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.
Being selected as one of the Country Representatives for the past two years (from April 2021) continues to be a great honor and responsibility that I do not take lightly. I could never repay what I gained as being a part of the JET Program.
Serving in this role has given me the opportunity to work on behalf of all alumni and share your ideas and stories in a broader way.
If given the opportunity to continue as a Country Representative for JETAA USA, my goals are to
- Assist in further developing opportunities for all JETAA USA alumni to contribute to our greater alumni organization in varying ways – on both the local, regional, and national level. Additionally, I want to create ways for chapters with smaller boards to receive resources and additional support so
that they can flourish. (ie. working groups, national initiatives, national committees, etc}
- Continue working on the Diversity initiative to provide resources for all chapters to use in preparing and mentoring new JET Participants as well as tools for summer and fall JET Program recruiting.
- Continue the Quarterly Forums as a way for officers, leaders, and key partners/stakeholders to remain aligned on issues relevant to our chapters, making sure all dates are announced at the beginning of the fiscal year.
- Share best practices with chapters on how to negotiate services and develop partnerships in their local areas.
- Utilize and document knowledge and best practices gained from the past two Virtual JETAA USA National Conferences to plan a hybrid conference, especially, should this year’s conference be in-person.
To view Valerie Stewart’s CR Endorsements, see below: