Sydney, 5-6 Oct 2019
2019 marks the 30th anniversary since the formal recognition of the JET Alumni Association, and so the conference theme is focused on the future viability and survival of the alumni association. Delegates are invited to review and discuss what they took away from the last conference, both challenges and successes from ideas they tried to implement. In brief, the discussion were as follows:
- JETAANSW: The “hero and sidekick” system for events from JETAAWA. This allows the Events Coordinators to focus on planning major events, and this system also makes the planning of events more accountable.
- JETAA Auckland: Social Media from JETAANSW. The Auckland chapter’s website now links to twitter, and they discovered that IG and FB brings in a lot of traffic.
- JETAA Wellington: Diversifying events, to not just cater to newly returned JETs. More family friendly, casual events for non-recent returnees.
- JETAA QLD: Social media presence. Started IG, now has 31 followers, started 3 weeks ago. Now focusing on IG.
- JETAAWA: “People mirroring” in main roles. Became incorporated. Organised mailing list for better reach, successful way to keep people involved.
- JETAA Canberra: Started Trello to organised everything. Started “subchapters” (hero/side kick system)
- JETAASI: Mentoring new JETS going to Japan, and reaching out to more people (such as opening J-Kaiwa to everyone but give discount to JETAA members)
- JETAA VIC/TAS/SA: Using Eventbrite when organising events. Hasn’t solved all issues, but made organising events easier.
Mr Akaiwa on behalf of CLAIR discussed getting GIA for Country Representatives after listening to the discussion last year about the limitations of using the current budget available to them.
Next, each chapter presented on a topic assigned to them, but discussion of course expanded into other areas.
JETAA VIC/TAS/SA: How can/do you keep regional members involved and included?
- The committee has invested in Mailchimp as a way to better reach all its members who are spread out geographically, though social media management is still an issue.
- Committee’s future plans:
- Improve on time management of event organisation
- Currently considering starting a quarterly newsletter
- Hold events during the day to attract more attendees as the timing will allow people sufficient time to travel back home after the event
- Successful events include:
- The sake and trivia events;
- Mornington hot springs trip;
- Co-hosted events with AJS Victoria
JETAA Wellington: How can/do you improve the overall brand and profile of the JET Programme?
- The chapter focuses on social media and personalised emailing, which has seen an increase in engagement.
- Social media is used to provide news and pictures post-event
- Success is also to be found by co-hosting with other Japanese organisations, which increases the profile and awareness of JETAA and JET Programme.
- Successful ideas
- Creating a stamp rally with participating stores
- Photo contest with 3000 views on Facebook page
JETAA Wellington: Promoting Cultural Exchange
- JETAA QLD focused on building ties with their consulate.
- The committee this year now has a strategic plan and focus on outreach and cultural exchange promotion.
- Japanese-related organisations will be targeted systematically – identifying potential partners, and improving existing relationships.
JETAA SI: Promoting Cultural Exchange
- Given the resources available, the chapter decided to focus on smaller number of events.
- Fortunately, the consulate is active in participating with the chapter, and the chapter actively pursues collaboration on festivals and Japanese events.
- Sister city relationships are also strong.
- The chapter will look into building partnerships with businesses, universities and other JETAA chapters.
JETAA WA: How can/do you support returnees’ career development, taking into consideration JETAA is a volunteer organisation?
- The committee is currently in touch with about 80 current JETs in Japan.
- Career development projects include:
- Annual career seminar, ran in a lecture hall at a university. Many ex-JETs currently in different career fields give presentations.
- The committee is hoping to document the different career paths of alumni to create a network between past participants and recent returnees.
- The committee is currently thinking of how they can support former JETs to market their skills, such as putting together a list of skill sets people possess/obtained from being on the JET Programme. Perhaps everyone can put together a collaborative document (or JETAA-I) that lists the skills of JETs, the value of being on the JET Programme, etc.
- The committee is trialing Community Canvas, a free resource available on the internet which is “A framework creating tool to help you build meaningful communities”.
JETAA Auckland: How can/do you keep your members involved and engaged, knowing that some events which may have been successful once are fading/will fade in popularity?
- Many answered that they were enticed by the free food/subsidised participation fee provided at the first JETAA event they attended. Some chapters have been doing regular casual meet ups.
- Examples of good eventsIncludes incentives to attract people
- Subsidised events
- Events that people know their friends are going
- Have committee members organise each event on a timely manner
- Bad events: One that are not easy to travel to
- In the suburb
- Change event attending member base: make the events on weekdays/weekends to attract different people, hold family friendly events
- Improved/continual member engagement: talk to people directly to see what they like to see being held
JETAA Canberra: How can/does JETAA remain relevant in the face of social media and the constant changing landscape of the internet?
- The chapter presented research on the use of social media and how it can be used to promote and publicise events, giving examples from current and past JETs whose accounts generate a lot of activity.
- Comments online shows that there were people who signed up for the Programme after watching YouTube videos made by current JETs.
- JETAA Ambassadors: cash reward/gift card to departing JETs to post online about their experiences while in Japan. Keep returnees engaged by sharing their past experience.
- Using videos is an excellent way to capitalise social media as it attracts more people, as people prefer videos to large amount of words.
For the first time in the Oceania conference history, Singapore was invited to join, and Ms Cheryl Phua, Country Representative for Singapore, gave a presentation on Singapore’s activities, achievements and challenges.
JETAA NSW, the host chapter, gave a general run-down of their activities, challenges and achievements as well, such as an increased focus on arts activities (kintsugi, sake) and rebuilding their site.
On the second day, Mr Isobe from CLAIR Tokyo presented on the history of JET and JETAA, and how CLAIR has been supporting JETs particularly in terms of career options.
The Country Representatives also presented (with apologies from Will Perera for his absence). Australia’s representative is working on a spreadsheet and tool to simplify record keeping and organisation, while Roseanna Finkle-Vern (NZ), outlined a plan for a NZ JETAA summit between chapters. She will also be finishing her term this year.
This year’s guest speaker is Mr Yoshinori Sakuno, Managing Director of doq Pty Ltd, who presented on ‘ikigai’ – finding a reason for being, or in other words, why do we do what we’re doing. Delegates are encouraged to find the intersection of what you love / what you are good at / what the world needs from you / what you can get paid for.
The conference ended with delegates heading out for a picnic at Victoria Park, provided by JETAA NSW.