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20th Feb, 2017

Celebrating Our Members - Lewis Thomson from JCI Brighton
by MichaelSteel on February 20, 2017 10:54


JCI UK is the organisation that develops, promotes and celebrates the achievements of young leaders across our nation and in our local communities.

Meet Lewis Thomson from JCI Brighton...

Let's Celebrate Our Members » Lewis Thomson.jpg

My name is Lewis. I'm a 26 year old IT professional from Aberdeen, currently living in Brighton.

I joined the Brighton chamber of JCI in January 2017 after National President Michael Steel reached out to me through social media. I had been looking for a networking organisation to join for several months since moving to Brighton and after researching JCI, it was a complete no-brainer. Not only is there a focus on personal development and growing self-belief, what better place existed to meet passionate, young and driven individuals? After attending Launchpad in Nottingham in January, I know I've made a great decision and I'm excited to get to work on relaunching the chamber here!

Growing up, I thought I had life pretty well made. I lived in a prosperous area of the UK and had a natural talent for computing. After attaining good grades in the subject at school, I decided on my career path, figuring my life was fairly future-proof.

I went on to further education, choosing a degree in Computer Network Management at a local university. During my studies, I was fortunate to secure a year-long work placement with an Oil and Gas company and following graduation, I went on to accept a Graduate position in the Global IT department of the same company as a Junior Infrastructure Analyst.

Two and a half years in to my career, with great progression offered to me with the company, my time with them was cut short. In 2015, Aberdeen was struck by the worst downturn in Oil and Gas since the 1980s and my role, along with the roles of around 2,500 others, was made redundant, and I found myself out in the real world with a very difficult choice to make.

Although a major shock at the time, this would go on to be one of the best things that has happened in my life to date.

With work scarce in Aberdeen, I took up two part-time jobs in the service sector and treaded water for around 8 months. Shortly before being made redundant, I had started a part-time business with a Network Marketing company; this had introduced me to the concept of personal development. To my parents' disdain, I chose to continue down this path; working in two relatively dead-end jobs, with a degree, working to grow a business in a poor local economy but all-the-while, absorbing all the personal development I could lay my hands on. I read books, listened to audios and attended regular training events - even a fabulous 3-day global training conference with 18,000 others at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

All the while, learning about myself and what I truly valued. My redundancy had helped me come to understand that we truly are the architects of our own success; if we want something, we have to go out there and get it. The reason so few people realise their full potential is not lack of skill, it's lack of belief. I soon came to realise that there is no better way to work than for yourself and in July 2016, exactly one year after being made redundant, I started my own IT consultancy firm. I accepted a 3 month contract with a client in Crawley, packed my life into the back of my car and drove, for over 13 hours, to start a new chapter in the sunny south in Brighton; a place I'd had the ambition of living in for a number of years. I still run my Network Marketing business in my spare time and am currently in the middle of preparing for my second visit to Las Vegas in April!

My mission now is to share the criticality of what I have learned with as many Generation-Ys as possible. It's tough out there, especially for young people, but I truly believe if you can define what success means for you, develop a vision of how that looks which is absolutely crystal clear and combine the understanding of how important it is to develop yourself, as well as the skills required in your chosen field, with hard work, you will succeed.

Looking to the long-term, my vision for my career is to move away from IT; living solely on the income I generate from my Network Marketing business. Of course, to grow a Network Marketing business, you need a network and although I already had a handful of friends in Brighton before I moved, if I wanted my business to be the massive success I dream of every day, it was crucial I found a way of meeting new people in a professional environment. Although the best part of having a Network Marketing business is being able to work with your friends, sometimes you have to step out your social circle to be the proof that it works.

As a member of JCI, not only would I meet young, energetic and professional people, I would be able to grow my skills in business building as I work with Anne-Marie to relaunch the Brighton Chapter, as well as being able to gain contacts both nationally within the UK as well as abroad; allowing me to fulfil my goal of building a global organisation. But it's not all about business and making money... Although I want to personally help as many people as possible achieve the life they truly want, through Network Marketing, I will have a lot of time on my hands when I am able to give up full-time work. I'm daft for houses and I see myself moving into property development, with the intention of improving the living standards of private rental tenants in Brighton. I also want to volunteer, but I wasn't sure exactly what I would do... With an avenue to channel all of my personal development into with JCI, I think I've found it!

I owe everything I have gained in my life since my redundancy to reading books by inspirational people such as Jack Canfield, David Schwartz PhD, Rhonda Byrne and Robert Kayosaki, to name but a few.

If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.


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1st Feb, 2017

Celebrating Our Members - Abbie Hart from JCI Manchester
by MichaelSteel on February 1, 2017 09:03


JCI UK is the organisation that develops, promotes and celebrates the achievements of young leaders across our nation and in our local communities.

