Mid South (US-05)
JETAA Mid-South Chapter (Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas)
- Member (2010 – 2013); President (2013 – 2021); Senior Advisor (2021 – Present)
JETAA National-Level Activity
- JETAA USA National/Regional Conference Attendance
- 2014 (Boston); 2015 (Detroit); 2017 (DC); 2019 (Chicago); 2020 (Virtual); 2021 (Virtual)
- JETAA USA National Conference Presentations
- 2019 (Chicago): Reality of JETAA: Exploring Challenges in the JET to JETAA Pipeline
- 2020 (Virtual): Turning Ideas into Reality (w/Jennifer Tucker – Texoma)
- 2017: JETAA Reunion Attendee
- 2020: Reprised Reality of JETAA: Exploring Challenges in the JET to JETAA Pipeline as a Webinar for the USJETAA Leadership series.
- 2020-2021: Assisted in selection and implementation of new USJETAA Membership Management software.
Consulate/JET Recruitment Activities
- JET Program Interview Panelist (2019 – 2022)
- JET Program Application Reviewer (2022)
- Speaker, JET Leaver’s Reception (2019)
- Commendation for Distinguished Service to Japan/Mid-South Relationship (2019)
The theme for my 2022-2023 Country Representative platform is: Collaboration.
To me, collaboration means coordinating the power, passion, experience, and knowledge of our fellow chapter leaders, our Country Representatives, JETAA USA Board of Advisors, USJETAA, CLAIR, MOFA and the other supporting organizations and individuals in our JETAA ecosystem to collaborate in identifying and resolving shared challenges and opportunities so that we can better serve and provide resources to all 37,000+ JET Alumni within our regions and across the United States.
During my 12 years serving as a volunteer and leader for the small JETAA Mid-South chapter, I have faced – and tried time and time again to solve – a number of issues that all chapters struggle with: low engagement/volunteerism, engaging alumni across our entire region, engaging alumni in all stages of life; lack of interest in officer roles, and officer burnout – both among the Mid-South board and struggling with it personally.
I have watched in dismay as our chapter’s efforts to address our challenges failed to yield lasting success year after year and began to realize that many of the challenges faced by chapters cannot be solved individually as they are underlying systemic issues that impact all chapters. The only way to tackle these systemic issues is to join together with other chapters and supporting organizations in our JETAA ecosystem to identify our most pressing challenges and work together toward incremental and sustainable solutions.
The role of a CR as stated in the CR job description is to “collaborate and cooperate with the greater JETAA and US-Japan community, including all pertinent parties and organizations, to develop and nurture goals, initiatives and support the further development and success of the JET Program and US-Japan relations as a whole.” This charge is exactly aligned with my own passion for bringing our ecosystem together to collaborate on a more interconnected level by leveraging the power of connectivity technology such as Zoom, and through building trust in the idea that by working together we can achieve so much more for our chapters and entire JETAA community than struggling alone with our challenges as 19 siloed chapters. This is why I believe I am a perfect candidate for Country Representative, and look forward to using my time as a Country Representative to explore and facilitate achievable, incremental improvement on a myriad of issues, some of which I have outlined below:
- Improve exchange of information throughout the year between all chapters and organizations in the JETAA ecosystem through the continuation of Quarterly Forum meetings as a supplement to the annual National Conference.
- Educate JETAA Chapter leaders about the history and structure of JETAA USA to ensure that leaders are well grounded in our organization’s roots and history.
- Promote knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of JETAA Chapter Leaders and USA Country Reps, eligibility to be Chapter Leaders and Country Representatives, and how interested JET Alumni can grow their involvement in the organization with the goal to become Chapter Leaders and/or JETAA USA Country Reps in the future.
- Educate JETAA Chapter Leaders about the history and missions of the supporting organizations that exist in our JETAA ecosystem to ensure that leaders are able to fully embrace and coordinate with the resources and assistance available for chapters and individual alumni from our valued and long-time partners including CLAIR, MOFA, USJETAA, and our JETAA USA Board of Advisors.
- Coordinate working groups of volunteers from across all US JET Alumni and JETAA supporting organizations to tackle challenges such as:
- Creating a national-level centralized resource for the onboarding, training, and reference of JETAA chapter leaders to increase consistency of knowledge transfer and ease the burden on burned out and/or high-turnover boards.
- Revising JETAA USA Bylaws to bring JETAA USA toward a more modern, interconnected, mature organization that is up to the challenge of representing the voices of more than 37,000 JET Program Alumni.
- Addressing the universal struggle of finding and registering Alumni for chapter membership through discussions on how to make JETAA the natural next step for JETs returning from Japan, while also developing a framework for a collaborative national-level membership campaign to reduce the pressure on individual chapters to each run their own campaigns.
My 10-year career in Human Resources technology and processes has allowed me to develop a skill set for identifying and creating solutions for trends and challenges in the administration of programs designed to serve, support, and empower people. The skills from my HRIS role have opened my eyes to, and my 12 years in leadership of a struggling small chapter, have made me passionate about, identifying systemic issues challenging our JETAA Chapters and figuring out how we can work together to find and implement solutions that help all chapters and individual alumni that we are charged to serve. To learn more about my approach and thoughts regarding analysis of challenges facing JETAA, feel free to view my 2019/2020 presentation: Reality of JETAA: Exploring Challenges in the JET to JETAA Pipeline.
I truly believe that as we approach more than 40,000 JET Alumni, now is the time to discover the power that we can have when we join our chapter voices and efforts together to effect change within our organization and on behalf of our Alumni.
I look forward to an opportunity to collaborate with each of you in the coming year as one of your JETAA USA Country Representatives.