Jennifer Beckett moved to San Francisco in 1989, just in time for the Loma Prieta earthquake. Undeterred by the rattling landscape, she settled in and made this city, and IIBA, her home. Jennifer joined the Board of Directors in 1990, attracted by “IIBA’s mission and programs,” which “facilitate citizenship and civic engagement, so people who are newcomers to this country can become productive and involved.”
Jennifer worked 15 years in Thailand, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Her work included teaching English to graduate students who were committed to furthering their own educational opportunities. After returning to the U.S., Jennifer spent two years commuting from Washington D.C. to Jakarta to work on a government project to improve health policy analysis. These enriching international experiences affirmed Jennifer’s belief that diversity benefits us as individuals, as communities, and as a nation. “Many members of my own family arrived in the US from elsewhere, and their influence, as well as my time spent in other countries, has taught me what a joy it is to be exposed to and to benefit from many cultures.”
Jennifer has served as IIBA board president, vice president, and secretary. “I have never been treasurer. I’ve always tried to leave that to the more talented money people,” she jokes.
Over the years, Jennifer has been impressed by IIBA’s ability to expand beyond its original home in San Francisco, to serve additional Bay Area counties. She believes that IIBA’s strength comes not only from its deep history of advocacy, but from its ability to respond to changing landscapes. “We are constantly growing and adapting, offering training to graduate school interns, adding talented people to our staff and board, and responding to perpetually changing immigration regulations. Our response to DACA was an excellent example of that, and I hope that expanded DACA and DAPA will provide another opportunity to respond to changing immigration policy.”