NAJIT Annual Election

2024 Board of Directors 

The candidates for the Board of Directors are listed below. Click the links under their name to read the candidate’s statement and brief biography.

The term of Francesca Samuel will expire on May 18, 2024. Francesca will be seeking re-election.

Introducing the Candidates

The NAJIT Board of Directors, together with the Nominations Committee, is proud to announce the candidates running to fill the open positions on the Board of Directors. This year there are two vacancies and two candidates in the election.

Our Board of Directors is responsible for setting policy and supervising the Association’s affairs, as well as laying out the path for NAJIT to follow today and in the future while it represents our interests.

To this end, the Nominations Committee seeks to provide a slate of candidates who are active and experienced volunteers, and represent the interests, needs, and profiles of NAJIT’s membership.

The candidates for this year’s election are:

Yadira Call

BIO: Yadira Call serves as the President of Certified Spanish Interpreters, based in Santa Clara, Utah, where she works as an interpreter and a translator. She holds court certifications in the States of Arkansas, Utah, and California. Her proficiency extends to conference interpreting and forensic interview translations.

In an effort to contribute to the professional development of her peers, Yadira has innovated by developing CafeVoz, a free web application designed to assist interpreters in creating audio flashcards in various languages. This application reflects her commitment to advancing the field of interpretation and translation through technology.

She is an active member of the Language Access Committee of Utah, where she represents the interests of interpreters within the state. She also works to further the understanding of the profession and has provided interpreter perspectives and “shadowing” opportunities to judges. She shares relevant NAJIT publications to new coordinators so they can be prepared to make assignments in an appropriate manner.

Yadira’s journey in certified court interpretation commenced in 2010. Over the years, she has rendered her linguistic services in multiple states.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Yadira treasures her roots in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, where she lived for over thirty years. She values the time spent visiting family in Mexico, and cherishing moments with her five children and four grandchildren.

CANDIDATE STATEMENT: Beyond her professional pursuits, Yadira treasures her roots in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, where she lived for over thirty years. She values the time spent visiting family in Mexico, and cherishing moments with her five children and four grandchildren.

I’m not just about doing the work; I’m also about making our field better. That’s why I created CafeVoz, a free online tool that helps interpreters practice with audio flashcards in many languages.

Being part of the Language Access Committee in Utah, I’ve stood up for our rights and helped others in the court personnel to understand our important role. This mix of hands-on experience and advocacy has taught me a lot about the challenges we face.

If elected to the NAJIT Board, I want to use my knowledge and passion to support our profession. I’m all about pushing for better training and upholding high standards. I believe we can work together to tackle the issues in our industry and make a great future for language professionals.

Thanks for considering me. I’m really looking forward to the chance to make a difference with NAJIT, to learn from and to collaborate with everyone in our community.

Julieta Navarro Potts

BIO: Julieta was born in Santa Fe City in Argentina. Her love for the English Language took her to study to become a teacher in the Teaching Training College Estela Guingle de Cervera. Then her professional interpreter career started in Kansas City, MO in 2009. Julieta became certified in Professional Certified in 2009. Highly experienced in court settings and repeatedly praised for leadership skills, recruiting, and developing talent.

Successfully led the largest judicial district in the state of Colorado in an unparalleled manner. She has been a strong advocate for the continued modernization of live interpreting. through development of policies and procedures for remote technology.

CANDIDATE STATEMENT: Julieta’s desire is to encourage and recruit new members to join NAJIT and be a point of contact not only for the new generation of interpreters but to the ones that have not been members for some time. Julieta has had the opportunity to serve on the NAJIT Social Media Committee. Julieta has been a Certified Court Interpreter since 2011, has served on the Colorado Courts Office of Language Access as the Managing Court Interpreter of the largest district, is studying Forensic Science  and was previously a board member of Micata. Currently, she is forging a continuing education business and project with the largest legal publishing house in Argentina to provide trainings and continuing education to interpreters in the USA.

