Nationality: USA & Canada
Time Living in Japan: 3 years (and change)
Employer: Tokyo Ground
Current Job Title: Through TokyoGround, I help share an exciting way to appreciate Japanese manhole covers. Through my consulting company, I help progressive organizations become more effective!
Areas of Expertise: Lawyer, Instructor & Businesswoman. I believe that polymaths are making a comeback. I consider myself one.
Education: I studied International Affairs and Modern Language (double major, B.Sc) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I obtained a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) at the University of Maryland School of Law.
Language Ability: Barely any Japanese! Native speaker of English. Native-level of Spanish. Basic conversational Hindi, Urdu, & Gujarati.
Favorite Thing About Living in Japan: First, I love the government’s well-developed public transit infrastructure. I appreciate that I do not have to have a car to enjoy life in Tokyo. Second, I appreciate the beautiful details in daily Japanese life (ikebana arrangements, manhole cover designs, and the visual appeal of set meals).
Favorite Place to Visit in Japan: I love outdoor activities. In Tokyo, I have kayaked the canals, visited islands in the bay, and hiked Fuji. There is no such thing as being bored in Japan!
BIO: Sabrina Hassanali incorporated her first company, a boutique floral design business, at age eighteen, just before beginning her studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology. After completing her undergraduate degree there, she obtained her Juris Doctor at the University of Maryland School of Law in 2008. Shortly after graduation, she began her legal career advising corporate and individual clients on US immigration matters. Disappointed in the draconian and backward US immigration system, Sabrina always kept various side projects to develop other skills.
Partially inspired by Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Workweek, and Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Sabrina decided to engage more fully in her own business ventures. In 2014, Sabrina relocated to coastal South Carolina and combined her business interest with her legal skills. She developed a small real-estate business with a portfolio of three properties. She worked as a real-estate closing attorney, representing large banks and mortgage lenders while serving as a property manager and AirBnb host for her personal portfolio.
Shortly after Trump’s election to the US presidency, Sabrina decided to leave the US. In 2017, Sabrina began work as a JET at Nishi High School while remotely managing her interests in the US. At Nishi, Sabrina used her debate, writing, and public speaking skills to help her students develop their communication skills. In 2018, FEW sponsored Sabrina’s participation in the Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC). Through the program, Sabrina led her team to win the Best Market Research award to investigate expansion opportunities in Japan for a Spanish multinational motorcycle brakes company.
Since 2019, Sabrina has applied her business experience in advising Tokyo-based businesses. She enjoys working with progressive organizations to address business challenges through her bespoke consulting service. For more information visit: Sabrina Hassanali.
For recreation, Sabrina enjoys off-grid adventures in nature or eating strange foods abroad. Since COVID-19 has placed a damper on her travels, she started a creative T-shirt business inspired by Japanese manholes. For more information visit: Unique Japan-inspired Manhole Cover Designs – Tokyo Ground.
Sabrina Hassanali comes from a family of adventurous entrepreneurs and empowered women. She can find relatives on five continents; they are collectively part of the larger Indian diaspora. Sabrina Hassanali grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, but has also lived in Tanzania and Argentina. She considers herself a global citizen.
Sabrina is a life-long advocate of a balanced professional life. She makes time for public service, a salaried role, and a side business in her professional endeavors. Through her example and leadership, she hopes to inspire others to keep growing.