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23rd Apr, 2015

2015 TOYP Honoree Lewis Bowen
by James Lambert on April 23, 2015 12:36


Over the next few weeks we will be giving a few more details about each of our UK Ten Oustanding Young Persons of 2015. First up is Lewis Bowen from Sheffield.

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Ask yourself: What were you doing at 12-years-old?


One young Sheffield man remembers it well. It was at this ambitious age he saw an opportunity, grabbed it with both hands and started his entrepreneurial journey into business. Lewis Bowman undercut his competition, The School Canteen, by selling cans of pop to his peers for just 5p less a go, resulting in a net profit of £40 per week.


So, it may not come as a surprise that Lewis has been honoured with one of our JCI TOYP awards for 2015.


Lewis, 25, from the Steel City has gone from strength to strength, showcasing his entrepreneurial flare from an incredibly young age. By 15-years-old, Lewis has started his own merchandising business and by the time he was at University he’d employed six people for a new venture in telemarketing –something which would give his friends a helping hand for sustaining University life while studying.


With his drive, determination and social conscious, Lewis soon came to realise that not only could a business venture help support his friends, but a new and challenging project could empower change, a lot of change for that matter.


On finishing his finals, he put the wheels into motion for his most exhilarating and successful venture – Geco Industries – a business that makes alternative energy affordable and accessible and which is namely known for the cooking product, Fuel 4.


Within the first year, Lewis secured a deal with the fastest and largest growing outdoors retailer, Go Outdoors and has since been endorsed by the Scouting Association.


His success has not come without its challenges, but humble Lewis puts his success down to his good team and having a great support network around him. 


For more information about TOYP please visit

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22nd Apr, 2015

Meet the Member - Charlotte Scothern (JCI Rotherham)
by Fiona Silvester on April 22, 2015 13:25


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We are joined today by Charlotte Scothern, President of JCI Rotherham.

Which chamber are you a member of?
JCI Rotherham and currently their 2015 President

How long have you been a JCI member?
I joined in March 2014, so around a year :)

What made you join?
Working for myself I wanted an opportunity to meet new people and network a different way. I also wanted a new challenge, try something new.

Membership » Charlotte Rotherham 1.jpg

What is the most interesting JCI event you've been to and why?
There have been so many interesting events, but i think todays winner has to be JCI Barnsley's Dodgeball, I am not sporty and would have never imagined or ever thought of playing but it was a great evening.

Had JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
Definitely, JCI presents you with so many more oppotunities than you can ever think of. I think my favourite is the public speaking competitions alongside the training and the academies, something that most people have to do day to day but people are scared of is developed through the programme and I can say so far I've really enjoyed the public speaking, everyone was so supportive.

What is your job/career/profession/business?
I am self employed and have a gift shop called Patchwork Pig.

Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
The training has really impacted on me at work, whether that is the personality profiling, leadership or sales training, it has really helped me develop and improve. Especially the sales training lead by Gareth, Deputy for JCI Sheffield. It was a great session and the next day I couldn't wait to get back to work and use the lessons I'd learnt.

JCI has also made me more confident to go out and attend other networking events to promote my business.

Membership » Charlotte Rotherham 2.jpg

What's your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement was winning a business award in the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce dinner, to be up against such other wonderful businesses across two towns and come out as the overall winner, was one of my proudest moments and I still can't believe it.

Where's your favourite place to eat?
JCI Rotherham have a Come Dine with Us event where we invite members to dine with us at other locations, mine was the Turkish restaurant, which is still one of my favourites, but I am a fan of any food, eating out is one of my favourite things to do, and that's why the Come Dine with Us events have been great, introducing members to new places.

Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done
I'm not a person who does many dangerous things, so I'd probably say the most unusual thing I've done is climb Sydney Bridge, it was a beautiful outfit they make you wear, but the view is extraordinary.

Thanks Charlotte!

More Meet the Member next week

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20th Apr, 2015

Bursaries available for LEAP 2015
by James Lambert on April 20, 2015 12:23


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Hi, I'm James Lambert and I am honoured to be JCI UK's Leadership Excellence in Action Programme (LEAP) Director for 2015. I attended LEAP in 2013 and loved the event so much that, to stay involved, I joined the organising committee last year. Before I attended LEAP I wouldn't have dreamt of taking on the role of LEAP Director!

