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27th Jun, 2015

Young Leaders UK - Opportunity with the American Embassy!
by Sarah Beckwith on June 27, 2015 19:18


The US Embassy has contacted JCI UK looking for members aged between 18 and 30 to take part in an amazing opportunity.

Ambassador Barzun is launching a new initiative called Young Leaders UK, searching to connect with Britain's rising leaders and engage in exciting opportunities such as virtual mentorship sessions with high-level U.S. officials and selected American visitors, discussions with Embassy leaders on current issues and U.S. Embassy events and receptions.

The process to apply is simple:

Step 1. Write a short text response (not an essay, something the equivalent of a 140 character tweet) OR create a video response (again, nothing professional - videos filmed on a phone are fine. Nothing lengthy - one to two minutes is great) answering three questions:

1. What word or image illustrates what frustrates, concerns or confuses you about the United States?
2. What word or image illustrates what inspires you, what do you like, or what gives you hope about the United States?
3. What word or image comes to mind to describe the Special Relationship between the U.S. and UK?

Step 2. Send the text or video to along with name and age. Please let them know you heard about the initiative through JCI UK.

Please let JCI UK Deputy National President Sarah Beckwith know if you do get involved, we'd love to hear about your experiences!

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24th Jun, 2015

Meet the Member - Mark Smith (JCI Sheffield)
by Fiona Silvester on June 24, 2015 11:17


Membership » MTM-Web-Banner2.jpg

Introducing Mark Smith, President of JCI Sheffield.


Which chamber are you a member of?
JCI Sheffield 

How long have you been a JCI member?
Since 2012 when I learned about an open evening on twitter that JCI was running. 

What made you join?
I loved the positivity and enthusiasm of all the people I met at that very first open evening. I could see how JCI could help me to 'meet, learn and grow' both personally and professionally.  I liked that membership sounded like good value for money and that you could go to as many meetings, workshops and sessions as you wanted to and that it was flexible. I also liked the idea of the travel opportunities JCI can offer as that was something I wanted to do more of but was always a bit apprehensive about doing! 

Membership » MTM-Mark.jpg

What is the most interesting JCI event you've been to and why?
This is a hard question to answer! I have really liked taking advantage of the international side by going to European conference and world congress as well as visiting our JCI Sheffield's twin chamber, JCI. Mayo in Ireland.  I like meeting people from different backgrounds and with different experiences and the international program really let's you do this. I find listening to talks by successful business people very interesting and getting to ask them questions about what drives them and makes them motivated.

Had JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
A few that stick out in my mind include taking part in the community 'BEach BETTER' community project whilst at European Convention in Malta in 2014.  We had the chance to go snorkelling and to pick up litter from the bottom of the sea bed in the local bay.  It was surprising how much rubbish we found. 

What is your job/career/profession/business?
I work for children's charity SAFE@LAST as Director of Operations and Strategy.  The charity supports children and young people at risk through running away in South Yorkshire.  My role is to oversee aspects such as fundraising, volunteering, budgets and accounts, partnership working, marketing and communications so there is a lot of synergy with my involvement with JCI.

Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
I have made some really close friends through JCI, been able to visit countries and places I never thought I would go to and also had my view changed so it seems normal to me now to pop to another country for a long weekend of training! So JCI has widened my perspective!  Its given me the opportunity to raise the profile of the charity I work for and has helped to attract new supports, donors and volunteers from the JCI network.

In terms of professionally, JCI has had a positive impact on making new connections and networks for work which has also resulted in donations and sponsorship of the charity as well as recruiting volunteers.

What's your proudest achievement?
It has to be winning the most outstanding JCI member in the world award in 2014. I was completely lost for words and felt very proud to accept the award.

Which do you prefer cats or dogs?
I use to be a dog person when I was younger but now I love cats. I have four and they really are little people in fur coats!

Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done
Last year I trekked across the Sahara desert for SAFE@LAST with my good friend and fellow JCI member Dan Senter.  I can honestly say if it wasn't for JCI, I would never have had the courage, drive or determination to sign up to such a difficult challenge.  It was an amazing yet tough experience and the sense of achievement is out of this world!

