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18th Sep, 2014

How I Came To Be On National Board - Dan Senter
by Drew Charman on September 18, 2014 17:38


How I Came To Be On National Board - Dan Senter

I'd had a number of roles on the local board in JCI Sheffield and had got a taster of what the National Board do after attending a couple of meetings when I was running a national project. I really wanted to get more experience in working at a National level in JCI and was keen to see what learnings from a local level I could bring to this.

Being the type of person who loves a good spreadsheet or strucutred and timed agenda (boring I know) I thought I could really add value to the Admin Director role. I approached the current Admin Director at the time to find out a bit more and then put my intention to stand paper together; outling what I could bring to the role if I were to be successful in getting it. The process was then to find chambers who would be willing to nominate and second my intention to stand which I got by speaking to memebrs in other chambers and the rest is history as I successlly was voted in for the role...

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17th Sep, 2014

Shade Aid Success!
by Katie Ogley on September 17, 2014 19:21


Last weekend, as part of the JCI UK AGM, we were excited to gather together all of the donations which our Local Chambers have collected for Shade Aid.  Our fantastic members have so far collected a total of 579 pairs of glasses and sunglasses!  We know this total is increasing still as a number of chambers are awaiting donations which have been pledged.

Community » shade aid official.jpg

We had 10 of our Local Chambers from up and down the country make donations.  Congratiluations to JCI Rotherham who collected the most pairs in any Local Chamber, with a total of 108 pairs!

It was fantastic to have Katherine Sparkes of Flamingo Creative attend the meeting to collect the glasses.  She was able to give us information on how the donations will be beneficial to Shade Aid and Vision Aid Overseas.  Not only did she give us an update on this, she also gave us an update on how the bras we collected last year have been to put to good use.  It's great to have such a great relationship with the charities we support and be able to get ongoing feedback.


Thank you to all of the members who donated to and promoted the appeal.


Katie Ogley

JCI UK Community Director

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12th Sep, 2014

How I came to be on National Board - Emma Eastwood
by Paul Thwaite on September 12, 2014 19:11


National Board Blog 2014 » emma-eastwood.jpg

I first joined JCI in 2006 for social reasons as I wanted to meet more people outside of my circle of friends and colleagues. At that point I didn't even know that there was a national board team let alone have any hopes or ambitions on joining the team. I was asked to join the local team within a short time of becoming a member and after a couple of years I was elected as deputy local president, serving as local president of JCI Leeds in 2009.

During my membership of JCI I had developed a passion for training and had trained at local, regional and even international events. One of my fellow trainers Dan Lally was serving as the 2011 JCI UK Training Director and I asked him if I could work as his deputy so that I could gain some experience, with a view to standing for the role myself in 2012. The worked really well as I started to understand what kind of work I was committing too and get an idea of what national board did and how they functioned. I stood for the role and loved every minute of it. It was great to work in an area that I was so passionate about and a fantastic team experience. I also got to meet so many members from across the country. I then went on to stand as Deputy National President and National President before my current role as IPP and head of the new chamber task force.

Serving on national board is a unique and fulfilling experience and one that is open to all members. Although I think that my experience as local president was a great foundation it isn't essential and not all national board members take this route. It is a big commitment and a lot of responsibility so I'd encourage people to think it through carefully. I can guarantee though that if you do work on the national team you will love it and you will make friends for life. Why not put it on your JCI career plan. What have you got to lose?


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11th Sep, 2014

Taking the LEAP from delegate to organising team member
by Sarah Beckwith on September 11, 2014 08:14


The JCI UK Leadership Excellence in Action Programme (LEAP) was formed in 2012 to be an academy for training the future leaders of JCI. I was lucky enough to be a delegate on the second academy in 2013 and it pushed me forward in so many ways (some I only realised months down the line!) I knew that I didn't want to just have the one experience of LEAP and so plucked up the courage to offer my services to the organising committee to assist with the 2014 programme and they were happy to have me on the team.

