Dr. Jody Hironaka-Juteau, dean of the College of Health and Human Services, joined a prestigious list of honorees recognized at the Marjaree Mason Center’s 35th Annual Top Ten Professional Women and Leading Business Awards on Oct. 11th, 2018.

Hironaka-Juteau was just one of 10 women selected for the recognition, which is bestowed to individuals that have made significant and impactful contributions to their profession and the community.

Each honoree was nominated by a community member and evaluated by a committee of judges comprised of Fresno County community members and professionals.

Fellow MMC Top Ten honorees included First Lady of Fresno State, Mary Castro (2nd from left).

Hironaka-Juteau was nominated by friend and colleague, Dr. Francine Oputa, director of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center at Fresno State. Oputa said it is Hironaka-Juteau’s leadership and spirit of integrity that make her an ideal Top Ten recipient.

“[Jody] is always willing to mentor and consult faculty and students,” said Oputa. “Students and faculty, myself included, observe her leadership style and her leadership skills and see how one can be an effective leader while staying true to who you are as a woman and as a person of color.”

As the first female dean to lead the College of Health and Human Services, Hironaka-Juteau is quick to credit those who guided her own professional journey, including Gwen Hansen, a former CHHS professor and mentor. As a student at Fresno State, Hironaka-Juteau found her passion in Recreation Therapy, thanks to the many mentors and faculty that paved her way, including Hansen.

Hironaka-Juteau (R) and fellow Top Ten honoree, Dr. Carole Goldsmith (L), president of Fresno City College with Gwen Hansen. 

Hironaka-Juteau considers herself a proud alumna of Fresno State, and now makes it her mission be an advocate and champion for the over 4,500 students she serves in the college. One way she does is by empowering students to embrace their identity and to value the unique voice they each own.

She was appointed dean of the College of Health and Human Services in 2015, and prior to that, served as associate dean for two years. Hironaka-Juteau is actively involved on campus, having previously chaired the President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity and helped to launch the President’s Cultural Competency Certificate. Embracing and encouraging diversity and inclusion, among her students, faculty and staff, are some of her core values.

“When we welcome others in and experience new and diverse perspectives, we learn and grow,” said Hironaka-Juteau. “We can impact the greater good.”

Outside of campus, Hironaka-Juteau’s commitment to service is equally stellar. For nearly 20 years, she has been a member of the United Japanese Christian Church, serving as both a trustee and board member, throughout the years. She has also been involved with the Japanese American Citizens League, including dedicating her time as scholarship chair.

Hironaka-Juteau’s service and talent extends much beyond the academic setting. What many are not aware of is that she is a trained martial artist and once taught youth courses at the Fresno Kendo Dojo. In addition, she lends her time as a professional clown, alongside her mother, Janet Hironaka. Together, “Chopsticks” and “Tiny Bubbles” (as they are affectionately known in the clowning community) entertain and bring joy  to patients at local hospitals.

Hironaka-Juteau’s family celebrated her recent honor alongside her. L to R: Mother, Janet; Father, Hiram; Hironaka-Juteau; Daughter, Aimee; and husband, Marc. (Missing is son, Stephane)

When asked about her latest honor, Hironaka-Juteau says all the credit goes to those she works beside each day at the University.

“I deeply value my Fresno State colleagues, who I have the privilege of working alongside every day to empower our students for success,” said Hironaka-Juteau.

[Video and some photos courtesy of the Marjaree Mason Center]