HR Director for Tenaris in Middle East and Asia reflects on diversity, purpose in the workplace

Tenaris HR Director for Tenaris in the Middle East and Asia, Yoshi Midorikawa, in Dubai. Tenaris

Yoshi Midorikawa, Tenaris human resources director for the Middle East and Asia, has navigated a dynamic career spanning multiple countries and cultures. His experience demonstrates the transformative power of reframing one’s perspective and the importance of empathy.

Midorikawa's journey began in Japan, where he took various summer jobs after high school to fund his studies in the U.S. He chose to study anthropology, a decision that would shape his understanding of humankind and society. “Studying anthropology made me more aware of the beliefs and limitations that can be imposed on people by society and the importance of challenging the status quo,” he explains.

In 2002, Midorikawa joined Tenaris, initially working in the supply chain area. Later, he moved to the industrial human resources team, where one of his responsibilities was to hire shop floor employees out of high school. “I felt very responsible for these young employees and often participated in their personal milestones like weddings and also in tough times, like hospital visits. Seeing the people we hired grow, both as individuals and professionals, is one of the best parts of this job.” This experience taught him to view employees as whole individuals, with lives beyond their roles at work.

Midorikawa reflects on his career at Tenaris spanning countries and cultures, finding purpose and empathy. Tenaris

In 2008, Midorikawa moved to Argentina for a three-year professional assignment, where he faced a significant cultural adjustment, moving from Japan’s collectivist mindset to Argentina’s dynamic approach and strong drive for results.

“The first two years were difficult, but that struggle changed me. I was determined to learn Spanish and fight my way into the culture. By the third year, I had found success. Learning the language was a paradigm shift: it changed my behavior and allowed me to better understand the people around me and to express myself more openly,” he recalls. “I even gave my farewell speech in Spanish.”

Returning to Japan in 2011 required another adjustment, navigating again the cultural differences while supporting the integration of Tenaris culture and procedures into the Japanese way of working.

His move to Saudi Arabia in 2019 was another pivotal moment, pushing him out of his comfort zone once again and leading to significant personal and professional growth. The challenges in Saudi Arabia made him question the real meaning of the human resources role. “I finally understood that my purpose in HR was to focus on people: to help them grow, to be close to them, to be empathetic. Work became much more interesting. Helping people through their challenges and seeing them grow is incredibly rewarding,” he shares.

By 2020, Midorikawa was working in the UAE, carrying the learnings of the challenges. This shift in mentality revitalized his work, leading to a new sense of fulfillment.

Experiences across different cultures have shown Midorikawa the value of diversity and collaboration. Tenaris

Midorikawa emphasizes the importance of empathy in fostering meaningful workplace relationships. “Empathy is not about sugarcoating the truth, nor about tolerance; it is about genuine human connection, deep listening and the ability to understand the feelings of colleagues and where they are coming from,” he notes.

His experiences across different cultures have shown him the value of diverse teams and the need for inclusion and collaboration. In the Middle East, the diversity of the team presented both challenges and opportunities. “Diversity itself doesn’t add value unless it goes with inclusion and collaboration. When we learn to manage the conflicts and process the different opinions and inputs, we can then build on each other’s strengths,” he explains.

His family, with both Chinese and Japanese origins, felt accepted from the beginning in this diverse environment. “My son Toshi didn’t understand the concept of where his friends were from at first; nationality didn’t matter to him,” Midorikawa shares, highlighting the enriching experience of living in such a multicultural setting.

When asked for one piece of advice for his colleagues, Midorikawa highlights, “Don’t forget to spend time with your family, and hold on to the things you value.”

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Our brand name is derived from the word tenacity, representing our determination to serve our customers wherever they are and pursue and achieve the goals that we set ourselves. It is about striving for excellence in everything we do. The colors in our multi-bar represent the diversity of the people that make up Tenaris around the world.


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