JETAANY 2018 Board of Director Candidates

JETAANY 2018 Board of Director Candidates

* Board Members running for a second term

Christy Jones* It would be my pleasure to serve a second term on the JETAANY Board of Directors.  I spent my life-changing time on JET in Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture, from 1995 to 1998.  The resulting appreciation for Japan led me to work at Japan Society, an American nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the people of Japan and the United States closer together through programs in arts & culture, business & policy, and education.  Over the course of my 16-year career at the Society I’ve held a variety of positions; I am currently the Director of Special Events, in charge of planning and implementing many of the Society’s fundraising and cultivation events.

I have been a relatively active member of JETAANY since moving to New York City in 1999, but didn’t take on any official roles until I began leading the JETAANY Book Club in Summer 2014.  For the past several years I’ve co-organized the “yo-yo fishing” tent at Japan Day @ Central Park, a joint effort between JETAANY and Japan Society. I look forward to the opportunity to lend my modest expertise in nonprofit affairs, fundraising and event planning, and helping foster mutually beneficial relationships between JETAANY and Japan-related community and arts organizations.

John Sandoval* My name is John Sandoval and I am running for re-election to the Board after completing my 2nd term.

My involvement with JETAANY has ebbed and flowed as my life charted its course in and out of NYC after returning from Japan, but JETAANY and the friendships it has fostered have been a constant in my life.  Over the years I have temped at the Consulate during JET interview season, contributed several pieces of content for the Newsletter (then in paper) and have actively participated in numerous Pre-Departure Orientations, Career Fairs, Receptions and Japan Days. On the professional side of things since completing my MBA I have pursued a career in marketing, primarily in consumer products brand management in the US and abroad. More recently, I have been exploring other areas in technology and financial services.

Since joining the Board in January of 2014 I have contributed in several areas, such as serving on the elections committee that nominated the current slate of executive officers for the NY chapter and registering a Linkedin for Non Profits account for JETAANY. Over the course of my 2nd term I established a non-profit referral program with a major tax preparation chain that netted JETAANY $300 in 2017.

Moving forward I’d like to explore other creative revenue streams for our chapter that will help ensure the sustainability of JETAANY for the long haul and continue my work with the Board Governance committee to increase our effectiveness as a Board. Together with the other Board Members and Executive leadership I am confident that I can continue making positive contribution to JETAANY. Thank you for your consideration and Yoroshiku Onegaitaishimasu!

Justin Tedaldi* I am interested in running for a third term as a member of the Board of Directors for JETAANY, following my first four years on the board.

During my time on JET, I have served as a CIR, most notably handling Kobe City’s international PR campaign the year Japan co-hosted the World Cup.

As the editor of our chapter’s JQ magazine, I’m pleased to announce that February 2018 marks the ninth anniversary of our debut. With volunteer writers from all over the world, JQ reaches an audience of over 10,000 visitors per month as it is shared on and other chapter RSS feeds.

JQ has established significant ties to both the JET and Japanese cultural communities in New York and beyond. Notable stories from the past two years include a Q&A with CLAIR Programme Coordinator Julia Inisan, and a piece on the fifth anniversary of 3/11. This publicity and outreach helped JETAANY to procure 30 complimentary tickets to the JPA Ages of Enchantment performance in October, with other members of our board volunteering to help register attendees, making it a hugely successful event.

In addition to my work with JQ, since 2012 I have served as a columnist for Shukan NY Seikatsu, a weekly bilingual newspaper. My latest piece is on JET alumna Alexis Sanborn and her Kickstarter campaign for the Nourishing Japan documentary project.

It is with this spirit of innovation, teamwork and a bright future for JET that I seek reelection.

Kia Cheleen My involvement with the JET Program spans over more than two decades, beginning with my tenure as a small-town CIR in Aichi-ken in 1996. I then switched to ALT for my third year to experience the another side of the JET Program. Upon my completion of my JET tenure, I went to work for the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), where I was in charge of all ALT-related matters, developed the Japanese language courses, and worked to improve the JET Program overall.

I lived in Japan for a total of nine years and have continued to work with Japan-related organizations, including the United Nations-Tokyo, Japan Local Government Center, Japan Foundation-New York, Shiseido Cosmetics, Columbia University Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture, etc. I am currently a full-time Japanese interpreter and translator. The JET Program has provided me with uncountable benefits over the past 20 years, including job opportunities and many wonderful life-long friends. The network of JET connections throughout the world is invaluable. I would like the opportunity to sit on this Board once again and continue to support the missions of JETAANY and the JET Program.

