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28th Sep, 2016

The subtle things I’ve learned as a JCI member
by Sarah Beckwith on September 28, 2016 00:22


In my time as a JCI member, I've learnt a lot.  Some of those things are more tangible than others.  Public speaking, debating, chairing meetings, facilitating workshops and writing blogs are amongst those skills which I can readily identify and have put into practice in my career in various ways.  But there are also many things which are not so obvious.

Self-belief - Confidence in myself is one of those things that I didn't notice happening at first and it did take a while to build up.  I never would have thought that I would ever become local president of JCI London, but through encouragement of great friends in my local chamber, I eventually had the confidence to step up to the role (it did take three attempts at people asking me!).  A few years on and a huge turning point for me was when I decided to stand for Deputy National President.  Yes I'd had encouragement from other members, but it is not a role that I could have taken on unless I believed I was the right person to do it.  Through JCI I have changed my mindset from automatically thinking "I can't" to "why not"?

Saying no - I love JCI and have got so much out of it, so always want to be involved and help out other members when I can.  I am also pretty organised and reliable, so other people know that if I agree to do something, then I will make it happen.  It is easy when you enjoy being involved in something for it to become all consuming.  Saying no is hard, but I've learnt to do so.  It is also a good skill for your career.  Being able to say no in a polite and reasoned way means that you won't be taken advantage of and can focus on those things which are most important for your own role.

 The power of asking - I really got involved in JCI because someone asked me to.  Firstly to join a project team and then to take on a position in a local council.  Looking back on my own experience, I see how hugely powerful it is to ask someone to get involved and help with something - because it boosts their confidence, because it shows vulnerability, and because it builds teams. 

Letting go - I am a self-confessed perfectionist.  JCI has taught me that most of the time good is good enough.   And that in order to achieve a lot, you cannot be perfect in everything.  This also relates to delegation.  When you involve others in tasks, then it is never going to be done in exactly the way you would do it, but this is an opportunity for both those taking on the task to learn and for you to learn how to do things in a different way.

Taking a different view - JCI gives you the opportunity to work with people of many different backgrounds, professions, cultures and personalities.  Through experiences on various teams, I have seen how different people experience the world differently.  This has enabled me to appreciate that there is rarely one view point on a subject or one way tackling a problem.  Colleagues have asked me how I manage to see solutions that aren't obvious to them and I think that it is because by surrounding yourself with people who think and approach challenges differently, you learn how to do so yourself.

It is simply not possible to "learn" these kind of skills from just participating in a training course.  That's why it's the hands-on experience of being part of a project team, running an event or taking a leadership role on a board that you get in JCI that is so incredibly valuable.  


   JCI gives you the opportunity to develop new and out of the ordinary skills by experiencing:

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different cultures...diferent perspectives...

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...and different teams



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27th Sep, 2016

Member of the Month - Sophie Delaporte (JCI Southampton)
by Sarah Beckwith on September 27, 2016 13:34


JCI UK's latest member of the month is Sophie Delaporte from JCI Southampton.

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Sohie is the international director for JCI Southampton this year and some of her achievements include:

  • The signing of a twinning agreement between JCI Southampton and JCI Kortrijk (Belgium) during the European Conference
  • Coordination of a twinning weekend in Belgium
  • Arranging meet ups with JCE Rouen (France) in Southampton during the summer
  • Initiating a project with the goal of creating a multi-twinning agreement

On top of the activities within her immediate role, she also creates posters for all chamber activities, has been part of the training team for JCI UK academy LEAP and helped the chamber prepare its national convention 2017 bid.  She really is a member throwing herself into every aspect of JCI.

Celestine Onomo, local president of JCI Southampton commented: "Within the organisation, Sophie has grown in confidence and skills by attending most JCI Southampton trainings and 3 out of 4 JCI UK Academies. She has recently been involved with LEAP 2016 as a trainer and received very good feeedback about her training skills.  As a team member, I can always rely on her, as a Local President I can sit back and relax, not only knowing she's got everything under control but she also delivers things to a great standard.  Looking back at everything she has accomplished, I'm extremely proud to see how she's grown as an individual in and outside our organisation".

As a thanks for her outstanding contribution to JCI, Sophie gets £50 off the JCI UK National Convention, taking place in Manchester on 25-27 November.

