The unseen face of JALT—Part 1

Cynthia Keith, National Vice President


Our NPO is now 10years old. As we celebrate our successes it is a good time to consider the many people behind the scenes whose efforts keep our organization running smoothly and ensure our compliance with the NPO Laws governing it.  Working with any of our executive committees will expand and hone your administrative, negotiation, public speaking, planning, and leadership skills. Minimally, you will learn a great deal about community spirit, co-operation, and compromise.

For many of our members, networking at the local chapter level or within the community of our countrywide network of SIG groups are great reasons to join JALT and certainly I count myself among the number. However, there is a great deal of work, most of which goes on behind the scenes, and there is so much more for those who like challenges! Why not become involved? I’d like to take you for a quick wander around so please follow me.

Chapters and SIGS

At our most grassroots level the administration of each chapter and SIG begins with its Board. Each committee is made up of five main officer positions: President/Coordinator, Treasurer, Publicity/Publications, Membership, and Program chairs. In some chapters and SIGs there are co-chairs to these main positions helping to spread the workload and they are supported by others—website editors, people in charge of booking facilities, publication chairs, recording secretaries, and so on. A large supportive committee will usually result in more activity and increased benefits for the general membership. Chapters and SIGs have annual elections around October/November of each year, and are always looking for new officers to come on board. So, roll up your sleeves and become more active by contacting your chapter president <(your chapter)> or SIG Coordinator <(your sig)>.

These five main officers belong to a national network, which connects them to other officers around the country for help and support. Each network has a mailing list where you can post questions and receive answers.

Led by the Chapter Rep and SIG Rep Liaisons and their assistant officers, the Chapter Presidents and the SIG Coordinators Groups lead, discuss, plan, and regulate the running of their individual semi-autonomous constituencies.

Publicity officers are connected to the Director of Publicity. It is probably good to know that there is also a National Publicity committee. This committee has been responsible for a number of JALT promotions, including the annual advertising campaign with the Daily Yomiuri, the Conference First Timer’s Sponsorship program, and others.

JALT Central Office

Under the leadership of the Office Supervisor, our staff attends to the administrative functions of running our organization with such services as membership, accounting, database, publication, and conference support being provided.

In 2009, JALT began an Intern Program with students at a local university. Our interns are learning about NPO structure and volunteering with various admin processing over the summer in the lead up to the conference.

The Board of Directors

This group of officers is elected by the full membership every two years to attend to the day-to-day running of the organization. They are arguably the most visible face of our organization. You can find out more about the 2009/2010 Board here: <>.

Each officer heads one or more working committees. Details relating to duties of The National Board of Directors and the Auditor can be found in Chapter 3 of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Bylaws <>.

2010 is an election year; applications for nominations have closed, so please be sure to vote when your ballot card arrives!

The Executive Board

This group of officers is made up of the Directors, Auditor, Chapter Presidents, and Special Interest Group Coordinators and is the chief policy-making body of JALT.  This board considers items to be brought to the annual General Meeting, deliberates on policy and procedure, and establishes other working committees. This is an exciting group of about 65 officers who meet three times a year to represent the full membership (their local chapters and special interest groups). Look for the reports from the Executive Board in the bimonthly TLT. If you have anything you’d like the Board to consider, please send your comments to us at <>.

In this short column there is not enough space to tell you about all the committees so I’ll be back next time with more details on the others. For now let me just give you the names:

  • The Publications Board
  • The Conference Committee
  • The Audit Committee
  • The Business Committee
  • The International and Domestic Fairs Committees

Best wishes!

Cynthia Keith

National Vice President

Website developed by