Home » About Us

About Us

Who we are:

JETAA Ottawa was founded in 1991 and is one of 52 JETAA chapters in 17 countries, which have over 60,000 members worldwide. We are alumni of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme and our members, located in and around Ottawa, have participated in the JET Programme as an Assistant Language Teacher or a Coordinator for International Relations.

What we do:

We promote deeper and stronger relations between Japan and Canada. Together with the Embassy of Japan in Canada, we help promote the JET Programme, assist with JET application interviews and pre-departure orientation, and offer support and information to JET alumni.

President Shuaib Syed

Shuaib Syed is a former junior high school ALT who worked on a series of wonderful islands known as Miyakojima within the subtropical prefecture of Okinawa. During his two and a half years there, he served as Representative for the OkiAJET group and Block leader for ALTs in Miyakojima. He has also been invited to lead workshops for the JET Post-Arrival Orientations in Tokyo on three occasions during 2018/2019. He holds a M.Sc. in Neurosciences from Carleton University and is slowly aiming for the N3 JLPT certification. His hobbies include calligraphy, rock-climbing and cooking

Co-Vice President Brandon Wallace

Brandon Wallace was an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) on the JET Programme, placed in Akashi city, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan from 2011 to 2013. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research, NYC, with a particular interest in political philosophy. He has a passion for all things Japanese, including history, politics, language, and culture. He has passed the N3 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). He currently works as Cultural Assistant at the Embassy of Japan

Co-Vice President Yeti Mallavi

Picture of a woman with a Japanese mascot

Yeti Mallavi was an ALT on the JET Programme in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture from 2015 to 2019. During that time she joined the Nagasaki Naginata club, was the editor (and later editor-in-chief) for the English magazine, the Nagazasshi, and discovered a love for trains. She holds a B.A in earychildhood and elementary education from Concordia University and is currently studying for her M.Ed at the University of Ottawa.

Treasurer Caitlin Wilson

Caitlan was an ALT for 5 years, 2014 – 2019, in Toyooka, a northern “city” in Hyogo Prefecture. During this time she enjoyed local festivals and experimented baking without the normal supplies or equipment. She holds a B.A. in Near Eastern & Classical Archaeology from Wilfrid Laurier and a M.Sc. in Human Osteology from the University of Sheffield.

Secretary Anna Rayner-Grignon

Anna was an ALT for 5 years, 2010 – 2015, in Kumamoto and currently works for the Political Section in the Embassy of Japan. She enjoys reading, cooking, and very slowly preparing for the N1 JLPT. Having served as newsletter editor for the past few years, Anna has now taken on the Secretary role and looks forward to the new challenge.

Social Media Coordinator Erica Bergado

Erica was an ALT for 3 years (2018-2021) in the very small but very population-dense fishing city of Shiogama along the coast of Miyagi prefecture. During her time there, she helped translate Japanese text for her Board of Education and at a local church. She also volunteered regularly at an English summer camp for students. Living in Japan, Erica discovered a love for haikyo (urban exploration) and going to karaoke with her friends. She holds a B.Sc. in International Development from the University of Ottawa and plans on pursuing post-graduate studies in international affairs soon. Her favourite hobbies include making music, playing TTRPGs, and going on road-trips (preferably to do more haikyo)!

Senior Advisor Erica Long

Erica Long was an ALT on the JET Programme in Ashikita, a small town of 20,000 in Kumamoto Prefecture, from 2006 to 2011. She is originally from B.C. but on returning to Canada she moved to another small city of 20,000 in Canada’s north, Yellowknife. Since moving to Ottawa in 2016 she has enjoyed the many opportunities to become involved with JETAA Ottawa and other Japan related groups in the city

Newsletter Editor Jillian Steele

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png

Jillian was an ALT in 2007 and spent a wonderful year hopping between high schools in and around Nayoro, Hokkaido. Jillian has a keen interest in digital education and currently works for the University of Ottawa supporting online learning initiatives and digital programming. She is very excited to bring her expertise and energy to planning fun and engaging events in this “unprecedented” time.

Jillian enjoys baking, dogs, and meme-based humour.

Translator Rob Lavoie

Rob was an ALT on the JET Programme from 2013 to 2018 in the rural suburbs of Hagi, Yamaguchi. Of those 5 years, he spent 3 of them serving as Prefectural Advisor for the Prefectural Board of Education. He holds a B.A. in Linguistics with a minor in Japanese and a one-year study abroad in Osaka. He loves Japanese rock music (esp. Radwimps) and also really enjoys collecting and reading manga. He passed the JLPT N2 in 2016 and eventually plans to stop slacking and go for his N1 certification.

Policy Coordinator Tyler Bissonnette

Tyler Bissonnette was an ALT on the JET Programme Tamba City, Hyogo Prefecture from 2013 to 2017. During that time he worked for National AJET as the Block Representative of Hyogo, Kyoto, and Shiga and had the role of Representative Team Leader. He holds an Honours B.A. in Psychology with a minor in History from the University of Ottawa and worked for the Paper Selection Committee of the Embassy of Japan in Ottawa in late 2017/early 2018.