the Native American Tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a leader among the tribe to whom the chief would look for wisdom and advice.
Since taking office, Daniels deliberately chose to confer the Sagamore of the Wabash award sparingly to enhance the value of the award and to recognize only the most worthy recipients.
“Few people have done as much to encourage our wonderful relationship with the people, government and companies of Japan than Theresa,” Daniels said. “Our state is blessed to be the only Midwestern state in the U.S. to have three major Japanese automotive plants and more than 240 other Japanese manufacturers within our boundaries. As this wonderful relationship has blossomed, everything that has happened has had her imprint, and she has been responsible in many ways for the success over the years.” he said.
Kulczak was the executive director and project manager for the award-winning “Bridges to Japan” exhibit at the 2010 Indiana State Fair, during which more than a quarter-million State Fair visitors learned about the Indiana-Japan relationship. Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Kulczak and the Japan-America Society of Indiana led the statewide fundraising campaign for the relief effort.
Prior to her work with JASI, Kulczak lived in Japan for six years (1981-1987). She worked three years as an account executive with an Osaka advertising agency supervising the Middle East accounts for Sanyo Electric Trading Co., and for three years as an English instructor in Niigata Prefecture through the Catholic Church. She also helped establish the Far East office of Converse, Inc., in Osaka.