JETAA Northern California (US-13)
Kumamoto, ALT, 2002-2006
JETAA USA Country Representative Platform
“The Next 30 Years: The Future of JETAA Begins with Us”
I was sitting in that DC ballroom last summer at the JET30 Reunion. Around the table were fellow Kumamoto JETs. Around us were 200 fellow JET alumni from all over the country and the world. At that moment I felt the immense power of our JET community all around me. It was a wonderful feeling that I know many of you felt in that room.
If I am fortunate enough to earn your support to serve as your Country Representative (CR) for a second term, I pledge to continue to strive to help all of our alumni feel the great power of our community that we felt in that room last summer.
To honor this pledge, I will draw on the many different ways I experienced the power of our community in action during the past year. By any measure it was a watershed year for JETAA and the JET Program. I was proud to serve on the planning committee that produced the JET30 Reunion, an amazing reunion of JET alumni and friends from across the country and around the world — including so many of you — to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the JET Program.
It was in front of those 200 alumni at JET30 that I announced the launch of the KenJETkai Program, a global initiative I developed with the support of CLAIR and JETAA International (JETAAi) to reconnect JET alumni with their home prefectures. Strange as it may seem, we have never gathered ourselves by our home prefectures, which is where our deepest ties to Japan lie.
This odd fact became clear to me in 2015, when I was selected by CLAIR to return to my beloved home prefecture of Kumamoto on the JET Programme Satogaeri Project, 10 years after finishing JET. I wondered if we could give all alumni around the globe a meaningful “satogaeri” experience in reconnecting with their home prefectures. The KenJETkai Program was the result.
I’m happy to say that the KenJETkai Program is off to a fantastic start, having already reconnected over 3,800 alumni around the world with their home prefectures — 33 prefectures and counting. (Don’t see your prefecture group listed? Start it here today!) As your CR, I hope to continue working with CLAIR and JETAAi to implement the second phase of the KenJETkai Program: connecting each KenJETkai group with their Prefectural Office to start a dialogue of how they can work together to increase local cultural and economic exchange.
I also witnessed the power of our community in action at our 2017 National Conference, where I saw delegate after delegate share valuable insights and experiences that all of our chapters could use to strengthen the power of our network and serve their alumni better. I was proud of my lead role in working with my fellow CRs Monica and Cheryl in planning and delivering what I hope was a meaningful conference for everyone. I hope to use this experience to work with all of you to plan another fantastic NatCon in 2018 that helps us strengthen our local chapters and global network even further! In particular, I hope we can continue to work together to address our common, ongoing challenges, including:
- How do we best manage chapter operations?
- How do we deal with officer burnout and turnover?
- How do we engage our alumni and keep them active?
- How do we bridge geographical divides?
- How do we re-engage our “sempai” alumni who have been back 10+ years?
- How do we engage the growing number of alumni who prefer to interact virtually rather than in person?
- How do we help our alumni find quality jobs and develop their careers?
- How do we develop our own professional and leadership skills?
In working with you to overcome these challenges, I will draw upon my 11 years of passionate involvement as a leader in JETAA. This includes the amazing past year as your CR, 3 years leading JETAANC with my team as President, and 7 years before that as JETAANC Vice President and Communications Director. Over those years I have developed and maintained a wide network of close friendships with officers across the country, as well as with the CRs, the JETAA USA Advisory Board, CLAIR New York and Tokyo, Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, AJET officers, Steven Horowitz of JETwit.com, and the Board of Directors along with Executive Director, Bahia Simons-Lane, at USJETAA.
One of my proudest accomplishments in JETAA was participating in the Working Group that laid the groundwork for USJETAA. I was humbled to have the opportunity to get to know the CRs of 11 countries through my participation in the JET Programme Satogaeri Project. I have formed an especially good relationship with Greg Joughin, Country Representative for JETAA Canada, as well as Canadian chapter leaders through my participation in the 2017 JETAA Canada National Conference. I will also draw upon my 18 years of professional experience, including 4 years as a JET in Kumamoto and 14 years as a Marketing Manager, currently at a “Big 4” accounting firm.
I thank you sincerely for the opportunity to ask you for the privilege of continuing to serve as your CR for another term. I believe that there is so much more we can do together. As always, I welcome your ideas and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to the prospect of continuing to work with you as we launch into the next 30 years of JETAA! よろしくお願いいたします。
- LinkedIn profile
- JETAA USA Country Representative, 2017-2018
- JETAANC President, Vice President, Communication Director, 2007-2016
- JET Program, ALT, Kumamoto, 2002-2006
- JETAA USA National/Regional Conference, Presenter: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012
- JETAA Canada National Conference, Presenter: 2017
- JET30 Reunion: Moderator, “Engaging and Enriching Diverse Communities” panel; Presenter, “JETAA KenJETkai Program: Global Launch”
- USJETAA Working Group, Member
- JET Programme Satogaeri Project, Participant
- JET Streams article: “How can we unlock the power of the JET network for our home prefectures?”
- Kumamoto “Monbassador” cultural ambassador of Kumamoto Prefecture
- Board of Directors, Oakland-Fukuoka Sister City Association
- Board of Directors, University of Chicago Alumni Association, Bay Area Club
To view Mark Frey’s CR Endorsements, click HERE or see below: