2003 National Conference

2003 US Conference / Seattle
The 2nd annual US conference focused on leadership development. The keynote speaker was Ms. Liz Heath, Director of the Nonprofit Center, in Tacoma. She talked about leadership, identifying and grooming successors, discovering what your constituents want, determining goals, and measuring performance. She also advocated exploring 501(c)(3) status, and considering the idea of charging a membership fee.
Governor Ido, of Hyogo Prefecture, was in Seattle for the 40th anniversary celebration of the Hyogo Prefecture – Washington State sister state relationship, and he spoke at the conference on leadership from his own perspective.
A later session discussed leadership transitions and how to make them go smoothly by preparing goal sheets, lists of businesses and services used by the chapter, and a portable archive to be handed over to incoming officers.
A mission statement / statement of purpose was drafted for the US chapters, stating: “JETAA promotes awareness, understanding, and positive relations between Japan and the United States, while providing a support network for the JET community.” The question of whether this statement was a prelude to creating a national alumni group of some kind was left unresolved.
No progress had been made on the national logo project because it was found to cost too much to have it done professionally. (Hillary Brown, in Miami, had taken over researching the question, since she had some connections in the field.) The idea was proposed to set up a design competition among alumni or graphic design students, and Gloria Jung volunteered to take over the task. Deadlines were established for receiving submissions and having chapter reps vote on them by October 15th, so the new logo could be presented at the International Conference.
The next discussion centered on whether or not to keep paying for the urls that the various chapters were holding (jet.org, etc.), and chapters were encouraged to contact Paul Donovan in Vancouver about his offer to host alumni sites for $20.00 a month.
Two other initiatives both made no progress. The idea of creating a group health insurance plan for alumni foundered on the problems of a highly transient population and the difficulty of determining how many people might sign onto the plan every year. The effort to obtain tax refunds for pre-1994 JETs was dead in the water.
Jeff Huffman, President of the Seattle chapter, spoke on hosting a conference, based on his experiences with this one, advocating establishing a timeline and list of points to be accomplished.
It was proposed that the country reps be given a list of projects to carry forward during their term of office. Some participants were afraid this would result in burnout, and others felt it would promote accountability. The most popular idea seemed to be to give them two or three tasks of national importance to focus on, like the logo or discount card.
Other topics discussed included bulk purchasing by the chapters, sharing newsletter articles among chapters, inviting the media to alumni events and publicizing scholarship winners (in chapters like San Francisco and Hawaii) to increase visibility of JET & JETAA. Someone brought up the buddy system, and no one there knew it existed.
Overall, the focus of the conference ended up being the creation of national projects. The mission statement, logo, online presence and other topics concerned how chapters can work together rather than how they can serve themselves.

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