Membership » 1 sahara m&d.jpg

Thanks Mark!




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23rd Jun, 2015

Jo Mackfall's review of LEAP: 10 months on
by James Lambert on June 23, 2015 07:05


If someone had asked me twelve months ago if I thought I was a leader, or if I thought I had the skills, knowledge and belief to be a leader, I’d have answered both questions with a straight forward ‘no’. I would say I was a confident person, and my parents (and some friends!) may have described me as bossy at times, but I personally wouldn’t have given myself the credit to describing myself as a leader. That all changed when I spent 48 hours at the 2014 LEAP academy last August.


I remember discussing LEAP with Ben Hawley, and Tracy Anderson, JCI Barnsley’s then President and Deputy President after a training session or council meeting about this time last year. I forget which, but it was in the bar of the Holiday Inn, so could have been either as we usually end up in there! We had been talking about how much I would get out of it, how I would benefit from it, and perhaps how it would open my eyes to my options to progressing within JCI. They were keen for me to go, and so (with the little internet signal we get in that bar), I booked on that same evening.


It was a 48 hour experience I will never forget. It was exhausting, both from lack of sleep and from the sheer amount of training that got packed into the weekend, but it was inspiring and generally a blooming good weekend from start to finish. I not only came away full of skills and knowledge from the training sessions, but also a whole new bunch of JCI contacts, who each were an inspiration through the weekend.


 Jo Graduating

Fast track twelve months and here I am, JCI Barnsley 2015 Deputy President, and a trainee conveyancer. I attribute both the progression in JCI and the progression in my professional life to attending LEAP. I think it was always destined that, at some point in my JCI career, I would become a President of JCI Barnsley – it’s in my blood – but I don’t think anyone thought it would happen so soon. Without attending LEAP and having the camaraderie of the other delegates and the trainers alike, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go for it.

Jo & Tracy


JCI offer huge numbers of opportunities for members in all areas of opportunity and at all levels of the organisation. LEAP is one of those opportunities. There are still places available to attend LEAP this year and I cannot recommend it highly enough!


LEAP » LEAP group.jpg


Book via Eventbrite -



Jo Mackfall

JCI Barnsley 2015 Deputy President

JCI UK 2014 LEAP Graduate

JCI UK 2015 LEAP COC member



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21st Jun, 2015

What does it mean to be on National Board?
by Sarah Beckwith on June 21, 2015 19:00


If you're thinking about a National Board role in 2016, you may want to know what will be expected of you.  I'm pleased to be able to publish the attached guidance, which sets out the main roles and responsibilities of the various National Board positions, plus a rough indication of the time commitment involved.  Huge thanks to the current National Board team for their input into compiling this document.

I want to stress that these roles are not rigid.  In the past some have been combined (e.g. Admin and Membership), while some have been split (Marketing/Communications had two directors in 2012).  Ultimately many of the roles overlap and National Board will work together to deliver the outputs needed.  We will use each other's strengths and support development needs to get results and ensure everyone has a great learning experience.

Blog » NB Feel Proud.jpg

Here are some comments from current and past National Board members on why they took on particular roles and what they've got out of their experience. 

"Being on National Board is a new experience for me after being a member of JCI for 7 years.  It is interesting to see JCI from a different angle and I have learnt a lot from taking on a national board role".
Wasim Alfaisal, International Director 2015

"I took on this role because for over 12 years I have professionally been based in roles that involved building partnerships with a variety of different organisation. I have worked within the charitable sector for seven years and now within the vocational education arena which will allow me to use my professional skills to the benefit of JCI UK. I am a blue sky thinker. The answer is 'yes', the question is 'how can we do it?'. Networking and forming professional relationships is one of my biggest strengths and I genuinely enjoy doing it". 
Michael Steel, Strategic Partnerships Director 2015