Lee-Sean Huang
I served as an ALT in Nakatsu-shi, Oita-ken from 2003 to 2006, and I have been an active JETAANY member since moving to New York City in the summer of 2006. For the last 11 years, I have also been serving as the webmaster for JETAANY. I helped facilitate two website migrations and rebranding processes and continue to maintain and service our website and online infrastructure. I also helped Steven Horowitz to launch I have travelled back to Japan every few years, and have volunteered in recent years as an interviewer for prospective ALTs.
In my life outside of JETAANY, I am a co-founder and partner of Foossa, a creative consultancy that works for and with communities to tell stories, design services, and build new forms of shared value. I also teach design and computer programming at NYU, The New School, and the School of Visual Arts. Prior to starting my own company, I worked for another creative agency and before that, I worked in non-profit communications. I am currently also a board member for the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation.
If I am elected to serve on the JETAANY board, I would apply my experience in design, education, and entrepreneurship in whatever ways that the community needs. I am particularly interested in designing new kinds of events and experiences to connect JET alumni with the broader Japanese and Japanese American community in the greater New York area.
I am also committed to innovation in technology and social media to help strengthen those connections. For example, how could we use technology and digital media to connect the work and activities of JETAANY with alumni who live farther from NYC, or who have professional or family obligations that keep them from attending events in person. I would also like to tap into my background and experience as an educator to find ways to support JET alumni in their efforts to continue learning and developing new job skills. In particular, I could offer my expertise working in design, technology, and the non-profit sectors, and leverage my professional networks to provide other networking and learning opportunities for JET alumni.
Simon Chiew* I am happy to continue serving as a board member for JETAANY.  Over the past two years, there has been an increase in alumni engagement through various social and cultural activities and I would like to continue my participation in the growth of JETAANY.  There is a passionate and dedicated team volunteering their time and energy to make this alumni association meaningful and successful.  It is an honor and a joy to work with everyone on the team and I hope to be able to continue to support them.
Susan Hamaker I would like to thank Christy Jones and Monica Yuki for recommending me for a term on the Board of Directors of JETAANY.


My daily life reflects the mission of the organization: connecting people to the culture of Japan through networking and outreach. In 2011 I established JapanCulture•NYC, a website that is dedicated to all things Japanese in New York City, informing English-speaking Japanophiles of the multitude of New York-based Japanese events and organizations. From food and drink to anime and manga to film festivals and musical performances (and much more!), JapanCulture•NYC serves as a reference for anyone interested in any aspect of New York’s vibrant Japanese community.

In addition to my website, I’m also involved in a number of organizations related to strengthening the relationship between Japan and the U.S. I am active on the Board of the Japanese American Association of New York, a non-profit to which I was recently appointed a Vice President, and I’m a member of the U.S.-Japan Council, for which I serve as the Vice Chair of the New York region. In 2015 I was named Executive Director of The Gohan Society, a non-profit dedicated to teaching non-Japanese chefs about Japan’s rich culinary history.

As a member of the JETAANY Board, we can work together to build bridges between Japan and the U.S. and develop our shared dedication to the Japanese community in New York.

Zachary Piper Hello, my name is Zach Piper and I was a CIR on JET in Kochi-ken from 2001 to 2004. I would like to be on the JETAANY Board of Directors because I have benefitted greatly from my experience on the JET Program and I want to give back by being even more involved with JETAANY. I want to use my experience and connections to further deepen the relationship between the US and Japan and to support other JETs as they go off to their placements or return to New York.

Since moving to NYC in 2011, I have been an active member of JETAANY. I’ve become an expert at making yo-yo balloons at Japan Day in Central Park and organizing chopstick challenges at Japan-A-Mania, and I’ve attended cultural exchange events with visiting students from Japanese high schools and medical schools. Of course, I’m also a regular at karaoke and enkai events, and I have planned multiple yukata pub crawls.

I have been working in education for almost two decades, at nonprofit and for-profit schools and currently in higher education. I passionately believe in the importance of cross-cultural communication and the value gained in becoming a global citizen. Because of this, I want to bring my experience working in education to help develop our cultural exchange activities. I also want to continue to develop a strong local network to help recent returnees and transplants to adjust to life in New York and to assist them with job hunting.