Meet Abbie Hart from JCI Manchester...

Let's Celebrate Our Members » Abbie Hart.JPG

Since joining the board Abbie has been a particularly active member single handedly organising every social event for the 2016 calendar.

She was keen to make this year's social calendar more varied than last year's, and so recognising the focus on SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing at the UK level, and being aware of the majority of the memberships push for a healthier lifestyle in January, Deputy President Abbie Hart decided to organise a 'net-walking' event on Sunday 22nd January as part of a New Year New You Kickstart social for JCI Manchester.

She organised a walk around nearby Dovestone Reservoir followed by a rewarding meal at Muse Bar and Restaurant in UpperMill, a nearby eatery she works with in her career outside of JCI,

It was a truly fantastic event and everyone who came (members and non-members alike) commented on how much of a great time they had. The event simultaneously pleased current members and made non-members consider joining! The event killed many birds with one stone and was classically JCI!

This style of event will be repeated numerous times throughout the year and the plan is to ask board members to come forward to plan future events as a potential development opportunity for them self.

JCI Manchester will be inviting other Chambers to join us on future walks in 2017.

Sarah Williams quoted:

"On Sunday, I had the opportunity to go on a lovely winter walk around Dovestone Reservoir up in the hills near Oldham followed by some heart-warming food at a nearby pub, Muse, in the village of Uppermill.

I was joining a group of JCI members, who were very welcoming and during the walk, had chance to speak with many of them about what they do and their involvement with JCI.

It was clear that they are all passionate about what they do as well as ambitious about making Manchester a great place to work and live.

My area of work involves promoting the social and economic benefits of green space and nature, so it was great to meet and join a group of people, potential future leaders in our city, reaping the benefits...enjoying a refreshing Sunday walk in nature, whilst chatting about career opportunities and how to make a positive impact.

Surely that's got to be a win-win!"

We also received a lot of love on Twitter! 

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17th Oct, 2016

Member of the Month - Marine Klein (JCI London)
by Sarah Beckwith on October 17, 2016 12:29


Member of the month for September goes to Marine Klein of JCI London, who is the project lead for the London Peace Week project.Blog » meet the members » Marine.jpg

Marine has led an enthusiastic team over the course of the year, who have built on the success of this long-term project of the chamber, embracing the international JCI campaign of Peace Is Possible.  In March she presented the project to JCI World President Paschal Dike and engaged him to support the project by recording a video asking other members around the world to support the project.  Activities throughout the year included a Peace Pub Quiz, social media activities encouraging members around the world to commit to the Peace Is Possible Campaign and a free hugs event on World Peace Day in Trafalgar Square.  The Peace Conference held on 20 September featured ten speakers including academics who research peace, a former diplomat and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.  The conference was attended by over 90 people.

Rafael Tselikas, JCI London President and initiator of the London Peace Project in 2013 had this to say:

"Marine, Oli and the peace week team have done an outstanding job this year. They managed to organise an excellent peace conference which was sold out. This was JCI London Peace Conference 4th edition and the best of all 4. We are very proud of them and the work they have done in raising awareness about peace and the SDG 16".

Each member of the month gets £50 off the price of the JCI UK National Convention in November. 

Blog » meet the members » London Peace Conference - Sept 2016.jpg

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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.

Blog » meet the members » Sophie Delaporte.png

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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16th Aug, 2016

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


Blog » meet the members » KathrynJCI.jpg

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.


Blog » meet the members » Pathways.jpg

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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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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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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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20th May, 2016

Meet National Board - Phil Cockayne
by Ryan Plikington on May 20, 2016 14:00


Meet National Board

Phil Cockayne, 2016 JCI Yorkshire Regional Group Chair


Philip Cockayne

Local Chamber:

JCI Bradford

How long have you been a JCI member?

Since November 2013

What made you become a JCI member?

I was looking for a way I could improve my professional outlook outside of work but also put my skills towards a good cause

What is your role on National Board?

As the Regional Group Chairman for Yorkshire, I oversee the Yorkshire region (currently made up of 6 chambers; Barnsley, Bradford, Doncaster, Leeds, Rotherham and Sheffield). I support the local presidents and chambers in the region, help find new opportunities, introduce JCI to new networks and act as liaison between the National Board and the chambers of Yorkshire

What made you want to take on this role?

My skills have always been more strategic in nature (i.e. finding new partners and organisations to work with, groups to support, networking in the region) but also helping apply lessons learned from Bradford across the region (including sharing other lessons from across the region to ensure best practice is being adopted across the region. I also already have a good network across the region so I wanted to apply this at a regional level for JCI rather than at the Bradford level.

