Schedule & Materials
|18 November (Saturday)
|19 November (Sunday)
Panellist Information and Materials
Day 1 (18 November)
Having graduated with a degree in Japanese and German language from Dublin City University in Ireland, Aisling worked as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) through the JET Programme in Iwate Prefecture from 2017 to 2022. In 2020, she undertook a remote MSc in Project and Programme Management at the University of Limerick and graduated in 2022. After five years as a CIR, Aisling remained in Iwate and joined a Tokyo-based company called weConnect as a Payroll Implementation Associate. Concurrently, Aisling worked remotely as the interim Operations Manager at the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce (IJCC). Now based in Tokyo, Aisling delivers payroll solutions to international clients at weConnect whilst continuing to foster stronger business connections between Ireland and Japan as IJCC Vice President. In her free time, Aisling enjoys being outdoors, swimming at the beach and cooking Irish recipes.
Presentation file (English): Public Service_Aisling Barry.pdf
Michiko spent most of her youth in Seattle, Washington in the US and received her undergraduate degree in Japanese Studies and Sociology at Middlebury College in Vermont. After graduating, she was placed in Yamagata Prefecture as a prefectural Coordinator for International Relations from 2017 to 2021, where she worked in the Association for International Relations in Yamagata doing monthly community events, English consultations, school visits, and the occasional interpretation and translation project. After her JET experience, where she gained an appreciation for ryokans, snow, sake, and good food, she returned to Seattle and started working for the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington (JASSW) as a Communications Manager. Michiko currently helps with all aspects of the Society as they celebrate their centennial anniversary this year. Outside of work, Michiko is an avid fan of musical theatre and live concerts.
Presentation file (English): Public Service – Michiko Yoshino.pdf
After graduating from Nottingham University in 2014 with a psychology degree, Stefan found himself on the JET Programme in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture without any prior exposure or knowledge of what Japan had to offer. Initially only planning to stay for one year, he found himself enamoured with everything Japan and made it his mission to carve out a career for himself here. After a successful two years on the JET Programme from 2014 to 2016, Stefan tried his luck in Tokyo, working for a drama school before returning to Shizuoka for another 18 months to teach English. He successfully applied for a position in December 2018 at the British Embassy in Tokyo, working for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). After joining at entry level, he now co-leads a team in a managerial position, overseeing operations for his team across the country.
After graduating from The George Washington University with a degree in International Affairs, Clark was the CIR for Imaichi-city (now part of Nikko) in Tochigi-prefecture from 2003 to 2005. He followed that with 16 years as a Project Manager for One Planet, a translation agency in Pittsburgh, PA, eventually rising to the Director of Projects. His customers were multinational corporations requiring translations for manuals, marketing, HR, and software, and his suppliers were freelance translators living in-country for each market. Since 2021, he is a Senior Localization Program Manager at Duolingo, where he organizes localization and translation into 25 languages for the app, ad-hoc marketing projects, and various cross-functional initiatives.
Ronan graduated from Dublin City University with a Bachelor of Business Studies International, and was a MEXT scholar at Kobe University from 2019-2020. Following university, Ronan was a CIR in Hamada City (western Shimane Prefecture) from 2021-2022, where he engaged in a variety of activities including sister city relations with the Kingdom of Bhutan, international exchange events at schools and government organisations, as well as offering English language classes to residents of Hamada City. Ronan is now a Project Coordinator at Intralink in Tokyo, helping businesses—from startups to foreign enterprises—grow and develop in Asian markets including Japan, Korea, and China.
Diving into Design
Heather is a freelance designer and educator from New York City who has over 20 years of experience in packaging, branding, innovation, print, and visual design. She has worked in all levels of companies ranging from agencies, corporations and startups, with clients including Coca-Cola, Minute Maid China, Unilever, P&G, JLL, and Goya Foods. A designer before joining the JET Programme, she was placed in Yashio City, Saitama as a junior high school ALT from 1999–2001. Currently she is teaching ESL with the Japanese American Society of New Jersey, helping people who have recently come to the U.S. via job transfers. She has a design-based approach, emphasizing visual cues and interactive lesson planning that resonate with her students. Beyond that, she’s a die-hard travel enthusiast who recently achieved her dream of going to Uyuni in Bolivia. She’s also a language nerd, speaking Japanese, Spanish, and French, and a lover of dance classes, tennis, and soccer.