LEAP » LEAP James Presenting.JPG

I learnt lots about myself as a delegate but equally as much as part of the organising team. Being part of a team of enthusiastic volunteers who were all equally passionate about making the weekend a success was inspiring. I learnt lots of new skills such as liaising with hotel staff, designing a delegate handbook, plus assisting with the delivery of a couple of the training modules. The highlight for the weekend was watching the journeys that the delegates made and knowing that they have skills for the future. With potential leaders like these, I truly believe JCI UK has a great future!

LEAP » LEAP James Training.JPG

For me, the best thing about JCI is the way you can push yourself to be a better individual and know that you have the full support of your fellow members. On that note, I'm taking over as the JCI UK Ten Outstanding Young People (TOYP) Award Manager for 2014/15 and know that I will be able to utilise some of the skills learnt with LEAP to help me run this to the best of my abilities. 

I challenge you to push yourself out of your comfort zone to improve your skills...whether by attending LEAP in 2015; getting involved with a local project or a national project (the TOYP team is looking for enthusiastic volunteers - please email me on Whatever path or paths you choose you know, by taking action you will Play Your Part in both the future of JCI, inspire future members and, most importantly, your own personal development. Are you willing to take that LEAP?

James Lambert, JCI Southampton

LEAP » LEAP Graduates 2014.jpg

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14th Aug, 2014

Tales from a Forest in Sweden
by Sarah Beckwith on August 14, 2014 12:51


"You're doing what with your annual leave?!
Running about in the middle of a forest in Sweden for 10+ hours a day practising and facilitating team building activities.

For my non-JCI colleagues and friends it may sound a little weird, but here's why I wouldn't swap my unusual holidays for the world.

I have been a member of JCI for eight years and I love that every year I have found new opportunities to completely challenge and develop myself. This year it was the great honour of being selected as one of the trainers at European Academy (EA) in Sweden, a four-day leadership academy for incoming local presidents from across Europe. Having been on project teams and boards in my local chamber and then nationally, being a part of an international team felt like the perfect next step. It was an amazing experience and a huge highlight of my year as JCI UK Personal Development Director.

Personal Development » In the forest.jpg

I participated in EA in 2010. It is an intense experience for its delegates. Being a trainer was no different. We worked hard, we went through the same team building experiences that we ourselves were helping the delegates to experience and I for one was way outside of my comfort zone. Of course the highlight was the people I met. Each and every team member brought something different and I learned something from each of them. Our days together were full of laughter and we created memories that I'll treasure.

It was incredible to be part of the life-changing experience that many delegates have at EA. This is why I love training. To know that something I helped facilitate has taught members something valuable, which they can put into practice and make their local chambers better.

I came back exhausted and covered in insect bites, but utterly exhilarated, which is why, while opportunities like this exist, I won't be choosing a relaxing holiday on the beach anytime soon.

Personal Development » EA Team.jpg


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25th Jun, 2014

JCI Southampton - European Winning Chamber!
by Drew Charman on June 25, 2014 11:51


** Posted on behalf of Michael Steel - 2014 Immediate Past President, JCI Southampton **


European Conference 2014 - Malta. When you say it out aloud it sounds amazing...and for JCI Southampton and JCI UK it really was!


JCI Southampton EC 2014 #1


JCI Southampton attended the conference with four members, which made up a strong JCI UK delegation of close to seventy members. The opening ceremony had the usual JCI pomp and the setting was really spectacular. For those who have not been to a JCI international event - it really is something special. Over 45 countries represented and flags galore. Seeing members representing their countries and chambers really is something.

The training on offer was... actually, we just need to jump ahead before we all combust!

For the first time in our 56 year history - JCI Southampton won TWO European Awards!!!
...and were shortlisted in five from seven categories.

Naturally, we all went crazy with excitement and the moment was absolutely euphoric.

