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29th Jul, 2016

Training Academy
by James Lambert on July 29, 2016 10:48


Following the launch of the National Training Team in the autumn of 2015 the next step towards developing future JCI UK  Trainers was the creation of the first National Training Academy which took place on  4th and 5th June in Birmingham and I was lucky enough to take part.

The academy was designed and delivered by two of JCI’s experienced trainers, Emma Eastwood and Sarah Beckwith as well as Martin Gustafsson from JCI Sweden. During the academy participants learnt about the learning cycle and how different people learn in different ways.

During the weekend we learnt a lot of theory about how to deliver great training sessions and how different people learn in different ways. As part of the academy we were put into groups and had the challenge of delivering a 30 minute training session on any topic we liked. Therefore the first challenge was to find a topic on which the 3 of us (Epi from London, Sophie from Southampton and me) all felt comfortable delivering a session on. Lots of work was involved but when we came to deliver the training on the Sunday morning we did a really good.

Following completion of the academy I, along with Mark Smith from Sheffield and Michaela Schaller from Manchester, have met the criteria necessary to join the National Training Team (NTT). A few of our fellow delegates are extremely close to meeting all of the criteria and will undoubtedly be joining the NTT soon!

NTT » Training Academy 2016.jpg

A massive thank you to Emma, Sarah and Martin for all their hard work in creating this academy and for the passion and enthusiasm with which they delivered it. Also thanks to the JCI UK Foundation for their financial assistance and to BPP Birmingham for the use of their amazing training facilities. 

I'm really looking forward to putting the skills I learnt at Training Academy into practice at our leadership academy, LEAP, which takes place on 19th to 21st August. At the time of writing there are still a couple of places and I would highly recommend the academy - without it I would not have even contemplated delivering training. For more details check out the events page of the website.

If you have any questions about the National Training Team, the Training Academy or any other aspect of Personal Development please contact me by email at

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21st Jul, 2016

JCI Admin in Greenwich
by James Lambert on July 21, 2016 08:46


Post by Oris Ikomi from JCI Greenwich about his recent experience attending JCI Admin.


Having a been a previous member of JCI London, it was great to attend my first proper JCI training now as a JCI Greenwich member. Attending the Admin Training gave me a better understanding of the organisation and its structure, helping me to ease some of my frustrations from the past. I went away appreciating the complexity of the organisation and with a better understanding and clarity of how and where I can best be of help to the organisation.

The training was filled with laughter, banter about the Ugandan’s taking over JCI Greenwich (it’s an internal running joke amongst JCI Greenwich members), and a healthy-hot debate about the JCI creed (see below), which felt like being in the House of Commons. Despite the debate leading to a minor distraction from the training itself it was somewhat nourishing and good to hear different perspectives and cultural narratives about the creed.

JCI Creed:

That faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life; That the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations; That economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise; That Government should be of laws rather than of men; That earth's great treasure lies in human personality; And that service to humanity is the best work of life! 

So, what was my takeaways from the training?


I realised that there is a great need for all the JCI chapters in the UK to work more closely together in having a united vision on how we can make an impact politically and socially in the UK - like singing from the same hymn sheet. We should most certainly be taking advantage of the globally recognised, re-invoking the spirit of the founder, Henry Giessenbier.

I strongly sense a vacuum in the UK political landscape for an organisation like JCI to be champion of social justice and leadership development for young people. We should most certainly take advantage of the brand. 

To do so we will have to think differently from the current leaders and thinkers, and have the courage to push boundaries.

I’d like to finish off by saying a special thank you to Mary Mambwa for her hard work in organising the training, and also to Sarah Beckwith, 2016 JCI National President for delivering the training. And last but not least to my fellow JCI Greenwich members aka mini JCI Uganda (only joking haha). I love them really!

Together we can make a difference and put JCI on the UK map.

If you would like JCI Admin to be run in your chamber please contact your local Training Director and the National Personal Development Director, James Lambert 

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16th Jul, 2016

Member of the Month - Natalie Hutchins (JCI Southampton)
by Sarah Beckwith on July 16, 2016 10:14


Our member of the month for June is Natalie Hutchins, who is the Events and Community Director for JCI Southampton.

Blog » meet the members » Natalie Hutchins.PNG

Natalie has embraced her role since November 2015 and has not stopped working on original events that not only support membership growth and retention, but also improve the relationship between the members of the chamber and the community.  Natalie has set and planned events for the whole year, giving the chamber the luxury to plan well in advance and ensure the quality of the events.  Her dedication and hard work have had a real impact on the level of attendance with events being sold out, including over 50 people at a recent Curry and Quiz night.

