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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
JCI takes you places – on top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio, Brazil with fellow members in 2013
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Sarah Beckwith