Presentation file (English): Diving into Design_Heather Dega.pdf
Elizabeth is a graphic designer from California, and was a junior high school ALT on the JET Programme in Shingu, Wakayama from 2018 to 2022. Her time in Wakayama was spent connecting with students through the volleyball and music clubs and continuing her passion for dance in the local jazz dance group. After finishing JET, she was ready to dive back into design, and volunteered as a graphic designer with various organizations to help promote their missions digitally or through print. She is currently working as a graphic designer for Parchment, an EdTech company, helping countless educational institutions create and handle digital credentials for their students. When not working, Elizabeth enjoys discovering new teas, illustrating, and playing games with friends.
Communications and PR
Luke came to Japan on the JET Programme in 2009 where he was placed as a CIR in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. He assisted with the prefecture’s international relations and business development and ran local JET conferences. In 2011 the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster struck Miyagi and the Tohoku Region, changing the prefecture forever. Luke assisted in the aftermath with emergency response and safety confirmation and contributed to reconstruction efforts as the prefecture healed. After leaving Miyagi he moved to the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations where he worked as part of the international team administering the JET Programme at the national level. His work at CLAIR saw him travel around Japan presenting and holding training sessions for sometimes hundreds of JETs at a time and support Japan’s local government ties across the APAC region. Since leaving CLAIR and the JET Programme, Luke has held communications and management roles at a government agency, an international NGO, and now works at Ashton Consulting, Japan’s premier media relations and communications consultancy. In his spare time, Luke enjoys theatre and performance and can be seen at Improvazilla, Tokyo’s foremost regular English improv show, and at the Tokyo Comedy Bar.
Presentation File (English): Communications and PR_Happle.pdf
Sarah O’Connell is the public relations specialist for the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, helping to represent the Japanese Government in matters of public policy and press. Her areas of focus include UN revitalization, information integrity/disinformation, tech, and empowering the next generation, transforming policy research into engaging, action-oriented content. With over six years of speechwriting and communications experience, Sarah has worked on many bilateral events, including the UN film screening for Tell It Like A Woman and Prime Minister Kishida’s press conference on the UN General Assembly. While on the JET Programme, Sarah was an active member of the Sendai community, serving as MAJET treasurer and presenting on DRR at the World Bosai Forum on behalf of the TOMODACHI program. She now acts as the TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Representative in NY, working actively to connect young leaders with resources and opportunities to succeed.
Presentation File (English): Communications and PR_Sarah O’Connell.pdf
Getting into Graduate School
Leah Gowron (Saitama, ALT 1990–91) managed global internships/career placements at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), overseeing the Fulbright, National Security Education Program (NSEP), UN Headquarters Internship Programme, US Foreign Service Exams, UN National Competitive Recruitment Exams and the Presidential Management Fellowship Program (PMF). She conducted workshops on career development focused on international policy and development, commercial diplomacy, and security/intelligence/non-proliferation. As Director of Graduate Alumni Relations, Leah managed programs for alumni, coordinated global networking events and major data research projects. She spent four years in the private sector (Canada) after the JET Programme, developed orientation trainings for the Manitoba/Saskatchewan chapter (which she co-founded in 1992), focused on higher education and career development. Retired from the Middlebury Institute since 2019, Leah relocated to Hawaii, and founded ReImagine You: Global Career Coaching. In her spare time, Leah trains for outrigger canoe events and does volunteer grant writing. 2023 marks the 23rd year Leah has presented at a JET Programme career conference!
Presentation File (English): Getting into Graduate School_Leah Gowron.pdf
Handout (English): Handout (Higher Education Funding and Scholarships).pdf
Handout (English): Handout (Resources and Scholarships).pdf
Handout (English): Handout (Transferable Skills).pdf
Originally from the US state of Indiana, Cael joined the JET Program as a CIR for Tochigi Prefecture in 2017, where they worked for three years until becoming a Program Coordinator in the Department of JET Program Management at CLAIR in 2020. An undergraduate background in biology, a lifelong interest in the natural world, and five years of hiking in the forests of northern Japan led them to enroll in the Plant Biology & Conservation graduate program at Northwestern University in 2022, where they are researching carnivorous plants and working on developing education and conservation programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Currently residing in Chicago but likely to move around throughout life, Cael hopes to a create career path that incorporates both science and Japanese and builds on their JET experience. In their free time they enjoy drawing, making pottery, seeing live music, exercising, and, of course, growing plants.
Presentation File (English): Getting into Graduate School_Cael Dant.pdf
Alternative Education Careers
Miranda Liu serves as the Alumni Coordinator at the American School in Japan. Through her role, she arranges programming and services for ASIJ’s alumni community of over 15,000 members worldwide, including compiling a monthly newsletter, writing content for ASIJ’s alumni magazine, The Ambassador, planning and executing virtual and in-person events, and overseeing and managing a network of over 100 alumni volunteers. Prior to her position at ASIJ, she served as the Admissions and Communications Officer at K. International School Tokyo, where she was responsible for digital marketing and Japanese to English translation alongside other duties. During her time as a JET ALT in Kiryu, Gunma (2012–2017), Miranda served on the organizing committees for the new JET orientations at both the prefectural and city levels. She originally hails from Delaware, and holds a BA in East Asian Studies with a concentration in Japanese Language and Literature from Bryn Mawr College.