JCI Southampton President Célestine Onomo says "Always professional and driven, Natalie is a valued member of our chamber, for the members and for me as President. She's always by my side and should be rewarded for her dedication within the team for the last few months and her valuable work to get us closer to achieving our objectives with our charity of the year".


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12th Jul, 2016

What does a National President do at a European Conference?
by Sarah Beckwith on July 12, 2016 21:26


You may have read previous blogs about international JCI events from participants, full of stories of inspiring keynote speakers, motivational training sessions and much networking with JCI members from all over the world at fun-filled parties. Whilst all of this is the main thrust of these events, the experience for national presidents and their deputies in quite different, although no less inspiring and tiring!  So what is it that a national president does at a European Conference?

I arrived into Tampere gone midnight after delayed flights on 14 June.  A few hours sleep later and I was up and dressed in business attire for my first meeting at 7.45am, a pre-meet with some fellow national presidents and deputies before our formal National Presidents Meeting began at 9am. This involved discussing current issues in the worldwide organisation and producing a report which would be sent to the international board of directors for consideration at their mid-year meeting.  I then caught up with another fellow national president over lunch to share experiences and we both then chatted to the chair of the conference, Executive Vice President, Jef Hendrickx to get some advice on the forthcoming meetings.  A quick walk took me back to the JCI UK base hotel where we had a briefing for the delegation of members and senators on highlights of the conference.  It was then a change into my finest  national colours themed black tie to head to the opening ceremony.  Waiting in line for quite a while (United Kingdom is the last national organisation in Europe alphabetically) to then head out on stage to be introduced to a crowd of over 1,000 people was definitely one of the most surreal experiences of my life.  Hearing the cheer and seeing the mass of union jackage from the JCI UK delegation in front of me was a very exhilarating moment.

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Flying the UK flag on stage at opening ceremony

Thursday began with Deputy National President, Michael and I attending the energising morning show, where (as always) a large and enthusiastic UK contingent showed up to hear about some of the projects and initiatives being undertaken by JCI around the world.  We then headed off for a meeting with our NOM2NOM (national twinning) buddies before attending a lunch celebrating next year's European Conference in Switzerland.  It was then time to take our place in the conference assembly.  This is where we hear reports from the international board of directors and headquarters, find out about which countries are hosting upcoming events and vote on motions regarding the future direction of the organisation.  I then dashed off to the first round of the public speaking competition to support our brilliant entrant Ilona Alcock, who breezed through to the finals.  The long day was not over yet, as I headed over to a reception hosted by the City of Tampere in their town hall, followed by the Latvian/Canadian party.

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City of Tampere Reception

Friday was another day jam-packed full of meetings: with World President Paschal Dike and other representatives from the international board, with our assigned Vice President Kaspar Ilves and our European Development Councillor Annalisa Schembri.  Each meeting was a chance to express the views of JCI UK, hear updates on initiatives from other parts of the organisation and work together on taking JCI forwards.  The afternoon was filled with another conference assembly, including the hard fought public speaking competition finals.  Afterwards another dash back to the hotel for a quick change before heading out to meet our friends from the Scotland, Ireland and Malta delegations for a bite to eat and catch up before the Swiss party.

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Conference Assembly

Conference assemblies were over, but that didn't mean an end to the meetings - Saturday morning saw me at the Twinning Ceremony where JCI Southampton twinned with Belgian chamber JCI Kortrijk, then on to another catch up over coffee and a brainstorming session between national presidents and the board of directors.  It was then finally time for a relaxing lunch with no responsibilities with the senators and even a quick rest, before getting ready for the gala dinner.  It was great to meet with the JCI UK delegation for pre-gala drinks to catch up on their activities during the conference and give out the traditional "not the awards".  

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After four days of meetings, Michael and I entering thegala for a night of celebrations

This was my eighth JCI European Conference and the gala was by far one of the best I've been to.  The venue looked spectacular, we were greeted with a welcome alley of JCI Tampere members in white tuxedos and the entertainment was brilliantly different.  Of course, to top it all off, I had the great pleasure of accompanying JCI UK's award winners from JCI Manchester (Best Local Growth and Development Programme), JCI London (Best Long Term Community Programme) and JCI Southampton (Most Outstanding New Member - Celestine Onomo) up on stage.  These awards were recognition of much hard work by our members, in many cases over several years and it was wonderful to celebrate with everyone there.  JCI UK has a reputation for perhaps not being one of the largest organisations in Europe, but always one of the loudest and most impactful and I couldn't be prouder to have led the UK delegation at EC 2016.



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11th Jul, 2016

Scared of Speaking in Public
by James Lambert on July 11, 2016 12:54


Before I joined JCI the idea of standing up speaking in front of a room full of people scared me. Over the last 4 years I have had the opportunity to practice speaking in public on a small scale - in front of small groups and to people I knew (or at least had met before).