The European awards we won were:

- Best Local Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programme - Costa Academy & Apprenticeship Training Scheme

- Most Outstanding Local President - Michael Steel


 JCI Southampton EC 2014 #2   JCI Southampton EC 2014 #3


The CSR award for the Costa Academy & Apprenticeship Training Scheme really was reward for a two and a half year long project aimed at Southampton's disadvantaged young people getting into employment. A project costing £30,000 and part funded by a National Lottery grant for which JCI Southampton wrote, submitted and managed while the project was being built. We've made real impact supporting new apprentices in Costa Coffee - six of which came to the European Conference 2013 in Monaco.

Most Outstanding Local President in Europe = wow. Just so overwhelmed. I remember at my first European Conference in 2011, Tarragona Spain, when Claire Evans from JCI Leeds won the award for the UK (the last UK president to do so). I thought back then how hard it was to be local President let alone winning in Europe - and then my name was called out. Those who know me well will know generally how well composed I am...all out of the window! I just remember everyone screaming and me jumping to my feet - madness and Katie Ogley from JCI Doncaster screaming at me to get to the stage to get the award...great moments.

Being local President in 2013 for JCI Southampton was an amazing honour and we had an amazing year. I must say I had a great council team who all put in many many hours of hard work and I thank them greatly.  A special mention goes to Drew Charman, previous President to JCI Southampton and now Deputy JCI UK President. Drew has been a constant support to me through the years with the Costa Academy and my time as President - very much appreciated.


JCI Southampton EC 2014 #4   JCI Southampton EC 2014 #5


Malta did an amazing job and delivered a conference many of us will never forget. The gala dinner setting was breath-taking and the parties...oh the parties...were utterly fabulous. There was a moment at the Finnish party when a girl fell in a swimming pool and had to be rescued by a James was Eurotastic!

As well as JCI Southampton winning European awards, JCI Sheffield's Mark Able Smith won 'Most Outstanding Member' in Europe - amazing! JCI UK had members in the final of the debating and public speaking competitions, which was a fantastic achievement - it really was a Union Jack party!

We now move onto the World Congress which will be held by JCI Leipzig in Germany. Promises to be another classic!


JCI Southampton EC 2014 #6   JCI Southampton EC 2014 #7


Remember anyone can attend the conferences, so if you're thinking it could be fun... IT WILL BE!


JCI Southampton EC 2014 #8  JCI Southampton EC 2014 #9


We'll be speaking about the many benefits of attending at future JCI Southampton events.

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22nd Jun, 2014

You can take the members out of Yorkshire...
by Drew Charman on June 22, 2014 19:16


You can take the members out of Yorkshire, but you can’t take the Yorkshire spirit out of the members!

I am still buzzing after the exceptional European Conference in Malta last week.  The whole of the UK delegation did an excellent job of making themselves visible and representing our National Organisation, however, called me biased, but I think the members from Yorkshire took it one step further!  One of my personal goals as Yorkshire RGC this year was to bring back the passion I remember being displayed by Yorkshire members when I was Local President in 2010.  Between them, Yorkshire members engaged in all parts of the conference; Trainings, Community events, business tours, excursions, and the odd social event or two!

So here are just a few things they were getting up to………

Before the conference even got started, Immediate Past National President and Yorkshire member, Emma Eastwood, was out in Malta training on the European Growth and Development Academy.JCI Yorkshire » debating.jpg


Yorkshire members, Ben and Ilona, made up two thirds of the JCI UK debating team who made it all the way to the final of the European competition!  They all did a fantastic job and we’re really proud of the whole team.


Yorkshire members, Debbie and Joe, represented the UK in the Row 4 Nets Canoeing Community event.


JCI Yorkshire » beachbetter.jpgYorkshire members Mark, Gareth and Ryan, along with three National Board Members, National President Kate, Dan and myself, represented JCI UK in the Beach Better Community event.  We had the opportunity to clean up the ocean and help leave Malta in a better condition than when we arrived.  I’ve never known a Community project to be so much fun and to have such an instant sense of gratification.


There is no way I could not mention Yorkshire member, Mark Smith, who, in case you weren’t aware, WON THE AWARD FOR BEST MEMBER IN EUROPE!!!!!  Mark also joined in the JCI Quiz as part of the Morning Show on the first day of the conference.