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31st Aug, 2016

I Took a Leap and I Liked It!
by James Lambert on August 31, 2016 09:07


I took a Leap and I liked it…

A year ago, I graduated from Leap and immediately emailed the 2016 COC Director to let him know that I wanted to get involved in the next year’s programme.  This was an important goal for me in 2016 and I am so pleased to look back and realise that I did it.

Moving from delegate to trainer, I have managed to learn more about myself and others. I was able to reinforce some of the outcomes from the year before and realise some new ones. Last year, I was a Local Director in Southampton  and this year I’m the Southampton Local President and over the past year the skills I gained during LEAP 2015 have come in  handy during a very busy and challenging year.

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Photo credit: Neal Stirk

From receiving advice to giving advice: I realised that I have a lot to offer to others and vice versa. One of the best moments was when I saw our ex Intern Ruthie, who took part in the academy, and realised how much she had gained and learnt by our side.

Taking me out  of my comfort zone (again), I delivered two training sessions with advanced trainers (thanks for your patience guys!), led the icebreakers as well as a team exercise. This really was an experience like no other. Why? Because it feels incredibly good to share your knowledge and experience with others and see how different delegates learn from each other.

It is such a positive and empowering experience to be listened to for what you know and to be congratulated for what you’ve achieved, even when you didn’t realise how well you have done!

And finally, to see how our great delegates have changed across the weekend.

Don't be scared to challenge yourself, it feels just good. I have enjoyed every minute of it and I can see my desire for training is also growing. This is definitely an outcome I didn’t see coming as it was not one of my main reasons for joining JCI.  But it is definitely one that will make me stay(until I’m too old for the J in JCI ).


Want to know more about LEAP? I guess I will see you next year because what happens on LEAP stays on leap.

Célestine Onomo, a great trainer to be.

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26th Aug, 2016

3 months to go...JCI UK National Convention 2016
by Sarah Beckwith on August 26, 2016 12:43


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Have you got your ticket yet for the highlight of the JCI UK calendar?  In three months time, the JCI UK National Convention will be kicking off at Innside, Manchester.  

Host chamber, JCI Manchester are doing a supurb job of organising the convention, with exciting keynote speakers David Weir and Quinton Fortune confirmed to speak.  There will also be the JCI UK public speaking, debating and extempore competitions, plenty of interactive training, the opportunity to network with members from across the UK and world, plus the gala dinner and awards ceremony.  More information about the programme can be found here.


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Paralympian David Weir and ex-Manchester United footballer Quinton Fortune will be special guest speakers at the convention

Accommodation is available at the convention venue, Innside, which can be booked via this form or in the Pendulum Hotel, which is around half a mile from Innside and can be booked via 0161 955 8000 quoting GA00559.  Alternatively try a hotel search site for deals on one of the many hotels in Manchester city centre.

Remember that cheap train tickets will be released around this time, so get booking for a bargain.

You can keep up to date with all the convention news via Facebook and Twitter.  What are you waiting for?  Book your ticket at Fatsoma today!

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24th Aug, 2016

Post by Philip Cockayne, Regional Group Chair of JCI Yorkshire 2016

I remember working on my CV when I was just coming into my third year at university. I'd gone from having no idea what I wanted to do to being interested in finance, technology, marketing, sales all the way down to just any graduate job.

I remember my first CV. It's funny, I've recently seem the LinkedIn phenomenon of #MyFirst7Jobs. I'm not on number 7 yet but my list looked something like this:

  • Paper-boy
  • Shop assistant 

Pretty bleak! However, like all third year students I was advised to 'sell myself' and link in my experiences, skills, any training, my out of work activities and my volunteering. They asked me to write a snappy one liner at the top of my CV articulating who what skills I had and where I'd got them from. If I remember correctly, the list looked something like:

  • Punctual - because I had a paper-round and was always on time (most of the time)
  • Team working - because I worked on a presentation in class jointly with other students
  • Retail management - because I worked in a shop
  • Leadership - because I was captain of the Basketball team
  • And so on...

Although I had some impressive stuff that would make my CV 'stand out' (being awarded an all expenses paid trip to Poland in order to study the concentration camps and three weeks as a volunteer agriculturalist in the Pyrennes) I didn't exactly have any real marketable experience.

