Jim McClellan: From Tokyo to CA

Kyle Andersen '15
After graduating from St. Luke’s in 1981, Jim McClellan followed a unique track that has led him to and from the US and Japan many times.
After graduating from St. Luke’s in 1981, Jim McClellan followed a unique track that has led him to and from the US and Japan many times.  He attended Haverford College and was pleased to find a similar experience to St. Luke’s: a small, tight knit community.  To this day, Jim remains very active with both St. Luke’s and Haverford because of the strong connection he feels with their respective communities.  Upon graduating from Haverford in 1985, Jim accepted an opportunity to travel to Japan and teach English to Japanese government officials.  Japan in the mid 1980s was a country with a booming economy at the peak of its economic power, and Jim loved his time there.  Not only did he appreciate working and living there, he enjoyed learning about the culture.  He later moved to Tokyo and pursued a number of brief jobs before returning to the US, where he attended graduate school at Columbia University and received a Masters degree in International Affairs in 1990.
 
Jim then joined a large multinational Japanese company, Kao, becoming the first non-Japanese person hired for its management-training program.  Initially based in Japan, Jim learned about each important phase of business while studying to hone his Japanese language skills.  After completing the training program alongside his fellow Japanese trainees, Jim returned to the US, becoming a liaison between the Tokyo Kao office and the American subsidiary.  He focused on launching and marketing new products in the American market.  Three years later, Jim headed back to the Tokyo headquarters and focused on business development throughout most of Asia.
 
Finally, in 1999, Jim started his own small tech company, Fort Systems, with a friend from Columbia University.  Kao remains an extremely important part of Jim’s foundation, as he constantly uses the marketing principles he learned during his time there.  Fort Systems streamlines and provides better access to a complex and confusing wine industry.  The company couples vast industry knowledge with a powerful software platform, allowing smaller businesses to utilize simple yet advanced technology.
 
Jim currently resides just outside of San Francisco, California with his wife and two children. 
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St. Luke’s School is a secular private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.