In May 2015 I attended the second JCI UK Public Speaking Academy and the skills and confidence it has given me has been amazing. I have been involved in leading training courses; talking to all my work colleagues; taking part in a public speaking competition and speaking at my wedding (which got both laughs and tears from family and friends!)

All of these things were significant milestones for me in acquiring the skills and more importantly the self-belief that I was able to stand up in front of a room full of people and that they would listen to me. Last week I had two opportunities to push myself forward even further.

1) I was asked by JCI UK Immediate Past President Drew Charman to represent JCI at a Business South event for people new to Networking. Initially I was going to say no but I realised that it was a great opportunity for me to develop my skills. There were approximately 65 people at the event and I had to share my skills and experience with them all. I wanted to give the attendees as much advice as possible and got lots of great tips and tricks from my network of friends via Facebook which really helped. It was also great to call on a fellow JCI member as to how to structure the event to give the best experience to the delegates.

2) I was the quiz master for a charity quiz in aid of Autism Hampshire. The event was a great success raising lots of cash for charity and lots of people came up to me after the event to say how much they enjoyed it.

I am now thinking about what different events I can speak at as I now realise that the more practice I get the better I will be.

If you are scared of speaking in public my number one tip would be to find a nice audience and give it a go. The more practice you get the more confident you will feel! Also I would highly recommend the 2017 JCI UK Public Speaking Academy!

Just remember 4 years ago I would never have dreamt of doing any of these things - just surround yourself with supportive people and make the decision to Choose Extraordinary

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3rd Jul, 2016

National President Q2 Review
by Sarah Beckwith on July 3, 2016 21:16


Here's the latest update from National President, Sarah Beckwith, on what's been happening for JCI UK during Q2 and what you can look forward to coming up in the next few months. 


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29th Jun, 2016

Member of the Month - Anne Homer (JCI Sheffield)
by Sarah Beckwith on June 29, 2016 08:13


Our latest member of the month is Anne Homer from JCI Sheffield.  Blog » meet the members » Anne Homer.jpg

Anne joined as a new member earlier this year. She was quite shy when she joined JCI and wanted to try and improve her speaking skills. After initially attending JCI Sheffield's first public speaking club, Anne has gone from strength to strength.  She gave a ten minute presentation at JCI Barnsley's open mic night and in May took part in JCI Sheffield's EU debate and attended her first National Event: the JCI UK public speaking academy, where she pushed herself even further.

Anne also regularly attends events in other chambers to take every development opportunity available. She always gets involved in chamber activities and is part of a national team looking into development of our new JCI UK website.

JCI Sheffield president Gareth says: "Anne is also helping on some projects we have in Sheffield. I am incredibly honoured that Anne is a member of Sheffield and I know her journey with JCI will take her far.  Her participation in the EU debate is one of my proudest moments as she really gave it her all and the team she was on was the one that won for debating skills".

Congratulations Anne, who wins a £50 discount from the price of the JCI UK National Convention happening in November.

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28th Jun, 2016

JCI EC16 - Land of the Midnight Sun
by Ryan Plikington on June 28, 2016 13:11


You know you've been on a whirlwind of a break when you come back more tired than you left, you come back inspired than ever before, having had experiences you could never have the chance of doing on your typical holiday! Meeting people from 37 different countries! It doesn't matter if you know 1 person or 100 people before you go, because from the moment you land you see JCI members everywhere and it's a great chance to forge new friendships as well as catch up with members from previous international events you don't get chance to see that often :)

This European Conference in Tampere Finland gave me the chance to find out more about amazing projects from around the world that JCI chambers are creating positive change with everyday, I got the chance to be trained from international trainers and my favourite parts from watching my friends and fellow JCI UK members, challenge themselves to compete internationally in Public Speaking, Debating in English and Debating in French. They were all amazing, representing JCI UK stunningly, and although I still don't quite know what the French team said (my French isn't great) it was amazing to watch, the passion, energy and preparation all the competitors from all 3 competitions put in, shows just one of the areas JCI provides unique opportunities.

Now it wouldn't be a holiday without letting your hair down, my favourite parts of any conference is always opening ceremony and awards with closing ceremony! The atmosphere is hard to describe, I think the closest word is electric! JCI UK showed just how outstanding we are on a world stage taking home 3 awards and even more shortlists! The parties included being in a closed down shopping centre, the party held by Switzerland has cheese!!! and the shows at the closing ceremony were amazing!

There is no way one blog can put into words how amazing a European conference experience is, so as the sun sets on my conference experience (unlike Finland where it is hardly ever dark) I look forward to booking my next one, making new, one of a kind memories and I hope to see you there. 