Francesca Samuel

BIO: Francesca Samuel is a freelance interpreter/translator and founder and president of A la Carte Translations, a web-based translation business established in 2000, and a proud member of NAJIT and ATA since 1999.

She is a graduate of the Pima College Translation and Interpreting Program and has 20+ yrs. experience as an immigration court interpreter and freelance translator.

Francesca is an avid volunteer and passionate advocate for the profession. She has presented at several annual conferences including FIT, NAJIT, CFI, ATA and ATI on immigration, business management, social media marketing and scam prevention and continues to spread awareness about the working conditions of immigration court interpreters.

She has served on several committees and boards which include president of Arizona Translators and Interpreters, Hospitality/Public Relations committee chair/member, NAJIT’s T&E and Conference committees, and continues to serve as a proud member of the Professional Development Committee of the ATA Spanish Division. She became a member of the NAJIT board of directors and also serves as this organization’s treasurer. Most recently, she was appointed interim vice-chair of NAJIT.

A proud native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Francesca lived in New York City and Los Angeles before eventually settling down in Tucson, AZ with her husband and children.

CANDIDATE STATEMENT: It has been a great honor and privilege to have served this NAJIT as a board member and treasurer for the past two years. More recently, I have been appointed interim vice-chair, and it is my hope is to continue to serve this extraordinary organization.

For those who do not know me, I have been a member of NAJIT since 1999 and have worked on several committees. including chair of the Immigration Interpreters Committee, the Training and Education Committee, and co-chair of the Conference Committee. Last year, I helped organize one of the most successfully attended NAJIT Annual Conferences in Las Vegas, NV.

My experience as a volunteer in the Translation & Interpreting profession includes:

  • Treasurer, ATA Spanish Division (2002-2004)
  • Chair, ATA Spanish Division, Professional Development Committee (2006-2010)
  • Administrator of the American Translators Association Spanish Language Division (2012-2016)
  • President of Arizona Translators and Interpreters (2012-2016)
  • Chair, ATA Spanish Division Hospitality/Public Relations Committee (2022-2024)
  • President Arizona Translators and Interpreters (2022-2024)

I have been volunteering for a long time, have been fully committed from the start, and continue to be committed. I am willing to put in the long working hours, the weekend hours, sometimes the holiday hours, to support efforts that will benefit all translators and interpreters.

As an independent contractor and a freelance interpreter for Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), the branch of the Dept. of Justice that oversees all immigration proceedings in the U.S., I hope to represent and give voice to those in this area of our profession. I am passionate about the future and what is in store for all of us come tomorrow. However, allow me to share something with you. Tomorrow is already here, so there is a lot of work to be done!

I hope my experience and dedication will earn your vote. If elected, I will continue my renewed commitment to serve as a member of the NAJIT Board of Directors, support and provoke changes that will benefit all of us, and encourage and mentor those who travel our path. Thanks for your consideration.

Lili Selden, PhD

BIO: Lili Selden, PhD, is an English⇄Japanese interpreter and translator, academic editor, and intercultural communication coach residing in the DC metro area. In addition to serving as a registered court interpreter in multiple jurisdictions, she offers instruction in Japanese language, business etiquette, and translation and interpretation (T&I) to federal employees and military personnel. As a federalized member of the National Language Service Corps (NLSC) since 2019, she has proudly supported humanitarian disaster relief exercises in Guam and military training exercises in Yakima, WA. Since joining NAJIT in 2017, she has dedicated her time as a volunteer on the Training & Education (T&E), Advocacy, and Positions Papers committees.

After co-moderating a number of memorable NAJIT Academy webinars over the years, she was delighted in 2023 to co-present a language-neutral webinar with fellow T&E committee member Jaqueline Nordin (Portuguese⇄English), and then to present NAJIT’s first Japanese-specific one. In May 2024, she will co-present with colleague Niery Bardakjian (Armenian⇄English) her first NAJIT Annual Conference session, which will explore ambiguous ethical situations and the importance of safeguarding our professional integrity whether working in courthouses, conference halls, or military contexts.