"The best thing about being on National Board is hanging out with a group of great, positive, supportive people.  It's infectious".
Paul Widger, Finance Director 2014 & 2015

"I took on this role because I was excited about the impact JCI has on our members and wanted to contribute to the organisation and tell as many people as possible about it".
Michaela Schaller, Marketing Director 2014/15

"It's the contact with local board members and any potential/new members to JCI that I enjoy the most about my role.  Seeing people join the organisation and then progress into running projects or taking on local roles.  It's always rewarding supporting new and smaller chambers and seeing them grow and develop.  I love the amount of contact I get from members on a daily basis that reminds me why I love doing this role".
Fiona Silvester, Membership Director 2014 & 2015

"There is something truly special about a member coming up to you after a training event that you've organised or delivered and saying they learned something which is going to make a difference for them.  Knowing you've helped someone develop their skills and confidence is incredibly gratifying".
Sarah Beckwith, Personal Development Director 2014




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17th Jun, 2015

Meet the Member - Tracy Anderson (JCI Barnsley)
by Fiona Silvester on June 17, 2015 07:58


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Introducing 2015 JCI Barnsley President, Tracy Anderson

Which chamber are you a member of?

How long have you been a JCI member?
I've been a member since 2007, I joined my home town chamber JCI Boston, I moved over to JCI Barnsley in 2013

What made you join?
My colleague Allison Cowell was a member and she invited me along to a business tour of Walkers crisp factory in Lincoln, I met such nice people. I thought a social life would do me good so I joined.

Membership » MTM-Tracy Barnsley2.jpg

What is the most interesting JCI event you've been to and why?
This is a difficult one as I've been to many events, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally! Last year's International events (European Conference in Malta and World Congress in Leipzig) are the probably the highlights. The reason being, you get to experience all areas of JCI at them, training, business, community, and some decent parties! I love a business visit and I went on two tours in Malta, The playmobil and Coca Cola tour. I also managed to go around Porsche in Leipzig.

Had JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
Yes, many,  to name just a few, I have attempted the Yorkshire 3 peaks, walked up Snowdon, volunteered at a colour run where we got to throw paint at the runners, lived on a £1 a day for a week, had a go at laser tag, archery and I have held a meerkat at an annual dinner.

What is your job/career/profession/business?
I'm a chartered accountant


Membership » MTM-Tracy Barnsley1.jpg

Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
Yes, JCI has given me confidence.

What's your proudest achievement?
In JCI I would say my proudest achievement was just recently, At the JCI Barnsley Annual dinner I gave my incoming speech to over 60 people. When I joined public speaking was a definite no no, I got extremely nervous doing the loyal toast at my first annual dinner. JCI have given me the confidence and opportunities to calm and practice public speaking in a safe environment.

Who's your favourite band/artist?

Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done
None, I'm an accountant......

Thanks Tracy!!

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14th Jun, 2015

National Board 2016 - Your Questions Answered
by Sarah Beckwith on June 14, 2015 09:23


Blog » National Board 2014.jpg

Being on the JCI UK National Board is a fantastic experience.  You get the chance to work with dedicated members from different chambersfrom around the country, learn new skills including contributing to the strategic planning for the organisation, help support the great work being undertaken by our local chambers and of course have lots of fun!

As Deputy National President it is my honour to recruit the National Board team for 2016.  I am so excited about the buzz being generated about 2016 already and can't wait to see who steps forward to take on a leading role in JCI UK next year.

Here is our Frequently Asked Questions about standing for a National Board position:

Who is eligible to stand?  Any fully-paid up member of JCI UK with a passion for getting involved at the national level of the organisation. 

What experience do I need?  At least one year of local council experience is helpful as you will be liaising with and mentoring the local council directors.  It is considered best practice for candidates for Deputy National President to have served for one year on National Board, but this is not a constitutional requirement.

Don't I need to have been a local president?  No!  See above.

Blog » National Board 2015.JPG

What is the time commitment?  You are expected to attend around 6 national board meetings a year, plus 4 national events, all of which take place over weekends.  Additional activities such as international and local events are encouraged, but at your own choice.