LEAP 2015 will take place in Birmingham from 21 to 23 August. More details about LEAP can be found on our dedicated The earlybird price is just £130 for members (including accommodation, meals and training).

JCI UK want to make our flagship leadership academy accessible to as many members as possible. To help members who might not otherwise be able to attend there are four £75 bursaries available for JCI UK members wishing to attend LEAP 2015.  

You can apply for a bursary here.  The deadline for applications is 14 May 2015.  More details about LEAP can be found on our dedicated  Registration is now open on Eventbrite 

If you are in any doubt about whether you should attend - just do it! We have had delegates from virtually every local chamber take part in the last 2 years so I am sure there are people you know locally that can tell you more. Alternatively drop us an email to and we will do our best to answer your questions.

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14th Apr, 2015

Meet the Member - Andy Hessey (JCI Canary Wharf)
by Fiona Silvester on April 14, 2015 11:17


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Introducing Andy Hessey, Deputy President, JCI Canary Wharf

How long have you been a JCI member?
7 months

What made you join?
That is a question that I can't honestly answer - I moved to London and I was obviously looking for organisations to network with and I came across JCI. Next thing I knew I was at a meeting! I came for the networking. I stayed for the people.

What is the most interesting JCI event you've been to and why?
I was at National Convention 2014.  To me this was my lightbulb moment with JCI.  This was where I understood what JCI was all about and also because I got to meet some fantastic people across that weekend.  It really fuelled my ambition to progress within the chamber.

Had JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
Not so much an unusual or interesting opportunity, but it's more the general opportunity that JCI has presented.  The ability to work with some very motivated and talented people has been fantastic.

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What is your job/career/profession/business?
I am an IT Consultant / Programme Director currently working at Telefónica UK.  I specialise in large complex IT programmes.

Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
I think that it's more that JCI has an impact on my general outlook.  Certainly being part of JCI gives me a really positive mindset especially when working with new and difficult stakeholders.

What's your proudest achievement?
Becoming Deputy President after being in JCI for just 6 months was a great achievement and I know my year as President will be even more of an achievement.

If you were given the chance to enter the Big Brother house would you?
Er ... Not a chance! While I have a very outgoing personality, I like my quiet time.  Anyway, no-one wants to see my naked bum on TV!

Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done
Where do I start? 

Crazy - I regularly cook with an ingredient called Psycho Serum which is pure capsicum extract. It is 6 million Scoville units (or 600 times hotter than a Jalepeno pepper)

Unusual - I used to be a radio journalist in Southampton and was on-air the night Princess Diana died.  It was very surreal!  It was also during this period that I almost killed Chas (from 80's group Chas and Dave).

Thanks Andy!




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14th Apr, 2015

JCI UK TOYP Awards 2015 - James' Journey
by James Lambert on April 14, 2015 09:06


Hi, I’m James Lambert and I have been honoured to be the 2015 Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) Project Director for JCI UK.

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.


My experience of TOYP

In late 2013 I was keen to get involved in a national project and I heard about TOYP via one of the national newsletters. I got in touch with Ilona Alcock who was the TOYP Director for the first JCI UK awards to find out more it and signed up to the team straightaway! I was lucky enough to be able to represent JCI UK at the European TOYP Academy in Istanbul. The Academy was a great way to meet people from other TOYP projects in Europe and learn from their experiences. 

After being part of Ilona’s team for the 2014 awards I took over the reins last summer.  As with all projects there have been some difficulties but reading about all of the inspiring entrants has made the work extremely worthwhile and I feel extremely proud to have been involved in TOYP.

The judging for the 2015 awards has now been completed and the TOYP Honorees for 2015 are:

  • Luke Addison
  • Lewis Bowen
  • Jane Burston
  • Sophie Carrigill
  • Alice Driver
  • Zafren Mohammed
  • Matthew Otubu
  • Nathaniel Peat
  • Eliza Rebeiro
  • Vikas Shah


TOYP » 2015 TOYP Winners » Eliza Rebeiro.jpg TOYP » 2015 TOYP Winners » Lewis Bowen.jpg TOYP » 2015 TOYP Winners » Sophie Carrigill.jpg TOYP » 2015 TOYP Winners » Vikas Shah.jpg


Eliza Rebeiro, Luke Bowen, Sophie Carrigill and Vikas Shah - just 4 of our JCI UK exceptional TOYP 2015 Honorees

Further details about the honorees will be published soon and an awards ceremony will be held on Friday 20th November 2015 as part of the National Convention in Barnsley.  Please see for further details about TOYP

The UK Honorees will be entered into the global competition in May and a shortlist of 20 will be announced in early August with the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World being announced in late August. These lucky 10 will be invited to an awards ceremony as part of World Congress in Japan in November.

