Patrice Tanaka is no
settler. Throughout a career spanning nearly four decades, Tanaka has
solidified her reputation as a best-selling author, PR whiz and, above all, a
person who believes that life is fully lived through pursuit of one’s passion.
Tanaka is Japanese
American, born in Hawaii and graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1974.
Shortly after graduation, Tanaka moved to New York City, where she quickly
immersed herself in the bustling world of public relations and journalism. One
early career highlight includes leading a management buyback that led to the
founding of PR firm PT&Co., which would later lead Tanaka to create
pursuits in PR, Tanaka has prioritized making a difference and pursuing a
fulfilling life. In 2002, Tanaka found herself feeling depressed in the
aftermath of 9/11. She was also facing the difficulties of the difficult career
transition that was building her own firm as well as caring for her ill
husband, who battled a brain tumor and subsequently lost his battle the
Usually a happy,
cheery person, Tanaka found found she felt a bit lost in all of the tragedy and
stress that had befallen her. But instead of succumbing, she fought through.
Later on, Tanaka would join the consulting firm Joyful Planet LLC as the Chief
Joy Officer. She also authored the book Becoming Ginger Rogers: How Ballroom
Dancing Made Me a Happier Woman, Better Partner, and Smarter CEO. The book
addresses Tanaka’s love of ballroom dancing and is a nod to how intermingling
business and pleasure can lead to a more complete life.
In addition to her
career pursuits, Tanaka is also an active philanthropist. Tanaka primarily
focuses her philanthropic energy on organizations that empower women and girls,
and is also an active supporter of organizations such as Asian Women in
Staying true to her
ballroom roots, Tanaka is also a trustee of the non-profit, Dancing Classrooms,
which supports social and emotional learning (SEL) by introducing ballroom
dancing in elementary schools.
Among Tanaka’s accomplishments are several awards and accolades recognizing her
involvement in the public relations industry. She has been recognized with the
Entrepreneurial Leadership Award by the Asian Women in Business organization,
received the Woman of Distinction Award from the Girl Scout Council of Greater
New York, as well as the Distinguished Alumni Award from her alma mater, the
University of Hawaii.
Above all else,
Tanaka’s greatest pursuit in life has been one of joy and happiness. It is
fitting, then, that her most recent endeavors with Joyful Planet LLC seem to be
a full-circle journey for the accomplished businesswoman.
“I believe if
everyone is living their life’s purpose – and by that, I mean, leveraging their
expertise, talent and passion in service of people and planet – we could,
together, create a more joyful planet,” Tanaka wrote on the Joyful
Planet website. Indeed, this statement summarizes the concept of
Built on the concept of whatcanbe, Tanaka’s previous pursuits in
public relations focus on the idea of “what can be” created from a vision and a
purpose. It is that larger-than-life thinking, the idea that anything is
possible with the right tools, has been the foundation of a lifelong career for