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Introducing our 2024-2025 Officers - Networking Lead, Joe Palermo

We would like to introduce you to your JETAA Chicago Leadership Team for the 2024-2025 term! This series of officer profiles will give you a closer look at each officer's role responsibilities, motivations for pursuing a leadership role in JETAA Chicago, goals for this year, insights into their personalities, and more.


Our Networking Lead, Joe Palermo (he/him), was an MEF (Mombusho English Fellow) in Gunma 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 Chicago Leadership Board? If applicable: what positions have you held and when? 


I joined as the Networking Lead in March 2023.


What skills and experience do you bring to the JETAA Chicago leadership team?


I lived in Japan for 8 years and spent over 30 years working in various global corporate executive roles.



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.


What is the essence/purpose of your role? (if you're a new officer, tell us more about what you are looking forward to in your officer role on the JETAA Chicago board)


My role is to help former JETs with their career development by organizing career development workshops. I also created a monthly blog called "Joe-Man On Japan."


Since our officers must embody and practice our Community Conduct and Agreements, which principle do you think is the most important, and/or which one resonated with you the most?


Stay Engaged, Actively Listen


What is something you want to accomplish and/or focus on in your role as an officer?


Continue with more career development workshops, write my blog, and also organize some "JET Together" events for alumni.



For you, what sparks joy?


  • Writing and publishing articles (Good Old Days Magazine, 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 in Arlington Heights, IL.


Connect with Joe via Linkedin!



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JETAA CHICAGO

Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Alumni Association of Chicago
Connecting JET alumni in the Midwest - Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana
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