Panthers Of ISKL #84 – Kendra Jones

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 – The Alumni Lead

This week we met up with Kendra Jones, who recently joined ISKL as our new Alumni Engagement & Development Lead, taking care of all things alumni and fundraising!

Kendra, who comes from just outside Kansas City (on the Kansas side) in the United States, went to the University of Kansas and studied History and American Studies for her first degree and is currently completing a second degree in Operations Management with an MBA.

In her free time, when she is not studying, Kendra enjoys looking after her rescue puppy, cooking, eating, traveling, catching up on the latest thing on Netflix, and hanging out with friends at some sporting competition.

Here is her story.


“I left the US about 11 years ago to work as an English teacher in Ecuador, Turkey, and China before coming to Malaysia. I ended up here on the flip of a coin. I had a job offer in both Penang and Chile, but as I was living in China, I ultimately decided I wanted to see more of Asia before heading back to the other side of the world.

‘There is so much to like about Malaysia.- although I have been living here for the past eight years, I am still learning new things! I like how easy it is to travel to other countries because KL is so well situated. I love the food – rendang, anything with pandan, coconut, gula melaka, char kuey teow, butter chicken – ALL of it! I also like how diverse Malaysia is. Even amongst Malaysians of the same ethnicity, you will find many unique traditions and experiences from one group to another. “

A Career Change

“I had a job I was pretty proud of before coming to ISKL. I worked for a local university in the Klang Valley, starting as an English lecturer and ending as Dean for their Center for American Education. I worked closely with Malaysian students and felt a lot of satisfaction in helping them fulfill their dream to study abroad – but I grew restless after seven years. A friend shared the ISKL job posting with me, and I applied at first to see what would happen. However, after my first conversation with the team, I knew that as hard as it would be to make a significant career change, coming to work for ISKL was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!

‘I wanted to be a part of something where everyone worked together to lift each other – even in tough times. These last two years have been hard on everyone, and I noticed how ISKL looks after their community internally and externally. It’s been inspiring to observe ISKL from the outside, and I am excited to be a part of it. I’m definitely here for the people!”

ISKL and The Future

“I have an extensive background working with young adults transitioning between High School and University, so despite being in a very new role professionally, I am looking forward to continuing having the opportunity to engage with young people!

‘In my role, I will be leading the Alumni and Development aspects of the Advancement office, which involves planning, organizing, and promoting opportunities for current community members as well as alumni. Some events and activities include career talks, webinars, mentor/mentee relationships, reunions, and preparing the Alumni newsletter and magazine. I will also be working with the rest of the Advancement team to drive development and fundraising, and I am particularly excited about the ‘Pathways Scholarship’ and fundraising activities aimed at helping the larger community.

‘As for current projects, I am currently working on the ‘ISKL Pathways Scholarship’, where we will be organizing fundraising to cover a full 4-year tuition fee at ISKL for a deserving and inspirational Malaysian student. I believe success is when you find yourself able to open the door for others, so working on this project is something I am looking forward to!

‘The resilience of the human spirit inspires me. Seeing people pushed to their limit and still pressing on inspires me to reflect on my situations and ask, “Is it really that bad?”

What does ‘Be All You Are’ mean to you?

“Being all you are means to me having the confidence to be yourself, no matter what. I think we spend a lot of time trying to fit in and be accepted, often at the expense of who we are and what makes us shine. Sometimes we are told we are “too this” and “too that” and are made to feel bad for being different. But to me, ‘Be all you are’ means accepting those differences and celebrating them.”