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3rd Nov, 2014

Meeting JCI Minneapolis and JCI Saint Paul
by Fiona Silvester on November 3, 2014 23:08


Recently I started a new job that would mean travelling to North America on a regular basis.  My first trip was in September and last 6 days!  It left little time to escape work and see what America had to offer.  This trip is 12 nights and I knew I'd have a completely free night on Halloween.  What to do??  Sit in the mall ad people watch or find something else to do...


I knew JCI or Jaycees was a big deal in the US from other member's international experiences but that was all I knew.  I sent an email to JCI Minneapolis on the odd chance that something might be happening that I could tag along to - after all it was Halloween.  Kathleen from Minneapolis replied straight away saying she'd see what she could do.  Minneapolis and Saint Paul are twin cities so surprisingly close together and it turned out that night Elyssa from Saint Paul had arranged a meet up so Kathleen invited me along.  


It had been a long two days with work and as I sat for an hour and a half on two different trams (light rail to the US guys) I could feel my eyelids closing and I wondered what I was letting myself in for.  Surely a warm hotel room and an early night would've been a more sensible option!  Especially as it hadn't got above freezing all day!  (I hear the UK is still experiencing warm temperatures so please don't rub it in hehe - I've had to buy a woolly hat).  


As with all JCI events/meetings it was DEFINITELY worth the effort.  Everyone made me very welcome and I even got some delicious Thai food.

Blog » International » Dinner.JPG

Afterwards Elyssa, Kathleen and Samantha took me on a tour of Saint Paul and presented me with their 75th anniversary cook book.  I'm already excited for some of the recipes in there.  I'm now planning my next trip and hoping to make the the USA National Convention in March.  Thanks JCI Minneapolis and JCI Saint Paul!


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24th Oct, 2014

Who wants to join Team Deputy 2015?
by Sarah Beckwith on October 24, 2014 19:01


I was absolutely thrilled to be elected as JCI UK Deputy National President 2015 at our AGM in September. I am really excited about next year. My role as deputy involves supporting National President, Drew Charman, the National Board team and local chambers in any way I can and planning the JCI UK strategy for 2016 and beyond. The thing I am looking forward to the most is working with the local deputy presidents. I can't wait to find out who the members are that I will be taking those roles. Could it be you?

Why be a deputy?

Leadership - JCI is an organisation dedicated to providing opportunities for our members to develop their skills and help others to do the same. The most important role in the organisation is local president (with preparation and support by the deputy being a big part of this). There is no better opportunity to develop your leadership skills - you will learn an incredible amount.

International experience - You get the chance to apply for one of the JCI UK places at JCI European Academy, the 5 day academy in Sweden for incoming local presidents. It is one of the most unique and brilliant experiences you can have as a JCI member. You can read about some past delegates' experiences on these blogs:

Blog » JCI UK Deputies at EA.jpg

Local Deputies Wasim (Leeds), Soraya (London), Luke (Birmingham) and Mark (Sheffield)
at European Academy 2014

Meet great people - Those you work with as deputies and presidents are your support network. I challenge you to spend two years working with these inspiring individuals and not come out with friends for life. I certainly have, in fact many of us have gone on to work together at a national level.

Blog » 2011 LPs (2).jpg

Drew (National President 2015), Kate (National President 2014) and I were Deputy Presidents then Presidents together in 2010/2011 for Southampton, Sheffield and London respectively and are now all on the National Board team

Team Deputy - Isn't being a Local President hard work I hear you ask? Well, yes, I'm not going to lie, it is always a challenge (otherwise you're probably not doing it right), but it is totally worth it. Going on the leadership journey of deputy president then president of JCI London has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and something which I am unbelievably proud of. Don't believe me? Just read some of the blogs from local presidents from chambers around the country (for example:

And you will not be alone! Over the past few years JCI UK has implemented a training programme for deputies and presidents. This takes place at the National Events (Inspiration Day, Presidents and Deputies Day, AGM & National Convention). I've started working on what this will cover for the deputies, including skills for preparing to be president, sharing best practice and working on ideas for how to make JCI UK the best it can be (locally and nationally). The most important thing is that we build a team and how we spend our time together will be driven by the members of that team - we will decide what we do and how we do it.