Presentation File (English): Alternative Education Careers_Miranda Liu.pdf
Erica was a CIR in Shimanto, Kochi Prefecture from 2001 to 2004. Although her professional background is in marketing and communications, she transitioned to higher education in 2009 because she was interested in supporting other foreigners who were trying to figure out how to best navigate a meaningful career path in Japan. As the director of the Career Development Office at Temple University, Japan Campus, she collaborates with multinational companies, NGOs, embassies, and other organisations and has advised hundreds of undergraduates on their career plans, both within Japan and overseas. She oversees an internship program of about 250 students a year and teaches academic courses on professional development.
ertson is currently the Senior Manager Admissions at TAFE NSW, the leading provider of vocational education and training in Australia. Sean’s team oversees more than 500,000 student enrolments into courses and training every year. Prior to commencing with TAFE NSW, Sean held various positions at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), in Sydney Australia. Leading teams focussing on various areas of the student lifecycle, Sean spent most of his time in the role of Exchange Coordinator, managing inbound and outbound student mobility programs. Prior to joining UNSW in 2018, Sean was an ALT and PA in Tsuno-cho, Kochi-ken on the JET Programme. Having written more applications and selection criteria than he can count, Sean looks forward to connecting with you and is always happy to be contacted should you need advice.
Day 2 (19 November)
Translation and Interpretation
Kacey Whitteaker has lived in Japan since coming to Nagano as an ALT in 2015. During his time on JET, Kacey started offering free translations for members of the local tourism association. This eventually led to other professional opportunities in the translation and localization world, and Kacey plunged into the industry upon concluding his teaching contract. Kacey is currently a localization director at Capcom, where he works closely with colleagues to craft localized versions of video games new and old. Hobbies include playing guitar, hiking, creative writing, lots of reading, and even more gaming.
Presentation File (English): Translation and Interpretation_Kacey Whitteaker.pdf
Kevin worked as a CIR in the town of Taki, Mie from 2018 to 2020, before spending two and a half years at CLAIR as a JET Programme Coordinator. Seeking to expand his career as a translator while also feeling reluctant to leave the public sector, he joined the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as an in-house Japanese-to-English translator in April 2023. On the side, he is also active as a freelance J-E entertainment translator, having worked on nearly three dozen volumes of manga in addition to several video games and films. His pursuit of a career in translation began via translation contests—he was recognized as a finalist in the 2017 and 2018 Manga Translation Battle contests as well as the 2019 Kurodahan Press Translation Prize, before finally breaking through to win the Seventeenth Annual Japan Association of Translators (JAT) Contest for New and Aspiring Japanese/English Translators in 2021.
Presentation File (English): Translation and Interpretation_Kevin Yuan.pdf
Travel and Tourism
Brittany was a CIR in Matsue City 2012-2016, during which time she translated tourism materials and wrote a blog about San-in region culture. After teaching in China, she returned to Japan in 2019 to work in the tourism industry, serving as a concierge, interpreter, and front desk agent at a boutique hotel called THE JUNEI HOTEL Kyoto, with training at the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto. During this time, she also passed Level 2 of the Kyoto Kentei (a tourism and culture test), and on the side, she worked with tourism organizations in Nara to host online tours during the pandemic. This spring she started an editorial position preparing printed English tourism materials for around Japan.
Jonathan is from Virginia, USA where he graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in physics. After a short time working in federal government marketing, Jonathan joined the JET Program for 3 years where he taught Science Communication English as an ALT at a municipal high school in Shizuoka. After the JET Program, Jonathan joined the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau where he currently works in MICE (a.k.a. business event tourism) as well as LGBTQ+ tourism. Jonathan is also one of the co-chairs of the Western Japan branch of the JET Alumni Association (JETAAWJ.)