Charlotte Scothern

JCI Rotherham


JCI EC16 Charlotte.jpg

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26th Jun, 2016

Third Public Speaking Academy another great success!
by Sarah Beckwith on June 26, 2016 20:45


The JCI UK Public Speaking Academy returned for its third year over the weekend of 14/15 May.  I started the academy with former National President, Solveig Malvik in 2014 and I could not be prouder of what has come about as a result.  We've had 30 brilliant graduates in the UK, exported the academy to Denmark and had three JCI European public speaking finalists and two winners.

Personal Development » PSA16 Cathleen.jpg

Voice coach Cathleen McCarron teaches delegates the importance of using the whole body to control breath and voice

At the academy this year I was joined by past JCI UK Public Speaking Champion and European finalist, Patrick McCrae, who did a brilliant job of providing invaluable feedback and encouragement to the delegates.  Over the course of the weekend, both Patrick and I were blown away by the courage, commitment and improvement the delegates showed and were both quite emotional when it came to watching the phenomenal final speeches.  Each and every participant had taken their public speaking skills not just to the next level, but several levels higher.  If the speeches we saw are anything to go by, it's going to be a fantastic competition at the National Convention in November.

   Personal Development » PSA16 Milena.jpg Personal Development » PSA16 Sophie.jpg

Participants putting new skills into practice

Some of the feedback from delegates was as follows:

"Public speaking was a very insightful, informative training for me.  I learnt a lot and will take away all the tips and pointers and apply them in my every day speeches".  Mary Mambwa, JCI Greenwich

"Loved the opportunity to develop my skills and meet new people in a great, safe environment".  Bev Mackfall, JCI Barnsley

"As someone who is new to public speaking, it has been an invaluable weekend where I have been able to face fears.  It has given me confidence to learn and develop skills further".  Anne Homer, JCI Sheffield.

Personal Development » PSA16 Graduates.jpg

Graduates and trainers of the 2016 JCI UK Public Speaking Academy


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16th Jun, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Marketing Director
by Ryan Plikington on June 16, 2016 18:58


Marketing. It’s a role that is vital for all businesses and organizations. The role, in a nutshell, means that you look after the social media accounts held by the chamber, design any promotional materials such as banners, posters, publications and leaflets and ensure that the website of the local chamber is kept up to date with the latest events and information. 

There are opportunities to meet, learn and grow through the role and this is my second time in the driving seat. I decided to take on the Communications Director role for JCI Sheffield last year (2015) and have taken on the Marketing Director role for both JCI Sheffield and JCI UK this year. 

So what’s a normal day for a marketing director? The day can vary depending on what is on the to-do list but there are staple tasks to keep the JCI brand running and in the public eye. These tasks as always with any council role within JCI integrate with everyday life such as jobs and hobbies. 

1. Social media Checking / Automation. This is one of the biggest tools you can use as a marketer because of it’s size, opportunities, and challenges. Depending on the social media accounts held  and how active they are the day usually starts with checking out the social media accounts and seeing retweets, likes, shares and comments on the platforms used. It’s always helpful to set a timer for this as you can easily become distracted with your personal notifications.  This later on in the day will turn into a session looking at the analytics for the biggest channels and seeing what posts worked and which didn’t and using those as a starting block to set out the next posts for the week or a couple of days. Hashtags can be daunting and can break a brand if used incorrectly so I always make sure to do a test of a hashtag before I use to make sure that the JCI name isn’t in the same search or feed as a hurtful new story or unrelated issue. 

2. Design. For me, design is something that will integrate its self into my everyday life. On an average day I will be either emailing back and forth regarding banner designs for events or promotional materials or editing existing designs. These will then be used on the website, Facebook and Eventbrite to ensure that the event is public on our biggest platforms. I always find it helpful if possible to set out a block of time to get around 3 events drafted first (if possible) so that you know these are ready and any amendments can be made without rushing! 

3. The third are various tasks done throughout the day.  Idea generation, article drafting for publications or blog posts and any other notes made to either enhance marketing strategies. It’s always handy to get things jotted down as if you’re like me then your mind will be running at 70mph on a normal day trying to focus on one task at a time but struggling. This means I can get the idea out of my head and onto my app ready to return to when I need. 

These are by no means the be all and end all of the marketing role. It’s our responsibility to ensure that the JCI brand is seen with the correct manner on social media and publications, the brand artwork is kept within the global brand guidelines, that I keep up to date with the latest social media trends and updates, send out emails to our mailing list and deal with any external companies such as printers. It’s always funny when I think of my days as a Marketing Director, as social media, like most of us, surrounds us so when I’m checking my own personal accounts I always do a check on the JCI accounts to see how they are doing. 

Overall the role is one that I have developed in and I am still continuing to develop and grow. If you’re interested in marketing then you can check out more about the role on our website along with other council team roles. 


Ryan Pilkington

2016 Marketing Director

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