If anyone would like to have a chat about Team Deputy 2015, please drop me a line at and we can arrange a time to talk. Also get in touch with your chamber deputy (Local President 2015) who can take you through their experience of being deputy, plans for your chamber next year and the process for election.


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18th Oct, 2014

All the info you need about National Convention 2014
by Sarah Beckwith on October 18, 2014 16:56


Follow this link to find the stunning brouchure for the JCI UK National Convention 2014, taking place in Canary Wharf on the weekend of 14-16 November.  You can find trainers bios, details of the programme and pictures of all the venues.  

For a limited time only, you can get a full convention ticket for £150. The ticket price includes:

  • Keynote speaker on Friday
  • Buffet dinner on Friday night
  • Access to all our fantastic training sessions on Saturday
  • Buffet Lunch on Saturday
  • The excitement of the JCI UK Public Speaking, Extempore and Debating Competitions
  • Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Saturday night including pre-dinner drink, 3 course meal and half a bottle of wine or soft drink alternative
  • Inspirational training session with a community steer on Sunday morning

You can sign up to this exciting event here.

events » National Convention 2014.jpg

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10th Oct, 2014

How I Came To Be On National Board - Michaela Schaller
by Michaela Schaller on October 10, 2014 18:40


National Board Blog 2014 » michaela-schaller.jpg

I had been a member of my Local Council team since January 2014 when I read Kirstie Draper's post on facebook with her news that she was pregnant and therefore would be standing down from her role as the National Marketing Director.  I was looking after marketing, strategic and operational, in my job at that time and thought I also could gather some relevant experience during my JCI career.  As I was looking to get involved on the National Board at one point anyway, I thought: why not now?  I contacted Kirstie and Kate Senter, 2014 National President. to learn about the process and finally handed in my Intention To Stand form.

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4th Oct, 2014

How I Came To Be On National Board - Debbie Worthington
by Michaela Schaller on October 4, 2014 18:00


National Board Blog 2014 » debbie-worthington.jpg


I joined JCI Barnsley back in 2005 when I was looking for a way to meet new people in a new town and get some business skills to boot!  My employer pointed me in the direction of JCI and I attended the Yorkshire Regional Extempore event being hosted in Barnsley soon after.  I was amazed by the confidence on display that night and the supportive atmosphere that spurred on the first-time competitors to give it a whirl.

The following year I was encouraged to join my Local Council as Newsletter Editor and Personal Development Director for the National Convention and have been active at a local council level ever since. I even gave the extempore competition hosted by JCI Bradford a go!  In 2009 I had the honour of leading JCI Barnsley as Local President which gave me more of an insight into what could be achieved by the National Board.

Having shown interest in taking on a new challenge the Deputy National President at the time, Lesley Young, was keen to find out what I could bring to the party.  So in 2010 I was elected into the role of Administration Director where I got to make good use of my organisational skills and became the 'Admin Bird'.  I can't have messed it up that badly as Alli Cowell, the 2011 National President, asked me to stay on for another year!

After two great years learning loads of new skills, meeting new people and serving the organisation, I took a couple of years off to get married, buy a new home and support my local chamber as they went from strength to strength.  The international element of JCI has always been an unexpected bonus to my membership and the International Director role was one I'd always hoped to hold.  This year I took the plunge and submitted my intention to stand to Kate Senter, 2014 National President, which she thankfully supported, along with the members, and I was voted in at the AGM.

I've loved my roles on National Board and every year has been very different and rewarding in unexpected ways.  If you think you have something to give, make it known to your Local President, Regional Group Chair or a member of National Board and see where those conversations take you!


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1st Oct, 2014

Meet a Senator!
by Sarah Beckwith on October 1, 2014 21:19


Ever wondered what a senator is and does?  We talk to Senator #44100 Peter Duffy, who has recently been elected as 2015 Vice Chairman of the British Senate.

Please could you explain to us what a senator is?
Established in 1952 at the 7th JCI World Congress in Melbourne Australia by Philip Pugsley, a Senatorship is the highest award that can be bestowed on a JCI Member and is a unique way to pay tribute to an individual for his/her dedication and outstanding service to JCI.  It also bestows a lifetime membership of the JCI Organisation providing an enduring link to JCI members worldwide, thus creating a link from the past to the present.

