Notes from the Board

When I took up the role of president I’ll admit I felt intimidated. My predecessor had worked hard and made it look effortless, so I didn’t know I would be able to fill those shoes. What gave me the courage to do so was the passion I have for JETAA Chicago and how I envisioned how we take the chapter forward. I was aware that attendance at events was low, that we needed to break down barriers, make the board more accessible to our membership and develop the human side of JETAA; whilst still adhering to our mission.

We exist to:

  • Support our alumni community in their personal and professional development.
  • Reach out and encourage new applications to JET.
  • Help develop careers and education opportunities after JET.
  • Continue to promote the cultural exchange that we all signed up to do way back when.

What has helped me adjust to these new responsibilities is the fantastic team I have around me on the board. I know their strengths and how to delegate to them, they share my passion and believe in the mission statements of our chapter and they, above all, have a deep desire to support our vast alumni membership.

Leading a team of such individuals takes tact, support and trust. It is a dialogue which needs patience, listening skills and self reflection. These are qualities key to any good leader, qualities I feel the role can help me to develop, qualities which will serve me well as I apply for my MA and future career prospects. I know the lessons I learn and skills I develop through my interim presidency will continue to serve me long after it has ended. And it’s a super fun experience along the way, too.

I am constantly impressed with how JET continues to influence my life in ways that I didn’t consider when I flew out of Narita in 2007.

If you would like to find out more about how to get involved, let me know.

Email me at president@jetaachicago.com

Tom.

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