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Paul Pass

Executive Director

Paul Pass joined as Executive Director of the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth in January 2019. He oversees board governance, fundraising, operational management, organizational strategy, programming, and relationships with 200+ Japanese companies in North Texas. Before JASDFW, he worked at Asia Society Texas Center, where he held several positions, creating lasting connections for visitors through Asia-Pacific arts, business, cultural, and policy programming for adults, educators, families, and students. In his time at Asia Society, he had a role in over 920 programs reaching more 75,500 Houstonians. He also previously worked in education and community outreach positions at the World Affairs Council of Houston, the United States House of Representatives, the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, Indiana University, and the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

He was a 2019 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program delegate, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mosaic Taiwan fellow in 2017, and an Institute for Cultural Diplomacy forum delegate in 2010. He holds a master’s degree from Indiana University, a bachelor’s degree from Miami University, earned a certificate from The London School of Economics and Political Science, completed post-graduate coursework at The Ohio State University, and earned a certificate in non-profit leadership from Southern Methodist University.

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Eli Hatch

Director of Corporate Relations and Business Programs

Eli joined JASDFW in July 2022 as the Director of Corporate Relations and Business Programs. He has worked in the field of international corporate and professional development in Tokyo (New York University) and the Bay Area (University of California, Berkeley). Eli also has a background in Japanese automotive manufacturing and regional expertise in East, Southeast, and Western Asia. Eli holds Master of Arts in International Education Management and Public Administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey and is an alumnus of the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama, Japan. He participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture.

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Rebecca Pineda

Programs and Marketing Manager

Rebecca joined JASDFW in August 2022 as the Programs and Marketing Manager. She has worked in the fields of international education, arts, and cultural education, and led exchange programs between local Dallas schools and China. In 2021, Rebecca lived for twelve months in Nozawa Onsen, Nagano, Japan, where she taught elementary and middle school English, earned the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N2 Certificate, traveled to 27 of the 47 prefectures, and foraged for bamboo shoots. She is committed to the thriving and healthy exchange of language, culture, and commerce between Japan and the U.S. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Minor in Japanese Language from the University of North Texas.

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Maiko Kobayashi

Office Manager

Maiko joined the team in February 2020 as the accounting and office coordinator, and has been leading as our Office Manager since June 2022. She is responsible for daily bookkeeping, office administration, and providing support in programs, including fundraising and cultural education outreach. Previously, she worked in the banking and financial industry, in Hyogo, Japan. She moved to the U.S. in 2016 to pursue a global business certificate in the University of Washington and worked at a publishing company as a content editor in Seattle, Washington, where she learned Japanese American history and found her passion in spreading Japanese culture in the community. Maiko earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Konan University and a certificate in global business from the University of Washington.

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Joshua Emero

Communications & Development Coordinator

Joshua joined JASDFW in June of 2021 as the Communications and Development Coordinator. Joshua received Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology as well as Information Sciences & Technology from Penn State University in 2019. Before graduating, he chose to study abroad in Tokyo and while there he had the opportunity to work with the Embassy of Afghanistan in Japan as a Public Relations Intern. Joshua has worked in the past as a Global Dialogue Facilitator, facilitating inter-cultural discussions between students in the U.S. and people in other countries. Joshua graduated in November 2021 with a Master’s of Arts degree in Political Science – Security and Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University.


Hiromi Burns

Japan-in-a-Suitcase Coordinator

Hiromi joined JASDFW as the Japan-in-a-Suitcase Coordinator in May 2022. Through her experience of studying in different countries (Australia, Portugal, and Brazil) in college, she has found joy in cultural exchange and language learning. She has been an active volunteer member in community organizations and the Society to promote cross-cultural understanding. She graduated with associated degree in English Literature and Business English. She speaks Japanese, English, and Portuguese. 

Ikuko Fujiwara

Education & Language Programs Coordinator

Ikuko recently joined JASDFW as the Education & Language Programs Coordinator. Her academic and professional background is in TESOL and Composition which began with earning a Master’s degree in TESOL from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her career has been devoted to instruction and supporting student success while promoting diversity and inclusion in educational spaces. She has experience teaching Japanese, ESOL and college composition at various colleges in the United States. She has also organized and participated in cultural events, conferences and panel discussions that emphasize and celebrate diversity. She is committed to creating inclusive and meaningful learning spaces where people engage in cross-cultural/intercultural understanding and learn to use language in empowering ways.


Maki Hasegawa

Education Presenter

A native of Tokyo, Maki Hasegawa joined the staff in 2018. She enjoys sharing her love of Japan through Japan-in-a-Suitcase presentations and at Japan-America Society events and community festivals throughout the year. She received her bachelor’s degree in Government from Monmouth College in Illinois and worked at various global companies in Tokyo before moving to the Dallas area.

Sarah Modisette

Summer 2022 Intern

Sarah joined JASDFW in May of 2022 as a summer intern. She is currently a senior student pursuing her Bachelors in Japanese Language and Asian Studies at the University of North Texas. She has experience in various officer positions in the Japanese Culture Organization and Japanese Honor Society at UNT and is a Teaching Assistant for the Japanese Department as a Lab Sensei for students in beginner 1 and 2 Japanese. Through her love of teaching and learning about Japanese culture and language, Sarah enjoys creating YouTube content in her spare time for the channel Sarah Loves Japan. With hopes of attending graduate school in Japan to pursue a Master’s in Japanese, she continues to pursue opportunities where she can gain intercultural competency, leadership skills, and Japanese language skills.

Nehaarika Shridhar

Summer 2022 Intern

Nehaarika Shridhar is an incoming junior International Relations and Global Studies major at the University of Texas of Austin.  She joined JASDFW for the summer of 2022 as policy and communications intern. She will assist the JASDFW executives with events, conduct research for different initiatives, and spearhead new projects, among other duties. Her interest in JASDFW stems from her background in cultural convergence, learning languages from a young age, and actively participating in community work. She has a background in policy and communications internships, her most recent one being a strategic communications intern for Raise Your Hand Texas.

Nehaarika is minoring in Japanese and is hoping to study and work in Japan after her undergraduate education. She is a Jefferson’s Scholar at UT Austin, allowing her to cultivate her love for reading and philosophy. Outside university and internships, she is passionate about Bharatanatyam, a form of Indian classical dance, having learnt it for 15 years and counting.