Updated: Apr 5
JETAA Chicago officer elections are coming up on March 1st! In light of this, we wanted to take the time to shine a spotlight on our current officers (election term from November 2019 - March 2021) in order to get to know the people behind the headshots, and to learn more about what they do in their roles as officers. This will be an 8 part "Get to Know Our Officers" series in which we will highlight each officer leading up to the elections and come to know their motivations, values and legacy.
This week we are doubling up! Yesterday we introduced our Philanthropy Coordinator, Sheila Burt. Next we would like to introduce our President, Gabriel Coronado (he/him), who was a JET in Miyazaki Prefecture from 2007-2008!
Tell us more about your JET experience.
I was an ALT at an Agricultural High School in Miyazaki City for one year. It was a beautiful city and I had an amazing experience. One of my favorite things to do was take my bike out and just ride around the city seeing new parts of it. It never snowed and rarely dropped below freezing, so I could ride almost all year long.
When did you join/how long have you been on the JETAA Board? What positions have you held?
Vice President 2016-2018, President 2019-Present
What inspired you to step up as a leader and join the JETAA Chicago Board?
In 2016, our chapter was short officer candidates and I was asked to join the board and help rebuild the leadership.
Describe your officer duties and what you have enjoyed about said duties.
During my time as Vice President and President, I have had the opportunity to work with many of my fellow alumni to build a strong and supportive community. I have helped create engaging outreach programming, built connections with local Japan-America organizations and led the effort toward long term stability for our chapter.
What could be a healthy and/or needed culture add to JETAA Chicago?
Continuing to work towards the understanding that our alumni community is one community in which alumni from all different backgrounds and generations are welcome and encouraged to participate in. We have made good progress, but this understanding needs to be constantly maintained.
What is one highlight, accomplishment, and/or something you're proud to have been a part of during your time serving as an officer?
I am proud of the work the 2020 officer team has done to keep our community engaged and supported during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a difficult year, but everyone has put in the time and effort for our alumni.
For you, what sparks joy?
- Eating Japanese Curry
- Playing board games
- Having a drink with friends (hopefully in-person soon)
- Getting to bed at a reasonable time
What is your favorite Japanese "thing" near where you live now (and/or in the Midwest)?
Ramen House Shinchan