Each role has a different type of remit, which will affect the frequency and intensity of activity.  Some roles are focussed on event or project co-ordination, some require mentoring of other members and others involve ongoing administrative tasks.  Look out for our next blog which will contain more details of the roles and responsibilities of the various national board positions.

Isn't it costly?  There is a purse for national board members in the national budget, which helps toward the cost of travel and hotels for the meetings which take place around the country (although is unlikely to stretch to all costs for the whole year).  This is currently £500 for most directors, slightly more for the international director and less for the Regional Group Chairs as they are also supported by their region.  The Deputy and National President get a larger purse as they must represent JCI UK at several international events throughout the year.

What do I need to do to stand?  Fill in this form (also available from Admin Director Fiona Silvester) and get chambers to propose and second you.  One of these can be your own chamber.  It is best practice to get the approval of your home chamber via the local president before standing.

What is the deadline?  The completed form must be submitted to Admin Director Fiona Silvester by Friday 14 August.

Blog » national board.jpgWhat happens if there is more than one candidate for a role?  Elections will be held at the AGM on 12 September in Sheffield.  For contested elections, the Local Presidents (following consultation with members/their council team) and National Board members will vote by secret ballot.  Candidates may run an election campaign in accordance with these guidelines.

What if I can't commit to a national board role but still want to be involved?  Worry not, there are plenty of ways to get involved nationally in JCI UK in 2016 including project management roles, such as TOYP Director and LEAP Director, as well as roles supporting the National Board team.  We also welcome your own ideas for national projects and initiatives.

How can I find out more?  Speak to me or any of the current team about their specific roles.


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10th Jun, 2015

Meet the Member - Phil Cockayne (JCI Bradford)
by Fiona Silvester on June 10, 2015 10:32


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Introducing Phil Cockayne, President of JCI Bradford.

Which chamber are you a member of?
JCI Bradford

How long have you been a JCI member?
Since November 2013

What made you join?
To do something constructive outside of work and at the same time - refine my leadership skills and meet new people

What is the most interesting JCI event you've been to and why?
Probably National Convention in Canary Wharf - it was great to meet up with friends from other chambers, meet new people, witness the new and rising JCI Canary Wharf, experience Canary Wharf as a district, take part in both Extempore and Debating competitions (and, despite it being my first attempt, being named best Debater in the UK).

Membership » MTM-Phil Bradford.jpg

Had JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
Aged 23, it feels pretty good to be leading a small organisations. It brings you a few interesting opportunities including sitting on the Council of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, being invited to numerous high profile events and speaking on Bradford Community Broadcast Radio. It also got me in a room with some delegates from the US Embassy for a high-profile meeting on the 30th Floor of the Barclays building in Canary Wharf. Not bad for a lad from rural Yorkshire

What is your job/career/profession/business?
After leaving university with a degree in history - I joined a Bradford based software firm as their first dedicated sales resource.

Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
Perhaps in less direct ways. As well as improving my communications, public speaking and presenting - JCI has also provided some sales opportunities from places I wouldn't have been if it wasn't for JCI

What's your proudest achievement?
250% membership growth as Deputy President in 2014. Bradford was a struggling chamber between the years of 2010 and 2013 - with sometimes as low as 3 members. The chamber was close to going dormant. After starting with 7 members in 2013, at the end of 2014 we were on 17. Going into 2015 - we're already on 23. 2015 is going to a good year for us - with the launch of our Leadership Programme, a great partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, a structured set of training sessions and social sessions, some great partnerships and a vibrant council team, 2015 should be the year we see JCI Bradford put back on the map

What is your favourite colour of socks to wear?
Am I allowed to say multi-coloured stripy socks (which I'm fond of wearing to black tie events so keep your eyes peeled)

Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done
I'll give you one of each:

Crazy - didn't want to pay to run a marathon so plotted 26.2 miles on a map and ran it - went from Shepley in Yorkshire to Castleton in the Hope Valley. Over the moors, piercing rain, freezing cold temperatures. Did it in 4 hours 56 minutes