What positions have you held within JCI prior to National Board?:
Deputy President at JCI Bradford (2014)
President at JCI Bradford (2015)

What advice would you give to members who are thinking to take on roles within their local council?
JCI is a bit like the gym - if you sign up for membership and don’t do anything with it, don’t be surprised that you’re not getting better. But to apply the same analogy, at the gym you have different workouts based on your goals (cardio for weight loss, weight lifting for bulking, HIIT for tone etc.) The same applies to JCI - be clear on your goals. I’ve always known what I’m good at and what skills I want to improve. By using JCI as a platform, I can continue to grow my skillset outside of work and do some good in the process. So, if you want to rise through the ranks in marketing, take up a Marketing Director role, if you want to do more fundraising, take up a Community Director role. Use JCI as the widely recognised and respected organisation it is and see your career prospects improve as you develop.

If you could choose one national JCI event to attend in 2016 which would you choose?

National Conference’s are always brilliant

Do you have a goal for 2016?

I have plenty:
• Ensure best practice is being shared and 
applied across the region

• Help newer, less well-established chambers grow membership and drive engagement

• Increase exposure across the region (via press, other media outlets etc.)

• Find partners JCI can work with (either community, networking or training) at a regional level 

Blog » Phil 1.png Blog » Phil 2.png Blog » Phil 3.png Blog » Phil 4.png 

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18th May, 2016

My JCI Journey: Mark Smith
by MarkSmith on May 18, 2016 21:30


I will start at the very beginning! I first found out about JCI Sheffield when I saw a tweet promoting an open evening aimed at young professionals in Sheffield back in 2012.  It grabbed my interest partly as I thought I could meet other 'like minded' individuals, but also potentially to meet business owners and entrepreneurs who might be interested in supporting the childrens charity SAFE@LAST that I work for.

I toddled along to the open evening, quite happy going on my own as in my mind I was in work mode so I was use to doing such things, whereas if I thought it was going to be purely a social occasion, then there was no way I would have gone on my own as I would have been too nervous!  Everyone was very friendly and I listened with interest about all the things JCI has to offer.  I remember the first thought was that it must be too good to be true and must cost an arm and a leg to be involved with.  When I found out it was only £10 per month, I filled in my membership form there and then and set up payment the next day!

One of the early ideas that really appealed to me was being able to attend so many different training workshops.  I would always consider myself to be pretty good at time management and organisation, so I wouldn't take a day out of work or use the little bit of work training budget I do have to go on such a course, but because such training events and workshops are included as part of the JCI membership, I snapped up every opportunity available.

I have also relished the international opportunities that JCI have presented - through JCI, the world certainly looks smaller.  I would never have dreamed about nipping over to the Netherlands for the weekend if its wasn't for JCI.  I would never have expected to have ever visited Japan but I went to World Congress there last year and actually delivered my own training course on event management too!  With JCI I have also travelled to Malta, Turkey, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands and I am looking forward to going to Finland and Canada this year and Switzerland and Amsterdam next year.

It was an absolute honour to serve as Local President in 2015 and to lead the chamber and work alongside such an incredible team with the theme of 'be the change'.  Some of the highlights of my presidential year was hosting the lustrum dinner (held every 5 years) for Past Presidents, celebrating 100 years of the JCI global movement, launching a small grants scheme for local groups, delivering training at European Conference (Turkey) and World Congress (Japan) and leading the chamber in being awarded 'most outstanding JCI chamber in the UK'.

JCI Yorkshire » MARK SMITH MS & KK be the change.jpg JCI Yorkshire » MARK SMITH JCI Sheffield 2015 Annual Dinner VIPs.jpg

I could literally go on for pages and pages about how I have grown as a person through JCI - developed my confidence, developed existing skills, learning new skills and lapping up such a wide range of extraordinary and simply awesome experiences and meeting some people I now consider to be my closest friends.  As well as on a personal level, I have also benefitted on a professional level as JCI Sheffield have supported SAFE@LAST for several years in terms of fundraising, giving up hundreds of hours volunteering in all sorts of ways at events and I even recruited a trustee from JCI!  This year I am proud to be Immediate Past President for JCI Sheffield and also to serve on the JCI UK National Board as National Finance Director which is providing a whole set of different development opportunities and experiences for me.  Quite simply, I love JCI!

World President visit Sheffield 2016 » MS GC PD SB PC.jpg JCI Yorkshire » MARK SMITH CS RT MS debating World Congress 2015.jpg

My only regret - not knowing about JCI much earlier.  So if you are reading this and think you would like even a smidgen of all the positive and exciting things I have mentioned...come along to an event and try it out - what have you got to loose?

One of my favourite quotes by Henry Ford:

 "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right!"

Thank you JCI!

Mark Smith

JCI Sheffield member since 2012

Most outstanding JCI member in the World, 2014

Get in touch by email, or follow me on twitter!

Blog taken from JCI Sheffield 'Steel City News' May 2015 magazine - read more here.


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