Presentation File (English): Travel and Tourism_Jonathan Lucas.pdf
After a year as an ALT on JET in Yamagata (2002-03), Harry returned to his native UK and joined InsideJapan Tours as a Travel Consultant and Tour Leader. At the time the company was very small, with just 6 staff in the UK and 2 in Japan. Since then he has helped the company grow to over 200 staff in 4 offices around the world, shrink during the challenging Covid years, and now grow strongly again to meet the renewed demand for travel. Harry’s role developed quickly over the first few years with the company and in 2010 he became Sales Manager. In 2016 he was invited to play a leading role in setting up a new Australia office in Brisbane. He is now Marketing Manager for the Australian branch, working closely with the UK and US marketing teams, promoting InsideJapan (and sister brand InsideAsia) to Aussie consumers and travel agents. The Covid years were tough for the travel industry, but 2023 offers huge potential, with many companies recruiting to cater for the return of international travel, with Japan once again being in high demand.
Presentation File (English): Travel and Tourism_Harry Sargant.pdf
Careers in Tech
Pearleen is a Product Manager at Indeed Japan. She has been living and working in Japan for 10 years. Prior to product management, she worked in people operations for Indeed and has experience in other industries including food & beverage, and advertising. After her work as a CIR on JET in Aichi, she has moved cities 4 times and currently works from home with her 4 cats in Kanagawa. On her days off, she runs an IG account/newsletter on life in Japan (@jitenshaa) and has travelled to 37 out of 47 prefectures in Japan.
Jarrettoby Lewis is originally from the US and was born in California then raised in Texas. After spending essentially his whole life in Texas, he moved to Japan when he was 26 years old via the JET program. He worked as a Senior High School ALT where he enjoyed strong relationships with his students and coworkers—some of whom he is still in contact with today. However, he eventually felt he was ready for something new and chose not to renew his contract and began job hunting during his second year of JET.
His first job after JET would be a small recruiting company, but this lasted just shy of a year as he eventually was laid off amid the global pandemic. During his time unemployed, he heard about what would eventually become his current company and was asked by them to study and obtain an IT certification. This would be his first foray into IT, but he chose to make the investment and after getting his certification has now been working as an engineer for the past 3 years.
Daven is a former JET turned Software Engineer Consultant.
Graduating from the University of Waterloo in Economics, he came to Japan as an Aomori JET in 2013. He became a mythical unicorn (5 years), and then partook in Sendai’s Hello World program for 3 more years where he continued teaching while grinding software development skills.
Daven found his first tech job as a Bridge Engineer at an 8-person startup in Sendai. With his foot in the door, his career quickly accelerated–he was headhunted into an international company in Tokyo where he would do both software dev and bridge SE work. In under a year, he was again headhunted into his current company, Slalom. When he’s not grinding career skills, he can be seen eating soup curry or playing Dance Dance Revolution.
Presentation File (English): Careers in Tech_Daven Lu.pdf
Human Resources and Recruiting
Leo is a Brazilian descendant of Japanese parents, majored in Business Management in 2010, fluent in English/Japanese/Portuguese, came to Japan in 2014 as a CIR in Mie Prefecture and since 2017 has been working in recruitment/talent acquisition for IT roles. He decided that wanted to stay in Japan after JET and started his job search before the end of his contract and found a job in a recruitment agency called en world. The company was willing to accept someone without previous experience in recruitment due to his language skills and soft skills, such as perseverance and commitment. He stayed in the company for about 5 years, changed to another recruitment agency called JAC in the RPO division, then moved to Indeed in the Talent Acquisition team to hire Software Engineers for the company and finally to unlock.ly where he does both internal hire and RPO.
Presentation File (English): HR and Recruiting_Leo Satsukawa.pdf
Tsehay Wright is a dedicated Career & Employer Relationship Specialist at Georgia State University, leveraging over 3 years of recruiting and HR experience to empower graduate business students in their quest for fulfilling careers. Tsehay’s professional journey began as a JET Program participant in Nagano Prefecture from 2015 to 2017. Following her JET Program tenure, Tsehay joined Kubota Manufacturing of America Corp.’s HR department, initially supporting production teams and later excelling in recruiting and managing the college internship program. Tsehay’s remarkable journey, from the JET Program to corporate HR, and now as a career coach, showcases her unwavering commitment to helping others realize their career aspirations. She embodies the spirit of the JET Program by bridging cultures, facilitating growth, and empowering individuals to pursue paths that they truly love.
Sam has an extensive professional background spanning over 8 years, with a rich and diverse career in the fields of Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Video Games, and Talent Recruitment.
Currently, Sam holds the position of Senior Business Recruiter at PTW Japan, a renowned global service provider in the Video Game industry. In his role, he oversees the entire recruitment process and manages relationships with all candidates and stakeholders across various departments, including Video Game Localization Quality Assurance (LQA), Functional Quality Assurance (FQA), and Player Support.
Residing in the vibrant district of Nerima, Tokyo, Sam shares his life with his loving wife and two cherished children. Beyond his professional pursuits, he finds joy in spending quality time with his family during weekend outings, unwinding in saunas, and indulging in his passion for video games.