Dangerous - jumping over a 3 and a half metre gap at Brimham Rocks (with a good 4 metre drop below) - see picture attached

Inspiring - Convinced a new member to start a community project which he led all by himself. After applying for a £500 community grant - he was awarded £2,500. The project was a huge success which got great local coverage

Unusual - One of my favourite past-times is obstacle course races. True happiness only exists when you've run 6 miles and your chest deep in a festering, muddy pond - you can hold me to that

Membership » Phil Bradford 1.jpg

Thanks Phil!



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3rd Jun, 2015

Meet the Member - Katie Ogley (JCI Doncaster)
by Fiona Silvester on June 3, 2015 17:42


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Today we get a special treat.  We get to meet and active member who is also a Senator.  Introducing Katie Ogley from JCI Doncaster...

Which chamber are you a member of?
JCI Doncaster.

How long have you been a JCI member?
Approximately 9 years.

What made you join?
I've always liked doing things for people and going that extra mile.  When I was preparing some surprises for my netball team's weekend away, my mum's friend said that her daughter was involved with 'something' and they were always looking for people who liked doing things, which turned out to be JCI.  When I went to my first event, they were such a lovely group of people, I signed up there and then.  I knew it was something I had to be involved in.

What is the most interesting JCI event you've been to and why?
I would struggle to say anything other than the International Conferences!  I've been to every European Conference since 2010 and 3 World Conferences.  They've all been amazing experiences that I could go on about for hours and it would be impossible to list the reasons why, as they have all been so different.  The best way for me to help explain why, would just be to say 'GO'!  I was a member of JCI for a number of years before I got engaged with the International side of things and I regret not doing it straight away.

Had JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
So many!  The opportunity to attend The Art of Engagement a few years ago was amazing.  Engagement is very linked to my career so people are often quite impressed that I've been.  Also, without a doubt, the public speaking opportunities.  I used to be so afraid of public speaking, but thanks to training from JCI and the opportunity to practise in a safe environment, I've now come to love it.  The fact that I enjoy it is certainly something which many people think is unusual!  I'm honoured to have represented JCI UK on the International Debating Team on more than one occasion.

What is your job/career/profession/business?
I work in HR within the glass manufacturing industry.

Membership » Katie Ogley Doncaster.JPG

Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
Yes, yes, yes!!!  This has become over-so prevalent in 2015.  Until this year I worked within the health and fitness/leisure industry.  I took a massive step outside of my comfort zone and, after nearly 11 years, I decided to leave the company I loved and change the industry I work in.  The reason I chose manufacturing/production was down to JCI.   It isn't something I'd ever thought of before, but I've have had the opportunity to do business tours of so many fabulous companies, such as Gripple and Coca-Cola, and I fell in love with it.

As well as helping me choose my new industry, my JCI experience also helped me get the job which I have moved to.  When I started with my new company, I was given the opportunity to sit down with the Plant Director and he explained the reasons behind why they wanted to hire me.  He said that I ticked all of the HR boxes, but there will always be other people who do that too.  What made me stand out was that I ticked lots of other little boxes, which no one else did.  These were things such as my experiences with the Art of Engagement and the community work I do.  The company has a huge passion for people and has strong philanthropic roots.  They are striving towards setting best practise standards in these fields, and I'm excited that they want me to be a part of that.

Who is a leader you admire?
I admire a number of different leaders, but Richard Branson always jumps to my mind first.  He is hugely successful, but comes across as so personable.  He has made mistakes which he doesn't hide and he isn't afraid to take chances.

What's your proudest achievement?
It would have to be being chosen as one of the 2012 Olympic Torchbearers.  My nomination covered a number of things, but it was primarily for the amount of charity and community work I have undertaken with JCI.  I do community work because I love it, not because I expect to get anything in return, but being given that honour, and getting to be part of history, was the most amazing acknowledgement I could ever ask for!

