The Asian Cultural Council (ACC) Board of Trustees elected Josie Cruz Natori as its new Chairman. Natori has served on ACC’s board since 1995 and, in 2000, she helped establish the ACC Philippines Foundation and ACC’s affiliate office in Manila—one of ACC’s five global offices—where she also serves on the board. She succeeds Wendy O’Neill, who served on ACC’s Board since 2009 and as Chairman since 2012. O’Neill was named a Life Trustee at the ACC Board meeting in May.
ACC Executive Director Judy Kim said, “Josie Cruz Natori has been a stalwart champion of ACC’s mission, generously sharing both her deep-seated passion for the arts and her business acumen for over two decades. On behalf of the staff and alumni, we celebrate our distinguished Trustee in her new role as Chairman. We also express our profound gratitude to Wendy O’Neill for her conscientious leadership, unparalleled service, and rigorous support of ACC’s work.”
Josie Cruz Natori said, “My love for the arts began as a child growing up in Manila studying piano—a lifelong passion. While I adore my work, success in fashion is not enough. I want to be able to give something back, to make a difference in people’s lives. Serving as a Trustee, and now taking on the role of Chairman in ACC’s New York headquarters, is emblematic of that desire. I look forward to working with the Board and staff to continue providing artists, scholars, and arts professionals with singular opportunities to further expand their practices and pursuits through dynamic cultural exchange.”
Since launching the Natori Company, her namesake fashion and international lifestyle brand, in 1977, Natori has been bringing art to life with an East-meets-West sensibility as CEO and Chief Creative Officer. Previously, she had a successful career on Wall Street, becoming the first female vice president of investment banking at Merrill Lynch.
In addition to the ACC, Natori sits on the boards of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island Foundation. She is also a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and C200 and sits on the board of Westrock Coffee Company.
In 1988, Natori was honored for her achievements with the Galleon award, presented by Corazon Aquino, then President of the Republic of the Philippines. In 2007, she was given the prestigious Lakandula Award from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, considered the highest honor for a Filipino citizen. Natori was also recognized with Fashion Group International’s prestigious Humanitarian Award in 2012.
She and her husband Ken Natori currently reside in New York City, making frequent trips to Manila. She credits her entrepreneurial spirit to the matriarchal society of the Philippines where she was inspired from a young age by her grandmother, an entrepreneur, and her mother, a musician and businesswoman. Her father, a self-made man in the construction industry, also played a significant role in inspiring her career choices. Natori continues to embrace, celebrate, and honor her Asian heritage through everything she does.
ABOUT THE ASIAN CULTURAL COUNCIL
The Asian Cultural Council (ACC) connects artists, humanities scholars, and arts professionals across Asia and the U.S. Through fellowships, grants, achievement awards, public programs, alumni engagement, and other cultural exchange initiatives, ACC aims to build global arts communities whose individual and collective work serves to advance international dialogue for mutual understanding and respect. ACC is headquartered in New York City with global offices in Hong Kong, Manila, Taipei, and Tokyo.