It was Yorkshire member, Debbie Worthington, who, as JCI UK International Director, coordinated everything for the whole delegation.  I’m sure everyone agrees that she did a great job.


To top it all off, I’m not sure that I’ll ever forget the sound of the Region’s members chanting ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’ whilst stood on the stage at the Gala dinner.  It was a fantastic end to a great conference and it was a clear demonstration that the pride and passion of the members in Yorkshire is alive and well.

They’re not a bad looking bunch are they?  They scrub up pretty well!

JCI Yorkshire » yorkshire.png

I have come back from Malta so happy and energised by the passion and energy demonstrated by these members.  I got to spend time with old friends and make fantastic and lasting connections with new friends.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to work so closely with them and I’m even more excited about the rest of the year.


Katie Ogley

JCI Yorkshire Regional Group Chairman

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20th May, 2014

First Public Speaking Academy a Huge Success
by Sarah Beckwith on May 20, 2014 07:35


A JCI academy always promises a unique learning environment, plenty of practical participation and the chance to make new friends.  The inagural JCI UK Public Speaking Academy held over the weekend of 10-11 May at BPP in Birmingham delivered all that and more.  Here are some testimonials from our talented and enthusiastic delegates:

Personal Development » PSA Kay graduating.jpgKay Purser, JCI Birmingham:

"Public speaking is something I have always feared and never thought I could do and enjoy, but this weekend has opened my eyes, made me realise it's actually  not that scary and this is only the start of a journey".

Jan Bryde, JCI Denmark:Personal Development » PSA Jan Speech (640x383).jpg

"JCI UK Public Speaking Academy is a terrific opportunity for the inexperienced or nervous speaker as well as the natural alike and I feel quite lucky to be able to participate as a non-UK resident.

The team had put together a fantastic blend of theory and practice, drawing on an array of highly experienced speakers and trainers. From theory of rhetoric, past exercises on stage presence to the basics of breathing for speaking, there were insights and exercises certain to lift every single participant to new levels - taking a huge leap compared to other courses out there (including JCI Presenter) and at a fraction of the price.

A lot of praise should go to the trainers for facilitating participation and focusing on the fact that everyone could learn by sharing and helping each other, which was essential in preparing our personal speech over the course of the weekend. The relatively little group was an outstanding opportunity for inexperienced speakers to get great tips from high level speakers who in turn received honest feedback on whether the practiced steps work as intended.

The Public Speaking Academy certainly inspired me to change a fair few things about my personal style of speaking and so I strongly recommend joining to everyone who wants to be a better speaker at any level.

Great learning - Great networking - Great value!"

Personal Development » PSA Solvieg training (640x383).jpg  Personal Development » PSA Voice Coaching (640x383).jpg   Personal Development » PSA Coaching each other (640x383).jpg

The academy included a variety of activities, including training, voice exercises and working together on speeches

Personal Development » PSA Paul speech (383x640).jpgPaul Widger, JCI Manchester:

"I thought I was fairly good at public speaking but this academy has opened a new chapter for me. It is at once friendly and supportive but also professional, practical and packed with content for nervous beginners to competent speakers. I can't wait to carry on putting it into action."

You can also read Ashleigh Gray from JCI Sheffield's blog here: 

Personal Development » PSA Graduates (640x383).jpg

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15th May, 2014

LEAP - How it all began...
by Sarah Beckwith on May 15, 2014 08:54


We talk to Dan Senter, who established the JCI UK LEAP academy in 2012.

Portraits » 2014 » Dan Senter.pngHow did the idea for LEAP first come about?
When I was the JCI Sheffield Personal Development Director in 2011 I rolled out the ‘Sheffield Academy'; a structured programme of training events held throughout the year aligned to personal and professional development. Feedback from the programme and speaking to other chambers highlighted an opportunity for the UK to run a similar National programme. Then late in 2011 whilst speaking to a former JCI UK National President we got talking about personal development and he spoke about a programme he had run to help members with their personal development; the programme was aimed at giving people a ‘leap' into development. JCI runs a number of short duration intensive development programmes and I thought this would be a great way to deliver something to our JCI UK members, but condensed into a long weekend. I really liked the idea of the name ‘leap' and therefore went about finding a way of incorporating it resulting in Leadership Excellence in Action Programme! LEAP was born!!

How did you go about turning that idea into reality?LEAP » LEAP COC team.jpg
JCI is a member run organisation and actively promotes its members to help take the organisation forward by offering them opportunities to make a positive impact. I had heard that each year JCI UK helps support national projects and thought that LEAP would make a great National Project. I put together a project brief and asked for some time on the first National Board agenda in 2012 to pitch the project... The board loved the idea and helped me to put a project team together. Over the next 9 months I project managed the project, with a mix of face to face and skype meetings. We all worked to secure funding, create the materials, market the event, arrange the venue, secure international trainers and finally sign up some delegates!!

What was it like to see the first academy turn out to be a huge success?
It was an amazing feeling seeing the first academy in action. The best part for me was the feedback I got from the delegates who attended and the project team who helped make it happen. Delivering on the project was proof to me of the opportunities available in JCI and the skills you can learn not just taking part in training but also helping to deliver and develop the projects to support it.

LEAP » LEAP Team 2013.jpgAnd how do you feel now LEAP is running for the third year?
Three years on I feel a real sense of pride that the programme has gone from strength to strength each year. I'm humbled by the support and enthusiasm of those involved in the project team and the energy around the programme. My vision at the start of the project was "to equip people with the skills needed to create development opportunities". Now seeing past graduates of LEAP move in to national board roles, local leadership roles, working on the LEAP project team and achieving great things in their personal and professional lives I really feel like we have created something that delivers on the vision...

Why should JCI members attend LEAP?
LEAP is an action packed weekend of learning, fun, team working and reflection. You'll meet new people, learn new things and more importantly be given the opportunity to put all of this into practice. We now have over 40 graduates of LEAP in JCI all going on to achieve great things and I believe this really does give you a ‘leap' into achieving all of this!

Sign up to LEAP 2014 now: 

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7th May, 2014

Shade Aid Appeal
by Drew Charman on May 7, 2014 21:56


In 2014 JCI UK are proud to be supporting Flamingo Creative and contributing to the Shade Aid appeal.

Community » shade aid logo small.jpg

As we come closer to summer and many of us prepare to head to sunny Malta for European Conference, a pair of sunglasses (or 2!) will be considered mandatory, and not something we give a second thought to being able to buy.

Unfortunately, for some people who need them most, this isn't the case.  By the time the average child in Africa reaches 18 years of age, they will have reached 80% of their lifetime exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun, which leads to various eye disorders, including loss of vision.  Buying sunglasses to prevent this might sound obvious, but sunglasses can cost as much as a year’s salary for people in Africa.Community » shade aid photo.jpg We will be collecting sunglasses to try and prevent this, which will be distributed via Vision Aid Overseas.  Did you know that 68% of people in the UK no longer wear last year's shades?  If you're one of them, dig them out and lets re-gift them to someone who really needs them.  It could literally change their lives and save their vision. SPF rated sunglasses are preferred and we will also be collecting prescription glasses to put to good use as well!  Any sub-standard glasses will be recycled to raise funds for preventable blindness projects.

JCI UK has set an ambitious target of 800 pairs of glasses!  We need your help to achieve this!  Dig through you drawers and get your friends, family and colleagues involved.  The closing date for collections is 31 July 2014.  As with the amazingly successful bra campaign in 2013, there will be a certificate for the Chamber who collects the most glasses and also for the individual who collects the most.

Large collections can be arranged (I do love a good road trip!), or there are drop off points across the UK listed on the Shade Aid website  If you are going to make donations to the drop off points, please ensure you notify us so we can include your donation in our total.

If there are any questions, or there is anything you need to help you with the appeal, please let me know.
Community » katie shade aid.png
Katie Ogley
JCI UK Community Director 2014

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