I also couldn't not mention one of the very few moments which has made me speechless, being awarded with my JCI Senatorship.  JCI has given me so much and that's why I wanted to be on the National Board in 2014, to give something back.  JCI is such an amazing organisation, even when I thought I'd had every experience possible, it's still giving and giving.

If we came to your home and looked inside your refrigerator, what would we see?
A lot of fresh veg, cheese, milk and champagne

What is a good weekend to you?
I like having a mix of how I spend my weekends.  I love taking the time to do JCI activities, which at a weekend are usually my favourites; community or social!  I also like spending time with my family and always try to take a day every now and again for a bit of 'me time'.

Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done.
I sometimes joke that my body is dedicated to charity!  I have a large tattoo on my ribs which I had done to mark Autism Awareness Month a couple of years ago, and I also cut off 9 inches of my hair, which was donated to a children's wig charity.  I'm currently punishing my body as I'm training for a 10k run with other JCI members for the Run With Us challenge in support of the MS Trust.

Thanks Katie

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3rd Jun, 2015

Time for a Yorkshire update!
by CharliePearson on June 3, 2015 08:35


Well April was that busy it took me till June to find time to write a blog!!

Over the last two months chambers in Yorkshire have been busy busy bees. We have had very thing from first aid training to volunteering. We also can't forget the ashes challenge between JCI Barnsley and JCI Rotherham. Well done to JCI Barnsley for maintain the ashes, who will challenge next? Members have also been off to Scotland for their National Convention, it was great to see a fantastic show of members and senators from Yorkshire.  We also had the first Regional competition of the year hosted by JCI Sheffield in May. The extempore competition was entered by 11 competitors and had a great audience. It is fantastic to see such a brilliant turn out to Regional events this year and we defiantly have more to come! Congratulations to Shane from JCI Rotherham who is JCI Yorkshire's 2015 extempore champion!

My Yorkshire 'feel proud' Chambers and members of April and May.


Chamber of the month - JCI Barnsley for their fantastic turn out at Scottish national convention and their plans for membership drive.

Members of the Month - Lindsey and Lizzy from JCI Doncaster - these two new members made it their mission in April to get out to other chambers, heading off to Rotherham and Sheffield.

May JCI Yorkshire » MS Trust Quiz.jpg

The Chamber and member of the month are both for the same event in May. Congratulations to JCI Leeds and Debbie Worthington for the MS Trust quiz. Working with ASDA the event raised over £900 for the charity! (Photo right)

Events coming up in the next month:

7th - JCI Barnsley charity bake off

10th - JCI Harrogate public speaking training

11th - JCI Rotherham Magna beer festival

14th - JCI Barnsley charity walk  

16th - JCI Sheffield Event Management training

17th - JCI Leeds cool lessons in leadership training

19th - JCI Sheffield theatre social

20th - JCI Barnsley social

22nd - JCI Leeds book club

23rd - JCI Barnsley develop to succeed training

24th - JCI Sheffield networking Wednesday

26th - JCI Sheffield ghost walk

27th - JCI Sheffield JCI networking course

27th - JCI Barnsley midnight stroll

30th - JCI Yorkshire Whalfdale quiz

7th July - JCI Rotherham innovation training

8th July - JCI Harrogate time management training


What else have we got going on?

Well this week many members are off in Turkey for JCI's European Conference. I know they are going to have an amazing time out there. From Yorkshire we have Charlotte Scothern entering the public speaking competition as well as Ben Hawley and Mark Smith entering the debating competition. We also can't forget all the awards that chambers from around the Region have entered. I am sure you will all be with in in wishing Charlotte and the whole debating team good luck!!! We are with you in spirit if not person! Keep your figures crossed for the awards too. To the members of the Region on the ground Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire!

We currently have a regional marketing team made up of chambers from around the region. I know they are going to be up to loads of great things over the next few months, keep an eye out!!