Sam eagerly welcomes any inquiries you may have about the dynamic worlds of recruitment and talent acquisition. Feel free to ask any questions; he’s here to help.”
Before moving to Japan as an ALT on the JET Programme (Kumamoto, 2010–2012), Michael obtained a BA Honours degree in French at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and later an MA degree in European Humanities from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. After two years on JET, he returned to the UK to complete an MSc degree in Modern Japanese Studies at the University of Oxford. Michael took up his first university teaching post in 2014 as an English Lecturer at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. In 2016, he moved to his current full-time faculty role at the Graduate School of Humanities at Osaka University, where he conducts research in applied linguistics and teaches academic English as well as topics in general linguistics. In March 2023, Michael successfully defended his doctoral thesis on computer-assisted language learning at Kyoto University and obtained a PhD in applied linguistics.
Presentation File (English): Careers in Education_Michael Hofmeyr.pdf
Handout (English): Handout (Careers in Education_Michael Hofmeyr).pdf
Josh Del Pino
Across three continents, Josh has been an educator for students of all ages. While a JET, Josh was an ALT, PA, and PSG Operator. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in North Macedonia. Starting in 2019, Josh developed and designed high school history courses related to the Asia Pacific and a culture/identity course based on his experiences abroad. Since 2020, Josh has designed and facilitated online English courses for Japanese undergraduate students, graduate students, and working professionals. In the fall of 2022, leading up to the World Cup in Qatar, Josh was a Virtual Educator for the U.S. State Department and FIFA. As he finished coursework for an MA in TESOL in May, Josh has been a K-12 substitute teacher for Seattle Public Schools and independent schools in Seattle. Josh may start a teacher certification program next year or develop new skills to enter a teaching-adjacent profession.
Presentation File (English): Education Careers – Josh Del Pino.pdf
Lindy is an early childhood educator from Singapore, with a particular interest in early language literacy. As such, she is a licensed teacher and holds a Diploma in TESOL. Before coming onto JET, she taught for 3 years in a lab school setting, where she was trained in inquiry-based learning, using the emergent approach to implement a student-centric curriculum. A large part of her time on JET has been honing her teaching skills in the English language. Lindy worked for the Board of Education at Oyama City, Tochigi Prefecture for 6 years where she taught at both junior high and elementary schools.
After her time on JET, Lindy moved on to work at a private bilingual school in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture where she was a homeroom teacher to a class of 25 kindergarteners. In the near future, Lindy hopes to pursue further studies in education to better upgrade her skills.
Careers in Games
Wesley Bishop is a localization director at Capcom, a game software developer based in Osaka, Japan. Wesley grew up in Indiana in the USA and studied at the University of Evansville, graduating with a major in Global Business Administration & Finance and a minor in Japanese language. He began his career at the Japan-American Society of Indiana (JASI), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the bridges of friendship between Japan and the state. Wesley moved to Fukuoka Prefecture in 2013 and spent five years on the JET Programme—three as an Elementary School/Junior High School ALT and two as a PA. He transitioned to the games industry in 2018 where he now spends his time working to help bring the fun, thrilling, and unique experiences video games provide to even more people around the world.
Presentation File (English): Careers in Games_Wesley Bishop.pdf
Cassidy Landers-Gonzales was an ALT in Kobe City from 2018 to 2021 where she worked in junior high and elementary schools. During her undergraduate studies in linguistic anthropology and foreign language, she developed an interest in game localization. While in Japan, she worked on a fan translation project which piqued her interest in working on games more seriously and in a more design-centered role. Following JET, she began a master’s degree in Games and Playable Media at UC Santa Cruz in California, USA, from which she graduated earlier this year. She has worked as a game designer at Toys for Bob since June of 2022. At Toys for Bob, she works on Crash Team Rumble doing meta design and live operations support.
Luke got his first job in the games industry back in 1999 as a localisation manager at Sega in Tokyo. He got to work on lots of cool Dreamcast games and he is even a playable character in Virtua Tennis. Luke moved to London in 2001 and started as an Associate Producer at Eidos working first on lots of Japanese titles then on many more as a Producer on games such as Tomb Raider, Thief, Deus Ex and LEGO Star Wars. In 2008 he began working at Io-Interactive in Copenhagen with producer credits on Mini Ninjas, Kane & Lynch 2, Hitman: Absolution and the latest Hitman™. In 2013 he became the studio Production Manager, overseeing Hitman™ 2. Luke left IOI in 2017 and now works as a senior developer relations manager for AMD, managing the relationships between game studios and publishers in the Nordics and France.