Educated in Japan and US, Naoe holds MA in Political Science. Her focus of study was Vietnamese foreign policy and economic development after the war and reunification. She first worked for Japanese government to assist Vietnamese boat people and joined UNHCR where she spent 13 years. She has extensive working experiences in refugees and migrants field and worked in various continents, often at hardship posts. She is still passionate about human movement and works for a local government and NGOs as volunteer while working for a Japanese business.
Naoe left her position as chairperson at Auckland Regional Migrant Services Charitable Trust (now called Belong Aotearoa) in 2019.