Lili keenly awaits the day when the U.S. follows Australia’s example and debuts an official court interpreter oral exam and certification for Japanese.

CANDIDATE STATEMENT: In my early days as a per diem interpreter, I worked in DC as a federal contractor and occasionally dropped by the DC Superior Court to shadow experienced interpreters. An esteemed colleague encouraged me to attend the 38th Annual NAJIT Conference, a transformative experience that left me with a more nuanced and empowering view of court interpreting and ethics. I had the privilege of discussing the possibility of volunteering on the Training & Education (T&E) committee with the late Esther Navarro-Hall, who generously connected me with the committee’s inaugural chair.

My six years serving on the T&E committee, twice as chair, and my current year on the Advocacy and Positions Papers committees have deepened my understanding of the rewards and challenges of court interpreting and allowed me to apply my educational background to support continuing education and advocacy efforts for interpreters, especially those working in languages of lesser diffusion (LLD). One recent initiative that has been particularly exciting for me is the Advocacy Toolkit developed by the Advocacy committee. This brilliant effort will enable interpreters nationwide to advocate for sensible policies, appropriate working conditions, and fair compensation.

Equally, I see great potential in the T&E committee developing a more sustainable flow of preplanned, foundational webinars to complement the NAJIT Academy’s more sporadic offerings. As an LLD interpreter impressed by the dedication of our active association members to NAJIT and our profession, I would bring to the Board my keen awareness of the challenges LLD interpreters face in acquiring and maintaining skills, and my pedagogical insight as an experienced intercultural communication coach. On the Board, I will work to ensure our profession’s growth and success in addition to identifying strategies that safeguard year-to-year continuity to prevent us from going back to square one every election cycle.

To cast your vote you will need the voter key and voter id sent to you via email when the election is launched. The election will be launched by April 18, 2024.

Voting takes place electronically, and not during the Annual Business Meeting. All Active and Life Members can vote online using the link they will receive via email or requesting a mail-in ballot. If you would like a mail-in ballot, please request one from the Election Committee at elections@najit.org. This year, the deadline for voting online is May 17, 2024, at 11:59 PM ET. After this date, all votes will be tallied, and the results announced during the Annual Business Meeting on May 18, 2024.

This is your opportunity to shape the future of NAJIT. Make sure your voice is heard. Your vote and participation matter!

Elections Committee’s Mandate

The Board approved and appointed the 2024 Elections Committee. Our mandate under the NAJIT bylaws is to carry out the election and to count the votes and report on the results to the Membership at the Annual Business Meeting. The process followed by the Elections Committee protects the confidentiality of each voter’s choices and the integrity of the collection and reporting of votes.

As our bylaws stipulate, the voting methods are determined by the Board of Directors. Members have the choice of voting by mail ballot or online through a third-party election platform called Election Runner.

Note: When you submit an electronic ballot on Election Runner, a ballot receipt will appear on screen. Save or print it as Election Runner does not send an email confirmation.

Secure Web-Based Voting Platform

Our Elections Committee has been trained in the use of the Election Runner platform to fill the voter roster and have emails automatically sent to each voter to access an individualized voter key to use for voting online. Once the votes are cast, and prior to the close of the election, votes are completely confidential, the tally for any of the candidates cannot be monitored, and no active voter can vote more than once without a record being made of each name, email address, and voter key used to cast a duplicate vote.

Election Runner uses a traceable unique key for each voter to cast their vote electronically and allows for the generation of an anonymized report of the raw ballots received and tallied which can only be reviewed at the close of the election.

Mail-in Ballots

Any mail-in ballots received by the cutoff date of May 17, will be included and documented in the vote tally reported by the Elections Committee to the Membership at the Annual Business Meeting. If you would like a mail-in ballot, please request one from the Election Committee at elections@najit.org.

Voting will be open until May 18, 2024, at 11:59 PM ET.

Respectfully yours,

The Elections Committee