Would you be interested in being part of TOYP 2016? If you would like further information please get in touch with me at

Finally, don’t forget to start looking for worthy recipients as nominations for next year will open in September!!


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7th Apr, 2015

Meet the Member - Ben Hawley (JCI Barnsley)
by Fiona Silvester on April 7, 2015 16:34


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Today we are lucky enough to meet Ben Hawley from JCI Barnsley.

Which chamber are you a member of?
JCI Barnsley

How long have you been a JCI member?
I joined in March 2012 for just under three years.

What made you join?
I'd recently started up a new business and wanted to network. I was also looking for new people to socialise with as my social life wasn't great at the time as the previous job I had and the hours worked meant I'd lost contact with a lot of my socials circles.

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What is the most interesting JCI event you've been to and why?
It's probably the Open Mic trainings session run by JCI Barnsley at the start of 2014. Any one could deliver a 10 minutes session on a subject of their choice. On the evening we had a range of topics covered from how to use Dropbox, how you could get HMRC to pay for your next annual dinner ticket and a practical demonstration of the different types of fencing.

Had JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
The opportunity I've enjoyed the most is representing my country at a European and world level in Debating. It's something I'd never done before joining JCI but I tried it and love it and turns out I'm not bad at it. I'm not a hugely sporty person so being able to represent the UK on a global scale is something I never thought I'd get to do.

What is your job/career/profession/business?
I'm a marketing professional and run my own marketing company. I work with a range of different types of companies to make sure they're taking advantages of the latest techniques in reaching their market and effectively communicating their message.

Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
Very much so. The public speaking, debating and extempore training has helped a lot. I'd recommend everyone develops these skills as they allow you to communicate more effectively, allow you to think on your feet without hesitating and be able to form a logical argument that you can put across effectively to counter any points people may have. All key skills for any job involving sales of any kind.

What's your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement in JCI so far is being awarded 'Most Outstanding Local President 2014'. I'm a firm believer that a leader is only good as the team they head up, I see it as recognition for what the members of JCI Barnsley achieved in the year as without them, the year wouldn't have been anywhere as near as successful as it was.

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Where's your favourite place to eat?
Is it wrong that this was the most difficult to answer? If I had to pick one, I'd say The Old Mustard Pot at Midhopestones in Sheffield. It's a really nice country side pub with great food, good beer and an open fire. It's brilliant on a cold winter night.

Tell us soething crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done
Althought I've not done it for a while, I'm a PADI qualified Advanced Open Water Diver. It's on my list for 2015 to get back into it.


Thanks Ben!


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2nd Apr, 2015

Meet The Member - Michael Best (JCI Harrogate)
by Fiona Silvester on April 2, 2015 18:36


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Today we are lucky enough to 'meet' Michael Best from JCI Harrogate.

Which chamber are you a member of?

How long have you been a JCI member?
Since 1999!

What made you join?
I saw an advert on a noticeboard where I was working at the time, It mentioned the opportunity to take part in projects and get involved with marketing and networking, while helping out in the local community. So I went along to see what it was all about and the rest is history. My first Junior Chamber (as it was then) meeting was in 1998 but  It wasn't until I got involved with the local Secret Santa project in 1999 though, that I started to get really involved. I think until you've taken part in a project or a role in your local chamber, you don't really appreciate the opportunities and see the "bigger picture"

What is the most interesting JCI event you've been to and why?
I think the Secret Santa project. It was the first project that I had got involved with and volunteered at a meeting to lead it. It developed so many skills, from organising the venue, contacting local children's homes, pulling a team together, then standing in a shopping centre and having to approach strangers (frightening!). I think that this experience turned me from being a member who "attended events" to one who wanted to get involved and  develop further!

Had JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
Winning the national four person debating competition in 2000, bringing national boards from across Europe to Harrogate in 2002, raising my own profile locally, taking part in the national public speaking and extempore finals, dining on the Titanic. It was being involved with JCI Harrogate which gave me the opportunity to be interviewed on Sky News regarding a young person's view in their pre-election coverage in 2005.


