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23rd Aug, 2014

Candidate for Deputy National President 2015
by Sarah Beckwith on August 23, 2014 16:26


It is with much excitement that I write this as candidate for Deputy National President of JCI UK for 2015.

Essentially I'm standing for the role of Deputy National President for one simple reason:  I love JCI.  I love what it has done for me in terms of my own development. I love the great work our chambers do in their local communities.  I love that I've made amazing friends all over the country and world.  And I love being a part of other members' journeys as part of the organisation.

Personal Development » Sarah.jpg

Here's a blog I wrote when I was President of JCI London, which highlights some of the crazy/inspiring/surreal things I've done as a JCI member and still perfectly sums up my immense gratitude for being a part of this remarkable organisation.  The three years since have been no different: organising leadership and public speaking academies, attending a world congress in South America, training internationally, becoming a senator. 

I sometimes have to pinch myself to check these extraordinary experiences are real and I'm really the one having them.  Standing for Deputy National President is no different.  I know it is going to be a challenge...that is what I am excited about. 

JCI UK is in a great place now with more and more new chambers opening; fantastic members engaging locally, nationally and internationally; and even some international awards under our belt.  We're on the right path, but as one fellow member said to me recently; "JCI should be bigger, better and more recognised".  I agree and I want to help ensure this happens.

You can read my Intention to Stand here.  I'd love to hear from you if you have any comments or questions.  



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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 Katie Ogley 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 Katie Ogley 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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5th May, 2014

JCI UK TOYP Awards 2014 - Ilona's Journey
by Sarah Beckwith on May 5, 2014 22:15


Hi, I'm Ilona and alongside my role as local President of JCI Sheffield, I am the project manager for the JCI UK TOYP awards. Over the last 18 months I have been running a small team of JCI members to launch these awards at a national level.

What is TOYP?

It is a flagship global JCI project to recognise the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the world. Honourees are aged between 18 and 40 and have excelled in their chosen field - which could be anything from technical innovation, to cultural achievement to voluntary leadership.  I first became aware of the project in 2012 when JCI London and JCI Reading both had local TOYP winners in the global shortlist.

JCI Sheffield' twin Chamber, JCI Mayo in Ireland, also had a global winner that year - the lovely Aisling Neary. I was lucky enough to be seated with her at the JCI Ireland National Convention and was blown away by her humility and achievements. Chatting to the then JCI UK National President, Solveig, after dinner went a little something like this...

Solveig:                Have you considered running TOYP in the UK?

Me:                        No.

Solveig:                Do you know there is a free TOYP Academy in Istanbul?

Me:                        Sign me up!

TOYP Academy

And so just a few weeks later I found myself flying off to Istanbul, where I was hosted by a lovely JCI member and taken through three pretty intense days of training. The Academy was developed to share JCI Turkey's experiences of running a national awards programme for the last 17 years. It culminates in the national TOYP ceremony, attended by hundreds of local businesspeople and community organisations. After that, I was hooked!

TOYP » TOYP certificates.jpg

Ilona (front left) with fellow graduates of the TOYP Academy

A plan formed....

I came back determined to launch the first JCI UK TOYP awards. It is such an incredible project for any local Chamber to be involved with, and I wanted to make it as easy for them to take part as possible. I also wanted to raise the profile of the awards outside of JCI.

Looking back, our initial plans were ambitious to say the least! With a team of half a dozen we wanted sponsors, an awards ceremony, media coverage, 2/3 high profile judges per category, and of course LOADS of amazing candidates. In other words, to replicate JCI Istanbul's 17 years of hard work in a few months with a fraction of their resources!

We got cracking on this and the team worked incredibly hard and within a few months we had a website, an online application and judging portal, social media accounts, awards venues, judges, a venue for the ceremony and a couple of sponsors.  Which was all pretty fabulous. Apart from the fact we were not getting candidates applying.

The crisis meeting

We found ourselves at a cross roads in November, and over a few drinks in London, decided we needed to streamline and refocus the project. The most important part was that we could get sufficient applications of a high enough quality. This meant everyone focusing on marketing the awards, pulling the parts of the project, such as the ceremony, and scaling back others, such as the number of judges.

It is a credit to the team that despite these changes and set backs every single person just redoubled their efforts and brought a new level of enthusiasm to the table. We started to see the first few nominations coming in and it started to feel worthwhile. Eventually, some 16 months after returning to Istanbul, I had an extensive list of excellent candidates. Roughly half were nominated directly by JCI chambers and the rest as a result of our marketing and word of mouth.

The winners!

On Thursday 24 April, we announced the 2014 Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the UK and they are AMAZING! We have a Nobel prize winning physicist, third sector leaders, entrepreneurs, a politician and a singer/songwriter - please check our Facebook page for full details.

TOYP » A Swallow.jpg TOYP » Katy Winterschladen.jpg TOYP » Shaun Dias.jpg

Alex Swallow, Katy Winterschladen and Shaun Dias - just three of our exceptional TOYP winners 2014

I felt so emotional that day - the culmination of so much hard work and the realisation of just what a difference the project has made to these incredible young people. Best of all, many of them have already been in touch to see how they can get more involved with JCI and support our members. Watch this space!

What next?

The 2014 TOYP team is working closely with our winners to improve their applications ready to submit to the global competition. Fingers crossed we'll see at least one or two honoured at the JCI World Congress in November.  

Even more excitingly, the 2015 TOYP team is forming under the guidance of James Lambert. James has also attended the TOYP Academy and has been instrumental in the success of the 2014 project. If you, or anyone you know, wants to join the team, please get in touch. And don't forget to start looking for our next candidates as applications will open in September!  

Banners » TOYP.jpg



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26th Apr, 2014

JCI London completes the offical course hat trick
by Sarah Beckwith on April 26, 2014 16:19


Personal Development » Admin 1.jpg

On Tuesday 15 April JCI London hosted JCI Admin, the third official JCI course they have held this year.  JCI Canary Wharf member Danielle Nanton describes her experience:

Having previously undertaken JCI Impact and Acheive and wishing to broaden my skills and knowledge in relation to JCI, how it is structured, and what further opportunities exist by becoming more involved in JCI, I excitedly signed up for the JCI Admin Course. Although a title which includes the word "Admin" may appear dull, this course was far from boring. Through the amazing presentation by senator Sarah Beckwith we all learned so much in an engaging and interesting format.

Personal Development » Admin 2.jpgRather than just sitting in a classroom and passively listening to a teacher we were actively engaged with our peers forming groups and then actively discussing what we had learned and role playing as well as interacting with props created for the class. I have a B.Ed (teaching degree from Canada) and I have to say that the way the lesson was set out was perfect with a mix of notes, active participation, group work, and even tangible work where we moved post-its around to symbolise JCI members and JCI group structures. There was further engagement through the use of the powerpoint presentation which I will not forget soon.

I must admit that I am motivated by written proof of having attended and passed a course so the part that I enjoyed the most was undertaking and passing the test and then including this on my linkedin profile. Of course I also enjoyed learning and interacting with my fellow JCI peers and I liked how we were able to develop some interesting ideas that we can take forward in our chambers and even projects outside of JCI. Through this course I increased upon my skills, added something to my linkedin profile and had a lot of fun, a great combination!



Personal Development » Admin 3.jpg


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18th Apr, 2014

Bursaries available for LEAP 2014
by Sarah Beckwith on April 18, 2014 06:59


JCI UK has four £75 bursaries available for JCI UK members wishing to attend LEAP 2014, taking place 29 to 31 August in Birmingham.  We want to make our flagship leadership academy accessible to as many members as possible and hope that the bursaries will support members who might not otherwise be able to attend.

Gareth Carson from JCI Sheffield describes his experience of receiving a bursary to attend LEAP in 2013;

"I was very excited to find out that I could attend LEAP through a bursary. I was really nervous to fill in my application form but I just made sure that my passion for JCI came across and made sure that I made clear what my JCI journey would look like. I talked about how I wanted to progress to become a council team director but didn't have the confidence in getting to that stage and wanted to go on LEAP to help build that confidence. I also talked about how I would share my experience of LEAP with other members of the Sheffield chamber and of the wider region hence why I am writing this blog. I received an e mail within a few days of completing my bursary application form from Dan Senter, our local president at the time, advising me that I have been successful and received a full bursary to attend LEAP. I was over the moon to find this out as I had just started my own business and wouldn't have been able to afford the cost on my own. 

LEAP » Gareth presenting with confidence.jpgLEAP » Gareth receiving Greatest LEAP award.jpg

Gareth presenting with confidence and receiving his well-deserved "Greatest LEAP" award

The experience I had at leap was second to none, I was very proud to pick up the award for greatest LEAP on the last day and won my ticket to inspiration day as well. I gained confidence and learnt how to conduct my self around other people with different personality styles as well as how to deal with people with the same personality style as myself. I would encourage everyone to apply and to attend LEAP as without it I wouldn't currently be Membership and engagement director for Sheffield as well as planning to run for Deputy President next year. I am hoping to also be part of the training team for LEAP this year. So don't delay apply today."


You can apply for a bursary here.  The deadline for applications is 15 May.  More details about LEAP can be found on our dedicated page:  Registration is now open at


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