Lara (Zara) Espinoza

JETAA Chicago (US-07)

  • JETAA Chicago Vice President: 2018 – Present 
  • JETAA USA 2020 National Conference: Presenter 
  • JETAA USA 2017 National Conference: Delegate & Presenter 
  • JETAA Chicago: Outreach Coordinator 2013-2018 
  • JET Program, ALT, Shiga Prefecture 2010-2011

To my fellow JET Alumni, 

We are stronger and better together. When living and working in Japan, we all broke down barriers and built bridges to improve communication and foster understanding within our communities. Serving as an officer in JETAA Chicago for the past 8 years, I have shown my commitment and proven my ability to equip and empower fellow alumni leaders to transform chapter operations and culture for the betterment of the Midwest JET community. If I am elected as one of your JETAA USA Country Representatives, I will do the same for all alumni across all 19 US chapters and work with the 50 international chapters to help further unite and support our vibrant alumni communities across the nation and worldwide. 

Over the past 8 years as an active JETAA leader, I have: 

  • In the last 12 months, helped to organize over 40 chapter events and spearheaded the J-Talks series which has engaged 500+ attendees while providing a platform to spotlight the racial and social issues that impact our alumni and the greater US-Japan community 
    • Included the webinars highlighting a JET alum that organized the first #BlackLivesMatter Kansai march in Osaka and Mixed Multitudes that discussed the nuances of mixed race identity in the US-Japan community 
  • Created a comprehensive series of events spanning over 4-6 months that have onboarded hundreds of outgoing JETs to ensure their success living and working in Japan, which has established a reciprocal feedback loop, and is going strong into its 8th year
  • Built organizational structure by co-authoring documentation establishing a code of conduct known as the Community Conduct & Agreements that refocused the organization around respectful, inclusive and productive behaviors resulting in the ascension of new leaders in the community and increased engagement across all generations of alumni 

If elected to be a US Country Representative, I would: 

  • Expand on my introductory presentation from the 2020 National Conference to continue to create a shared language in our community regarding diversity, equity, inclusion and mitigating biases in behavior to cultivate a sense of belonging beyond the JET experience 
  • Work to create stronger communication practices within and between our alumni chapters by helping to define and implement inclusivity in the organization’s culture and values so we can actively listen, support and welcome all members of our alumni community 
    • Encourage open and accessible lines of communication amongst JETAA leaders to ensure transparency in information sharing to build trust through honest and courageous conversations 
  • Share my professional HR/People Operations and Talent Development expertise to partner on the local, national and international levels on how we approach succession planning, organizational structure, and the development of current and future leaders, while making and maintaining equitable systems and outcomes that connect and grow talent. 

As a multiracial/multiethnic, international adoptee and LGBTQ+ non-binary femme person – I bring unique life experiences and a valuable perspective which reflects the diversity of our dynamic JET community that will help guide and enable current and future JETAA leaders. Thank you for your time, consideration and supportive vote in this upcoming election. If elected, I will strive to have a successful year together while working to unite and expand our alumni community as one of your US Country Representatives. 

Let’s get to work, let’s have fun and let’s #JETogether! 

Lara (Zara) Espinoza 
Pronouns: she/they 

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To view Lara Zara Espizona’s CR Endorsements, see below:

Chapter Endorsement for Lara Zara Espinoza 2021

Chapter Financial Endorsement for Lara Zara Espinoza 2021