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What is your job/career/profession/business?
Chartered Accountant

Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
Taught me loads about sales, marketing and a range of personal skills. I can now sell to prospective clients and build great relationships with current clients. Understanding different types of people and how they "tick". The increase in profile within Harrogate which JCI Harrogate has given me in the business community has had a tremendous effect.

What's your proudest achievement?
Qualifying as an accountant with all first time passes in professional exams. Outside of JCI, completing four Long Distance Walker hundred mile challenges (the challenge being to complete it non stop in less than 48 hours)

Where's your favourite place to eat?
I love English and Italian food, so for me it has to be a nice pub somewhere- preferably in the country after a long day's walk. There are so many to choose from- the Lister Arms at Malham or the King's Head at Masham, for example.  Generally, the types of places where they still serve your food on a plate rather than a wooden chopping board!

Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done
Got to be the hundred mile challenges. They run every year in a different part of the country and you often end up walking through two nights. The first night is ok but the second you start hallucinating. The atmosphere, camaraderie and welcome at the checkpoints is amazing though. When I finish with JCI I definitely want to do more of these- there is a special award for completing 10! 

Thanks Michael!

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2nd Apr, 2015

March in Yorkshire
by CharliePearson on April 2, 2015 08:02


They say time flies when you're having fun and that is certainly true for March in Yorkshire!

So, what have we been up to that's been so much fun?

Well, JCI Doncaster have been planning events for the next few months and we are all getting very excited about their beer tasting session. JCI Bradford have very busy collecting 2,293 Easter Eggs. JCI Leeds have been little book warms with their first book club. JCI Harrogate have had one of their training sessions. JCI Rotherham have been on a special business tour of Magna Science Park and got to know their members better with a Meet The Members session and making first contact with their soon-to-be new twins. JCI Barnsley have been planting trees, watching basketball in one of their fantastic socials, as well as learning how to Tweet and use LinkedIn properly. JCI Sheffield have held a great Network Wednesday event at a new venue, CV training, visited their twins in Mayo, learnt how to dance and collected 711 Easter Eggs.

As well as all that JCI Rotherham & JCI Sheffield joined forces to attend the Safe@Last quiz at Magna and we have had out first Regional event, Big Supper, hosted by JCI Bradford and attended by every chamber in the Region. 

Personally, I have been with National Board to Belgium for a best practice sharing session with the National Boards from JCI Belgium, JCI The Netherlands and JCI Switzerland.

Oh and I can't forget the chamber pot moving twice in the space of a month! Tired yet?? I know I am!

JCI Yorkshire » Sheffield Training.jpgMy 'Feel Proud' Yorkshire chamber of the month for March is JCI Sheffield. I'm pretty sure you can tell how busy they have been from the list above but as well as all that they are still producing a fantastic magazine each month and have been out handing out leaflets to local businesses promoting JCI and their events to members of the community. It is definitely All Go in Sheffield right now! Well Done!



JCI Yorkshire » Big Supper.jpgMy 'Feel Proud' member of the month for March is actually a President. Phil Cockayne from JCI Bradford. He has organised the Big Supper and had helped out with some Regional admin! 

Now I know after all that you probably want to rest but not a chance - sorry April is looking just as full! Check out what's coming up below:

8th - JCI Rotherham goes to Bingo

9th - JCI Leeds Bar of the Month

11th to 12th - Presidents & Deputies Weekend in Southampton

15th - JCI Sheffield Improvisation Training

17th to 19th - JCI Scotland National Conference

22nd - JCI Rotherham Extempore Training

23rd - JCI Leeds Training Session & JCI Sheffield Charity Bingo Night

24th - JCI Rotherham Past Presidents Dinner

25th - JCI Barnsley Past Presidents Dinner & World Malaria Day.

29th - JCI Sheffield Network Wednesday

30th - JCI Barnsley NLP Training & JCI Doncaster Beer Tasting Session

See, busy!! One other thing I need to mention is after the feedback from the Regional Events Survey last month, the Regional Public Speaking Competition has been moved out of the conference to allow more time for some fun and show debates. This will now be held in Barnsley in September so watch out for more details on that.

I think that is about it for now Yorkshire, have a great month and 'Feel Proud'. 


Charlie Pearson 

2015 Yorkshire RGC 



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30th Mar, 2015

JCI Barnsley Tree Planting
by Fiona Silvester on March 30, 2015 01:52


Last Saturday, JCI Barnsley members put their spare time to better use within our community by spending the day out volunteering with Martin Sugden from Voluntary Action Barnsley (VAB) and Trevor Mayne from Barnsley Council's Park Services.  With Tree Planting on the agenda, we were down for getting our hands dirty, as well as our boots, trousers, and possibly faces in some cases...!

This tree planting project also ties in nicely with the JCI project impact 100. As JCI is celebrating a 100 anniversary, they have asked members to get involved with a project that will make an impact of lives for 100 people.

With this in mind, through the means of social media, our Community Director Kathryn Brookes  contacted with Martin at VAB. VAB alongside the council have been involved in the National Improvement Area (NIA) of Barnsley.  By Tree Planting in designated areas of the Dearne Valley NIA, the scheme hopes to achieve a number of important goals, with the interests of wildlife and the benefits to the environment at the heart of it.


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At 10am,  full of energy and enthusiasm, wrapped in hats, gloves and scarves, 9 of us gathered by the Swanee in Kendray to make brief introductions with our organisers from VAB and Barnsley council.  You could have mistaken us for Snow White's dwarves as we set off with our shovels and spades back up the hill, armed with bundles of natively grown British saplings (chosen with success in mind, that native saplings will be able to survive in our climate, and have not been imported with diseases that could devastate our ecosystem) and with gusto spread out and started digging and planting.

While stopping for a mid-morning cuppa to warm us up it became clear to me, whether the others would agree with me or not, that the best way to keep warm was to keep planting trees!  Standing still let the chill of Spring nip at your nose and finger tips, so once we returned to planting, and with us now spread across the planned out planting area, we determinedly continued to dig and plant and join the existing areas of established trees with our saplings.

We dug deep and finished the day (okay it was early afternoon, but it felt like later!) exhausted, achy, but proud. Martin and Trevor estimated that we had planted over 500 trees a well deserved pat on the back.

While we weren't able to stand back and admire the impact of our handiwork in one day, I hope I'm not alone in putting March 14th 2016 and 2020 back in the diary to return to this spot, to hopefully see that our work has taken root and had a positive effect on the site. 

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29th Mar, 2015

Volunteering is ACE!
by Drew Charman on March 29, 2015 17:16



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ACE is back!

Established in 2011, ACE (Active Citizen Experience) is the free-choice volunteering programme which recognises the positive contribution that JCI UK members make in their communities through active involvement in a diverse range of activities.  

The ACE programme was initially created as a lcoal chamber activity for JCI Doncaster, but due to its popularity and success it was quickly established as a programme for the whole of JCI UK. 

Katie Ogley, former Local President of JCI Doncaster, came up with the original concept believing that, in addition to participating in organised JCI activities, members should be allowed to choose activities which are special to them and be acknowledged for this.  JCI UK couldn't agree more!  Volunteering can be a very personal thing and one of Katie's favourite quotes about volunteering is from Margaret Mead who said 'never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has'.  We believe that it is these small actions which add up to make big changes - something which JCI is all about.

The scheme has 3 standard accreditation levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold.  Members are awarded certificates for the number of volunteering hours (between 10 and 30 hours) that they contribute to community projects.  These can include volunteering with a local charity, participating in fundraising activities such as being sponsored to run a marathon, working with Scout or Brownie groups, or just completing simple gestures like supporting an elderly neighbour.  

Since 2011 JCI UK members have actively engaged in the programme and, in some cases, actually contributed more hours than the highest level ACE award category!  Here is why they do it:

"The ACE programme is a really great way to log all your volunteering hours, not just what do with JCI but in any setting.  It really gets you to think about how you are having an impact on responding to the outcomes of the Millennium Development Goals.  I was really shocked with how many hours I logged, often averaging 30-40 hours a month, which is like doing an extra week at work time-wise on a range or projects!"

Mark Smith (JCI Sheffield)


"The great things about ACE is it takes into account what you do both in and outside of JCI.  It was an amazing feeling to have my hard work recognised and I felt honoured to be presented with my award."

Jenny Storey (JCI Barnsley)


Since there is clearly so much passion for this area, we added an additional level to the awards in 2014!  There is now a Platinum award for any members who contribute more than 100 hours of voluntary service in any given year.

To log hours all you have to do is complete the sections on the ACE form each time you undertake an activity.

Let's get volunteering and make a difference in our communities!  For more infomation visit


Drew Charman
2015 JCI UK National President
Senator #73605




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