Elections are right around the corner! Prep yourself for our next Open Board Meeting by checking out the platforms for those running this year:
President - Gabe Coronado
I believe that our chapter is at its strongest when we are finding ways to engage all elements of our community. Outgoing, recently returned, 10+ - every one of the alumni that we serve should feel like they have a place here. Through continuing to strengthen our chapter’s efforts in engaging younger alumni, while finding new ways to reach and reactivate the more senior members, my goal as president would be to help create a more cohesive community. A community in which all of my fellow alumni can come together, build relationships and grow.
Vice President - Lara "Zara" Espinoza
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. In my 6 years on the leadership board of JETAA Chicago and second term as Vice President, I have every intention of continuing to do the same for us within our chapter to further unite our vibrant alumni communities in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and beyond.
As Vice President - here are some of my goals, ideas, aspirations, and things I plan to help continue doing:
Unite the membership and change the culture for the better by helping to define and implement inclusivity in the organization’s values and culture so it can support and welcome members our diverse alumni community.
Provide a safe space for our community that encourages us to have courageous conversations that will activate/reactivate members from those recently-returned to 10+ returned and our community partners to drive positive impact and change.
Create more opportunities for collaboration and connection, ie: potentially hosting quarterly meetings in more accessible locations/days/times to help increase attendance of alumni who are in subchapters, suburbs, have families, non traditional work schedules, etc.
Embed openness and transparency in communication within and from leadership and the greater membership so information and resources are accessible, shared and accounted for within the entire organization
Giving members agency to ask questions and give feedback
Cultivate healthy cultural habits, such as active listening and thoughtful responses
Further the understanding of administrative processes within the board and greater membership
Increase learning and engagement initiatives with career development along with personal/professional growth opportunities and member support by:
Encouraging mentorship within the community
Trying new monthly meeting formats to include educational opportunities that resource alumni network and empower members
Utilize and invest in technology to help make information, meetings and events more accessible for members to get involved near and far (ie: webinar software, microphone for meetings, updating social media groups, etc.)
Continue to help refine, evaluate and develop current projects and procedures to further create and foster more efficient processes and best practices for current and future leaders and members.
i.e. leadership manuals and communication guides that I helped to start, updating and revising the bylaws, streamlining current processes and procedures etc.
Connect membership to regional and national alumni networks and Japan community leadership, many who I was able to meet and establish relationships by attending and speaking at the JETAA USA National Conference & JET 30th reunion, the 26th annual Midwest Forum and the first ever Japanese American Session hosted by the Japanese Consulate.
Uplift and empower membership to act and thrive by continuing to expand on my brand and talent of being able to effectively engage alumni because I lead with authenticity and by example. Therefore I will continue to:
Mentor and advocate for new and emerging leaders as I’ve successfully done in our sub-chapters (WI & IN), Chicagoland suburbs, across national JETAA leaders and chapters, and by recruiting and sponsoring two new board members this past year
Coach and connect alumni to advance their careers, professional skills and job opportunities
Spearhead/Co-lead for the 7th year our chapters largest and longest initiative of onboarding the outgoing JETs with the Survival Series 2020.
Thank you for your time, consideration and supportive vote in this upcoming election. If elected, I hope to foster a fun and fulfilling year working together to unite our alumni community by continuing to be the Vice President in 2019-2020.
Treasurer - Tyler Blaz
In my time serving as secretary this past year, I've learned a lot about how the JET Alumni community services its members and engages with the Japanese community here in Chicago. I have grown to appreciate my involvement in the board's discussions and activities this past year, and I'd be honored to serve the board again in a different capacity. I have a better understanding of the expectations and standards to which a board member should live up to. I think that my time as secretary has prepared me to take on some of the more technical responsibilities associated with the Treasurer position.
I know that I'll be physically in San Francisco for the first several months of my proposed tenure as Treasurer, but I'd still be actively joining meetings and calls whenever my scheduled permitted. I am excited to be more permanently back in Chicago in January of 2020.
If elected as treasurer, I would enthusiastically work with Ivonne to understand the budgeting responsibilities throughout the fiscal year. I would also work closely with the rest of the board to ensure high accountability when it comes to our organization's spending. I think Ivonne has done a wonderful job in the role these past two years, and I hope to similarly succeed in such a role.