South East (US-04)
- JETAA USA Country Representative: 2021 – Present
- USJETAA Board of Directors: 2021 – Present
- Regional Conference Atlanta 2016 (Co-Organizer)
- JETAASE Treasurer: 2010 – 2021
- JETAASE Secretary: 2009 – 2010
- AJET Local Board, Saga Prefecture 2001 – 2002
- JET Program, ALT, Saga Prefecture 1999 – 2002
Hi! I’m Valerie Stewart, a native of Atlanta, Georgia. My interest and love for Japan started in high school as a participant in my school district’s foreign language magnet school. That newfound interest led to a chance encounter with a JET participant in Osaka, Japan during my time studying abroad in university. Her passion for her work as an ALT was the driving force for me to apply to the JET Program.
Serving as both secretary and treasurer of JETAA Southeast (JETAASE) allowed me to continue that passion while I was an officer. With over 10 years as an officer on the local level, I saw, firsthand, the JETAASE chapter go through various stages of activity, alumni involvement and ultimately witnessed our resurgence into a strong, active alumni organization.
In 2016, JETAASE hosted the Regional Conference in Atlanta. As one of the organizers of the conference, I was able to utilize my background in both partnerships and the travel industry to host the event. Those relationships allowed us to negotiate services with vendors from lodging, transportation, and various services. One of my goals as a Country Representative is to share those best practices with other chapters.
Serving as one of the Country Representatives for this past year (from April 2021) has been a great honor and responsibility that I do not take lightly. If elected to continue in this role, I will work to build upon the knowledge I have gained through meeting and collaborating with chapters to be an advocate for them on the local and international levels. My experience in JETAA affords me historical knowledge, as well as a fresh perspective in reaching our organizational goals.
As a Country Representative for JETAA USA, my goals are to
- Assist in developing opportunities for all JETAA USA alumni to further contribute to our greater alumni organization (ie. working groups, national initiatives, national committees, etc)
- Continue the Quarterly Meetings as a way for officers, leaders, and key partners/stakeholders to remain aligned on issues relevant to our chapters.
- Share best practices with chapters on how to negotiate services and develop partnerships in their local areas.
- Assist and support chapters with ways to connect geographically dispersed members/officers.
- Expand on the initiatives from JETAASE in increasing diversity among JET Program applicants, as well as teaching these communities about Japan.
To view Valerie Stewart’s CR Endorsements, see below: