Board/Executive Introductions

Our executive team is dedicated to providing a wonderful experience for all members of Japan America Society of Iowa. Our team is made up of four dedicated individuals that are passionate and devoted to Japan America Society of Iowa.

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Chie Schiller - Board Chair/Executive President

Chie Schiller first joined JASI in 2014.  She joined Manabiya language school in Nov 2014 as a volunteer supporting language and cultural education activities for children, and she also joined Soten Taiko group in June 2015.  She assumed the current executive president role on January 1, 2016. 

Chie is an AVP, Operational Risk Consultant at Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Mortgage Home Lending business.  19 years with Wells Fargo Bank, and her extensive work experience includes compliance, operational risk management, business process management, project management and implementation.  She also has 13 years’ experience in managing SCorporation.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Management and master’s degree in Project Management from University of Mary.   

Chie was born and raised in Hokkaido Japan, she lived in Montana nearly 20 years, and relocated to Iowa in 2012.  Her mission as the executive president of JASI is to preserve original founders’ mission and vision, continued to celebrate beautiful Japanese culture, language and arts with our friends and neighbors in Iowa.  

Tessa Hopson - Board of Directors/Executive Vice President

Tessa joined JASI in 2010 and assumed her current role as Board Member/Executive Co-Vice President in 2016. She was introduced to JASI through her role as president of Drake’s University’s Anime Club. It was here she began helping with Anime DeMoii. She helped Anime DeMoii expand from a small event in 2010 to a significantly larger event of over 1000 people in attendance in 2016. 

Tessa moved to Des Moines, Iowa after high school graduation to attend Drake University where she earned a BA in Clinical & Applied Health Sciences. She helped expand Drake’s Anime Club from a small group relatively unknown on the campus to a well-known funded organization on campus. She is a manager at Smitten Kitten. She has a deep passion for the Japanese Culture and hopes to visit Japan again someday in the future.


John Hurst - Board of Directors/Executive Vice President

Need Profile/ Photo

Brandon Akamine - Board of Directors/ Executive Secretary 

Brandon was born and raised in Hawaii. After graduating high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps and was eventually stationed in Uruma, Okinawa for three years. In 2010, he moved to Iowa where he eventually attended Iowa State University (ISU) and earned a BS in Dietetics. He joined JASI in the Fall of 2016, and volunteered for the position of Kitchen Manager for CelebrAsian the following year.

He currently works as a Dietetic Clerk at UnityPoint Health, and has past experience in retail working for Abercrombie & Fitch, and as a cook for both children and the elderly at KinderCare and the Friendship Home, respectively. During his time at ISU, he assumed the role of Brotherhood Director, Service Director, Philanthropy Director, Social Chair, and Alumni Chair of the Beta Lambda Chapter of Delta Lambda Phi International Fraternity. He served as a member of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society, Student Dietetics Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and as a SHOP (Students Helping Out Peers) volunteer.

We welcome Brandon as the new 2018 Secretary of JASI for his extensive experience in event management, team bonding, and numerous volunteer efforts aiding the surrounding community. He has a love of Japanese culture including food and customs, anime, Gudetama, and linguistics. Feel free to contact him for any general information you might like about this organization or for access to documents on past meetings.



Phillip VerBeke - Board of Directors/Executive Treasurer

Phillip is originally from the small town of Port Byron, Illinois, which is just north of the Quad Cities Area, 2 and a half hours east of Des Moines.  He graduated from Drake University in 2011, where he was involved in Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Quiz Bowl, and the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists organization.  After graduation, he moved to Chicago until 2012, when he moved back to Des Moines.

Phillip first joined JASI through Anime DeMoii in 2014, where he had the role of Secretary.  While with Anime DeMoii, he was responsible for taking board meeting minutes and helping out with grass-roots promotion of the event.  He assumed the role of Executive Treasurer on January 1, 2018, taking over for Yoshimi Tamura. 

When he’s not involved in JASI, he is an overnight pharmacist at Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines.  His spouse, Tessa, is a Co-Vice President of JASI.  They are currently planning for a trip together to Japan, which would be his first time there. He is also a diehard Chicago sports fan (Go Cubs Go!) and Crystal Palace Football Club (Premier League Soccer) fan.