I understand you started your JCI career in Africa - could you share some experiences from your time as a JCI member there?
Indeed, I was invited by my then girlfriend to a Chapter meeting in Harare Zimbabwe back in early 1982, met the most interesting group of people and was hooked!! Joined as a member within weeks and so started a series of experiences including being a member, Chapter Secretary, Vice President & President, moving on to be a National Secretary, Executive Vice President and then National President in 1986. Along the way running, as well as participating in various projects, as you do.  The biggest was being a member of the COC for the 1984 JCI Area A Conference, but also being National Conference Director twice.

Blog » meet the members » Dominique and Peter.JPG

My year as National President was amazing, travelling to the Area A Nairobi Conference where I met my future wife.  Actually we met, got engaged and married all in 6 months and are still together 28 years later!!

I was honoured to be appointed the JCI Area A Growth & Development Director for East & Southern Africa by the World President in 1987, as well as serving as National IPP and Senate Chairman.  I served as the COC Chairman for the 1992 Area A Harare Conference and of course was awarded my Senatorship in 1989. I have attended 3 World Congresses (Leipzig will be my 4th), 5 Area A Conferences and some 15 National Conventions over my JCI career.

This may sound like a resume, but anyone who has held Chapter, National offices or run projects will understand the camaraderie and special experiences that both JCI and its members offer, they are all for the memory books and help to give special meaning to being a member of this wonderful organisation.

How did you connect with JCI when you moved to the UK?Blog » meet the members » Peter Duffy with Senate Banner.jpg
Honestly through the internet......

When I first arrived in the UK in 2003 things were very hard for me, I really had to start again from scratch, like a school leaver, but once things improved and I was more settled I realised I missed my JCI family.  With a small amount of searching on the internet I reached out in 2010 to the then Senate Chairman Marretta Coleman who encouraged me to attend my first UK Senate weekend in St David's. Once again both my wife Dominique (who is also a Senator) and I were blown away by the openness and welcome we received, it was just like I had never left. Once again I was hooked and got involved, slowly at first but attending more & more events each year till I was elected to the Senate Council for 2014 and have/will attend every Senate Weekend in the UK this year, and have now been elected the British Senate Deputy Chairman for 2015.

What has JCI done for you professionally and personally?
This is a tough question, it's so much - but to sum it up briefly I feel that it has made me a better citizen - I am more in tune with humanitarian affairs worldwide and in the work place I feel that the exposure JCI has given me during my younger years has stood me in good stead, making me a more rounded individual. My career has, without a doubt, developed due to the experiences I learnt in running projects and holding office within JCI. I have always loved the international fellowship of JCI, it also gave me a wife & best friend, and I can personally say I have friends in dozens of countries around the world, special people that I can share a bond with.

What resulted in you being awarded a Senatorship?
A Senatorship is a surprise, an honour, recognition as well as a status, I honestly don't know what part of my career with JCI resulted in my award, I would like to believe a bit of it all - dedication, lots of spare time dedicated to service? Perhaps you tell me...

What does it mean to you to be a senator?
Firstly to be so honoured by your peers is a great buzz, you for sure don't want to let the organisation down, so behave as a true JCI member.

Secondly to quote 4 lines of the JCI Creed would for me sum it up:
That the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations.
That service to humanity is the best work of life.
That earth's great treasure lies in human personality.
That governments should be of laws rather than of man.

Blog » meet the members » Peter at Charlottenburg Berlin July 2009.JPGWhat do senators get up to?
Party, Party, Party - well that's part of it!!  Each year the British Senate Chairman will, with support from Senators, arrange a number of social events that will foster fellowship and the spirit of JCI - the coming together of Senators in friendship + social interaction = party!!

There is a serious side as well - at these functions there will usually be a Council meeting to conduct the business of Council, an Annual AGM to elect officers to Council and to encourage interaction with Senators from around the world but usually from the ASE (Association of Senators of Europe).

How can senators help JCI UK and its members?
It's a fine line to balance help vs interference, and so Senators may appear aloof & distant - this is because (in my opinion) as soon as you say "when I was in JCI", or any variation of that, you are not helping but directing, this is NOT what Senators are about. So what can we do to help?

Personally I believe we are a storehouse of history of the organisation, a group that questions can be asked (for information) and at times with the right briefing support at events like new members evenings & National Conventions where personal experiences can be shared to encourage people to join or stand for office, to be an inspiration.