I remember being told that everyone's in the same boat and that it's all about marginal gains; little things that make your CV stand out.

Four years since graduating, now is the time for reflection. I've definitely come a long way (being the Chairman of a volunteer organisations and the board member of a social enterprise) and I've noticed many students connecting with me and also seeing them at some of the events which we put on with JCI Bradford. I wanted to share an impartial view to you all.

If I can give you all one piece of advice it would be this; get out there and make something of yourself! Being captain of a sports team doesn't make you Churchill, running a promotional campaign for an event doesn't make you Don Draper and having a amateur finance blog doesn't make you Warren Buffet. Sure, it helps, but employers are looking for something a bit more ... impressive ... than that.

JCI (Junior Chamber International) has allowed me to explore myself as a leader by, wait for it, running an organisation in my spare time. Chambers are run by members so they're full of opportunities to demonstrate your capabilities (I often refer to it as a 'proving ground' when I'm explaining it). In my time with JCI I've done the following:

  • Successfully turned around a struggling organisation
  • Grown an organisation by 400%
  • Recruited, lead and developed a team
  • Acquired another organisation (believe it or not!)

On top of this I've had experience in both managing and growing a small organisation that needs a strategy, a board, strong finances, needs to market itself, run events, run projects in the community, sell the organisation to others etc. All skills any small businesses would want in a graduate - and something to fit every career ambition.

Along with that comes a network, the prestige (it's still a well recognised brand in the UK - especially when it was the British Junior Chambers of BJC) and finally, confidence! Confidence in yourself, your ideas and your assertions. 

If you can join a chamber and prove that your worth your dream job with some solid, qualitative experience - you'll 'wow' any interviewer and even find yourself in the top 1% (whenever I'm doing interviews - I always look for activities outside of work as being a key indicator of strong employee performance. Why? Anyone who's willing to give there free time voluntary to grow themselves is a keeper!)

So, here's the call to action. There are over 150,000 members of JCI around the world in 5,000 chambers in over 100 countries. There are 20 chambers in England at varying stages of growth. I was lucky that I found one that was struggling and made it my mission to turn it around. And I did! And I'm better for the experience.

It doesn't have to be JCI. It can be any type of organisation that provides you with an opportunity to show the world how great you really are. But if this does sound interesting to you, join up:

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21st Aug, 2016

10 years as a JCI member
by Sarah Beckwith on August 21, 2016 08:46


This month is my ten year anniversary as a JCI member.  I joined in August 2006 after hearing about the organisation from a uni friend.  I wanted to do some volunteering in London and meet some new people so came along to an open evening and the rest is history as they say. 

So why do I stay a member year after year?  It's because of the wide variety of opportunities I've experienced as a member.  Every year I've found exciting new challenges to push the boundaries of my comfort zone.  As long as I continually come away from events totally buzzing from the things I've learnt, people I've met and ways I've helped the organisation and its members, I'll continue to be an active member.

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Firm friendships made at COC Academy in Austria in 2010


Here are the highlights of my ten years as a member so far:

2006/07 - Joined, got involved in the Gift of Christmas appeal, was asked to join the council as community director.  First discovered just how far JCI can push you when I attended a series of public speaking workshops.

2007/08 - Attended my first national event (Awards weekend in Doncaster) and international event (European Conference in Turku, Finland) and started making friendships not just in my local organisation but around the country and the world.

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JCI London Debating Team at European Conference 2009 in Budapest

2008/09 - Started debating and took part in my first national competition (where we were thoroughly torn to pieces by very experienced reigning champions).  Entered the competition at European level where the JCI London team and the Yorkshire team made it to the finals and there was a tripartite debate with JCI Ireland.

2009/10 - I stepped up to become JCI London deputy president, something I never thought I'd do, but thanks to the encouragement of fellow members eventually did.  Attended my first international Academy, the COC Academy in Austria where I learned nothing is impossible when you put a group of JCI members together and sleep very little. 

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Union Jackage alert at first World Congress in Osaka, Japan in 2010

2010/11 - Was COC director for the first modern-format three day JCI UK National Convention. Attended my first World Congress in Osaka, Japan.  Became president of JCI London, which involved leading a team of 18 people, making a speech in front of nearly 100 people and representing the chamber nationally and internationally.

