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Get to Know Our Officers - Featuring Our Networking Lead, Joe Palermo!

We would like to welcome Joe Palermo to the 2023-2024 JETAA Chicago Board as our Networking Lead! Take a look below at Joe's officer profile to learn about his motivations, values and goals.

Our Networking Lead, Joe Palermo (he/him), was an MEF (Mombunsho English Fellow) in Gunma Prefecture from 1982-1984.

Tell us more about your JET experience.

I was part of the original Mombusho English Fellow (MEF) program which was pre-JET. I was based in the beautiful mountainous town of Numata, located in Gunma Prefecture. My role was to visit 50 middle schools in the region and do what we called "one shots". This meant doing self-introductions and teaching 3-4 classes per visit.

When did you join/how long have you been on the JETAA Board? What positions have you held?

I have just recently joined the board in 2023.

What inspired you to step up as a leader and join the JETAA Chicago Board?

I have a lifelong interest in Japan and I wanted to give back to those involved with JET.

Describe your officer duties and what you are looking forward to in regard to your responsibilities.

I've just recently joined the board, but I plan to be an experienced resource and try to involve those who were part of the original MEF program in our activities.

What could be a healthy and/or needed culture add to JETAA Chicago?

A healthy add would be to include older members with experience in the MEF program or who have had long experiences living in Japan beyond JET.

What is one goal you would like to accomplish as an officer of JETAA Chicago, or something that you are looking forward to being a part of?

I have just joined the board, but have participated in most board meetings over the last two years.

For you, what sparks joy?

- Writing and publishing articles (Nostalgia Magazine, Reminisce, Japonica, etc.)

- Speaking and studying Japanese

- Playing music (guitar) and attending concerts & musicals

- Intentionally making time for friends weekly over coffee and lunch in retirement

- Playing Pokemon Go

What is your favorite Japanese "thing" near where you live now (and/or in the Midwest)?

Shopping at Mitsuwa

Connect with Joe via LinkedIn!

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