Yorkshire regional conference! I know there has been a little bit of excitement over this as it is something we haven't done for quite a few years. Tickets are selling quickly so make sure you book yours now!! There will be loads of activities during the day as well as the Regional Dinner and Debating Competition. Check it out here or click on the banner below. There is a ticket option for everyone so we look forward to seeing you there!

JCI Yorkshire » YC Booking Banner.jpg

Last but not least our next regional event is the Whalfdale quiz in July hosted by JCI Barnsley on the 30th June. I am hearing great things about this event so keep your eye out for booking links shortly. 


Keep Feeling Proud Yorkshire!


Charlie Pearson

2015 Yorkshire Regional Group Chairman




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28th May, 2015

Meet the Member - Fiona Silvester - National Board
by Fiona Silvester on May 28, 2015 08:02


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I thought it was only fair that I fill in a Meet the Member questionnaire for our Meet the National Board week.  So here's me, Fiona, JCI UK Membership and Admin Director...

Which chamber are you a member of?
JCI Rotherham

How long have you been a JCI member?
About 4 years - time flies when you're having fun!

What made you join?
I was lucky enough to get a sponsored place to join JCI Sheffield from senators Bob and Sarah Brown.  After enjoying the first 12 months I've continued to pay for my membership.

Membership » MTM Fiona 1.jpg

What is the most interesting JCI event you've been to and why?
Wow it's tough to narrow this down to just one.  I love all the regional and national competitions.  Seeing everyone come together to support each other and members pushing themselves out of their comfort zone to compete.  It always makes for an entertaining evening.  I recently got to attend National Convention in the USA.  It was great to see all the differences between the two national organisations.  Everyone was extremely welcoming and the opening event was sponsored by Jack Daniels which undoubtedly made for a great evening.  The highlight of the weekend had to be the TOYP (ten outstanding young people) awards ceremony.  The honourees were all extremely deserving and there wasn't a dry eye in the room hearing their stories.

Had JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
The mean opportunity JCI has presented to me is meeting other JCI members and learning from them, whether that's in the UK or part of the global organisation.  You never know who you're going to meet and what you can learn.

What is your job/career/profession/business?
I work for a 'Made in Sheffield' manufacturing company that produces machine knives and blades and safety knives.  I look after our American and Canadian customers which includes spending a quarter of the year in the states. 

Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
I'm unrecognisable as the person who joined JCI 4 years ago.  The extra confidence and ability to process and formulate ideas and procedures has definitely helped to advance my career.

Who is a leader you admire?
There are many leaders I admire for their differing and unconventional approach to leadership but Matt Cutts from Google stands out for me. A typical pasty white, scrawny, 4 eyes computer nerd has taken himself out of his comfort zone. He set himself tasks he never thought possible, both personally and professionally, and related what he has learnt to truly lead by example and get the best out of people working with him. He is unrecognisable now after 10 years at Google and an inspiration to his team.

Membership » MTM Fiona 2.jpg

Fiona at National Convention Nov 2014

What's your proudest achievement?
Although it may not sound a lot writing it down here and others may not class it as an achievement but in 2014 I overcame my fear of flying.  I hadn't flown for nearly 15 years, hadn't been abroad, hadn't had any proper sunshine or been on a 'proper' holiday.  After a series of hypnotherapy sessions and a course on flying with confidence I've now done 19 flights since September 2014 and had a holiday in the sun with my husband.

Where's your favourite place to eat?
Anywhere that has a clean kitchen and I don't have to wash up!  The come dine with us series that JCI Rotherham are running is a particular highlight as each member chooses their favourite restaurant to invite the others too.  I've discovered a lot of new tasty places to eat in Rotherham that I never knew existed before.

What is your perfect weekend?
After only having 3 weeks at home in the last 3 months my perfect weekend would be at home, spending time with friends and generally not doing a lot.  My TV box has hours of TV to catch up on and there's a bag of Maltesers with my name on them.

Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done
I climbed to 4,500 metres above sea level on a 17 day trek across India.  I'm not in a rush to go back and do it again but it was a great achievement with lots of lovely memories.


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