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Inauguration as JCI London President in the House of Lords in 2011

2011/12 - Won most outstanding Local President in JCI UK, which I'm hugely proud of and was a testament to how far outside of my comfort zone I stepped that year.  Became National Admin and Membership Director on National Board and was awarded with a senatorship (lifelong membership of the JCI for outstanding contribution to the organisation).

2012/13 - Continued to support the national organisation as Membership officer. Became part of the JCI UK international debating team for 2013, debating at European Conference in Monaco and World Congress in Rio.

2013/14 - Became Personal Development Director on National Board, a role very far outside of my comfort zone.  Established the JCI UK Public Speaking Academy with past National President Solveig Malvik.  Was an outdoor trainer at the European Academy in Sweden, part of an international team delivering team building to future local presidents from across Europe.

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Fun with the international outdoor training team at European Academy 2014

2014/15 - Led the JCI UK leadership academy LEAP.  Stood and was elected as Deputy National President.  Became a JCI "Global Networker" by graduating from JCI Academy in Japan with delegates from over 60 different countries from around the world.

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Graduating from JCI Academy in Japan with fellow Deputy National Presidents in 2015

2015/16 - The year I became National President.  An amazing opportunity, privilege and experience, which is adding to the many special memories I have accumulated over the years as a member.


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JCI takes you places - on top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio, Brazil with fellow members in 2013


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16th Aug, 2016

Member of the Month - Kathryn Brookes (JCI Barnsley)
by Sarah Beckwith on August 16, 2016 17:21


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Our JCI UK member of the month for July is Kathryn Brookes from JCI Barnsley.  Kathryn has been chosen for her outstanding work helping with the redesign of the "Pathways" documents, which are sent to all new members to help them get to know and get involved with JCI UK.  The Pathways booklets form part of the revamped new member packs which are now being distributed to new members.  You can see the Pathways booklets which Kathryn designed below.

JCI UK Membership Director, Ben Hawley, comments: "Kathryn has been key in the redevelopment of the Pathways documents. Her creative flare and design instincts means the new pathways document is a great tool to help engage our members".

As member of the month, Kathryn receives a £50 discount off the cost of a National Convention ticket as thanks for her outstanding contribution to the organisation.


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13th Aug, 2016

JCI London Peace Week Project Update
by Sarah Beckwith on August 13, 2016 18:37


This year, JCI London are once again supporting the UN International Day of Peace on Wednesday 21st September 2016 in partnership with the international JCI campaign Peace Is Possible.   The project team are hoping to bring together JCI chambers around the world in the name of peace.

For the first time, peace is one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.  In the week of 21st of September, JCI London are inviting JCI UK members to stand up for peace and be part of a worldwide action supported by our World President, Paschal Dike.

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How you can participate? (You can join either one or all of them!)

1) Take a group picture with the peace week & peace is possible logos and send to the team ( )

2) Record a short video (max 30sec) with a message of Peace (Name, Chamber, Country.. commit for Peace and if you have you can present your actions) and send in your video

3) Give free hugs or meet people and show them a respect sign to support the UN international Peace day on the 21th of September (shaking hands for example), capture it with pictures.

4) Organize a community event(s) related to peace in your chamber to support the UN international Peace day (with pictures)


Why get involved in Peace Day 2016?

  • Contribute to the advancement of the UN sustainable development goal number 16
  • Raise awareness about peace worldwide and in your community
  • Collaborate with JCI chambers from all over the world
  • Have fun while supporting a good cause

JCI Chambers around the world have been invited to participate in this project. Here is a message from the world president of JCI about making an action for peace: 


JCI London has been running a Peace project for the past four years and have had more than 80 countries participate in some of the above events.  You can find some of the highlights here:

JCI Peace Week Pictures 2015:

JCI Mauritius Peace Day 2014:

JCI Culture Bdrum/Istanbul (Turkey):

Peace Week Director, Marine Klein, said: "We are excited to have more countries joining us this year!  Our goal is to involve 100 chambers all around the world".  To contact the team, you can e-mail 


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Images from Peace Project celebrations from around the world

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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!

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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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