The British Senate also sponsor the Best New Member allowing them some financial support to attend an international event to learn more about JCI.

Finally, and to support the "non-interference" point - the request, question, invite needs to come from JCI UK members, Chapter Presidents or the National Board, I strongly believe this is the best approach, and am positive if asked you will always find a Senator willing and able to help to the best of their ability.

What's your best advice for JCI UK members?
Enjoy to the full your time with the organisation!!  This is an unbelievable group of young and old(er) people, participate, party and enjoy, work hard and rest assured the time and effort will reap benefits - it has for me.

Thank you very much Peter for some really interesting and inspiring stories!


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29th Sep, 2014

How I came to be on National Board - Paul Widger
by Michaela Schaller on September 29, 2014 21:49


National Board Blog 2014 » Paul-Widger.jpg

It's quite a boring story actually! I'd been a member of my local council team for 18 months or so, attended some national events and got an appreciation of the national organisation, and I thought I could bring something to the role of National Finance Director.

I also thought it would benefit my local chamber, which had no National Board experience. I approached the then-National FD and also the National President who both encouraged me to submit an Intention to Stand to the next AGM, in September 2013.


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27th Sep, 2014

LEAP - A 2014 Graduate's Perspective
by Sarah Beckwith on September 27, 2014 10:20


Having received much positive feedback from LEAP alumni, I felt flattered when I knew that I got the bursary to join the LEAP training this year. It's my first national event and I liked the energy of both trainers and participants from across the country!

LEAP » Winnie Presenting.jpg

Altogether I have been to different leadership training, the experience and dynamic is never the same. While leadership training elsewhere may mainly focus on commercial and work aspects, LEAP participants share the JCI vision which made the exercises and discussions more enriching. The part that I enjoyed the most is the team building exercises in the morning. It's refreshing to work with team members from different JCI chapters. I also found the personality analysis training very useful and that gave me a good reminder of self awareness.

LEAP » Winnie Group Work.jpg

The regular ticket price is already amazing for an all-included 2-day training and it's even more so with the bursary. That's really a good motivation and I can't wait to join future JCI training! At last, a big thanks to the JCI national training team for organising the training and all the work in making it a fruitful experience!

By Winnie Mak, JCI London

LEAP » Winnie Graduating.jpg

You can read fellow graduate, Ryan Pilkington's blog here.


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26th Sep, 2014

How I Came To Be On National Board - Sarah Beckwith
by Michaela Schaller on September 26, 2014 07:08


National Board Blog 2014 » sarah-beckwith.jpg

I was first on National Board in 2012 as Admin & Membership Director.  I had previously worked with that year's National President, Solveig Malvik, on the Local Council in my home chamber of London, so knew it would be a great team experience.  I was really excited by her vision and ambitions for the organisation and wanted to be a part of it.   The previous year I had been President of JCI London, a role way out of my comfort zone, so I was keen to do a role which played to my strengths and where I could make a difference.   Admin and Membership completely fitted the bill in that respect and I'm proud that the initiatives I introduced that year are still being used now.

After a year off, I was missing the National Board experience of working with other members from all across the country, so decided I wanted to stand for a position on the 2014 board. This time, I was keen to challenge myself and do a role outside of my comfort zone.   I therefore chose to stand as Personal Development Director, because training is one of the areas where I've seen most development in myself throughout my time in JCI and I'm passionate about being able to support our members with their own personal development.


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23rd Sep, 2014

How I Came To Be On National Board - Fiona Silvester
by Michaela Schaller on September 23, 2014 12:40


National Board Blog 2014 » fiona-silvester.jpg


After thoroughly enjoying my year as local Membership Director I was starting to think what role I'd like to take on for this year.   I'd really enjoyed being in contact with so many new faces and helping them achieve their goals through JCI so I decided National Board was for me so I could do this on a wider scale.

It seemed like a really easy decision to start with and then I realised there was official protocol.  Thankfully after speaking to Kate Senter about my intentions she emailed through all the docs.   I spent a few days filling it in and then noted I had to have it proposed and seconded.  I remembered that James Mitchell from JCI Cambridge had seen my organisational skills and he was more than happy to second for me.

The rest as they say is history!

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