Many of you who know me well know how much I love JCI but few know what it's actually about or what I do ... and in honesty, you really have to experience JCI to understand JCI.
In 2020 I'm President of JCI Portsmouth so I thought I’d do a President’s Diary so you can see what I’ve been up to - the crazy and amazing experiences that JCI has given me as a member and local President, updates on what’s been happening in JCI Portsmouth and plans for things to come...
SO much happened in February!! It kicked off with Kickstart2020. Our first national event of the year held in Manchester.
Over 40 young professionals came together to find out more about mentoring, what Manchester is doing to help homeless people in the city and what JCI UK has in store in terms of events for the rest of the year (as well as catch up with friends and drink some fantastic cocktails!)
Alveena Malik, co-founder of One Million Mentors spoke first about the work her charity is doing and how mentoring can not only benefit a mentee in many ways but also the mentor too.
Bringing the story to life was Shuab - Son of an illiterate mother and sheep-herding father, he came to the UK for a better life. He spoke of how the local library and a kind teacher named Miss Smith helped him through school and how as a kid he'd dreamt of wearing a suit to work in the big local offices of EY; how after meeting Alveena and her team he had felt confident enough to apply to EY and achieve his dream. So when he said he was rejected by EY, we were all a bit surprised - this was not the happy ending we'd been hoping for! Then there was the shock reveal - EY may have rejected him but GE hadn't and he was going to start an even bigger and better internship there soon! The applause was tumultuous! I don't think there was a dry eye in the house at that point and I was certainly reaching for the tissues... Alveena genuinely beamed with pride as she found out at the same time as the rest of us!
Alice Sparks, founder of Invisible Manchester, spoke next about the charity she set up to help homeless people find work and purpose by becoming a trained city tour guides. After a short presentation, we set off on shorter versions of the tours led by Danny and Laura - Their passion for the city was abundantly clear and helped us all to see Manchester in a different light. They highlighted some of the city's most beautiful areas and then contextualised them in the experience of the homeless community and their own poignant personal experiences.
A delicious lunch buffet followed courtesy of Open Kitchen - a catering social enterprise that only uses food that would otherwise go to waste. The whole event had a clear eco-friendly theme - everyone brought their own cups, bottles, notebooks and pens to help reduce the amount of single-use plastic usually seen at events in line with the SDGs (Did I mention JCI is affiliated with the United Nations and therefore we're all keen on showing how ordinary people can help to achieve the UN's Sustainability Development Goals?)
After lunch, we were introduced to the rubber chicken and a speed mentoring session. We highlighted an area we wanted to develop and asked advice from one another before the (slightly annoying) noise of the rubber chicken signalled it was time to move to the next conversation.
After finally putting the chicken to bed, we were privileged to hear from European Vice President Jenni Ahlstedt - she talked about her JCI journey how it had changed her life and what JCI can do for you at an international level. I took a live video of her session which you can watch on the JCI Portsmouth Facebook page here
We then had a whistle-stop tour through all the national events coming up in 2020 that have been planned so far. You can find out more about them in the National Events Calendar. We were also lucky to have the new Chair of the JCI Senate, Janice Hadfield (Senator 48902) and Jonathan Nicholson (Senator 62400) introduced to us as well. The JCI Senate was established to recognize the outstanding achievements and service of JCI members worldwide. It's a big achievement to be nominated to become a Senator in the JCI world.
Simon Alexander Ong finished the day by talking about practical ways to upgrade habits and understand your mindset. You see, there's always a battle going on between your future self and your present self so you have to give yourself reasons to commit.
In terms of your environment, you can't get better in the same place you got sick. You have to find a new room. In terms of your habits what you read/learn/watch and hear you become so be mindful of that and act like the CEO of your life. To help with creating commitments you can use formulas like If....Then (e.g. If I get home before 8 pm then I will go to dance class) or if you have a goal to save you can set yourself up with a little bank transfer that goes out every month. I was reminded of Mel Robbin's "Stop screwing yourself over" TED Talk and her 5-second rule and made a note to rewatch that.
Simon finished by saying that the ability to focus is increasingly becoming today's IQ. He also told a great story about Thomas Edison who went fishing but didn't use bait - why? "No one disturbs me, not even the fish." He concluded that in life, we have to create time for rest, renewal and reflection and realise that failure isn't the opposite to success - it's actually part of it, necessary to expand your comfort zone and become a better person. Then it was onto the first bar of the night and a few cocktails!
The next day Local Presidents convened at the Co-Op's Digital Marketing offices to have our first National Council of the year. We discussed upcoming events, how to improve the new member experience and agreed to increase our membership fees later in the year too. (So my advice to anyone thinking about joining JCI is: Become an annual member now when it's cheaper! It's currently £120 for the year and I guarantee it will change your life!)
February also saw the launch of two campaigns: The £1 a day campaign where people challenge themselves to live on a £1 a day for their food and drink for a week and donate the money they would have spent to charity and The Feel on the 4th campaign.
£1 a day sucks... Seriously you're hungry all the time and you have zero energy but it teaches you so much about food poverty that millions in the UK experience every day.
Quotes like these really hit me in the feels:
"I’ve never spent so long in a supermarket to buy so little, or looked so longingly at other shoppers' piled-up trollies."
"While I managed to stick to the budget, I was absolutely miserable…On the last day, I almost sobbed into my fried potatoes with two chicken burgers (no bun) and pasta with passata, but I had the satisfaction of completing the challenge…Then I remembered... This is real life for millions of people in the UK. They don’t get to stop and go back to normal next week."
"It's insane to think there are now more food banks in the UK than Macdonalds!"
The Feel on the 4th campaign was born out of frustration. I'm not the only JCI member to have had a serious breast cancer scare in the last year and regularly checking your boobs can help detect cancer earlier. It means you've got a higher chance of it being treated successfully so why don't more people do it? Answer: They don't remember and/or they don't know how.
So we introduced members to the world's first #BoobBot on World Cancer Day (4th February) An interactive messenger chatbot that will talk you through how to check your boobs or pecs, in real-time. Feel free to try it out, give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends: http://m.me/coppafeel.org
We had our second JCI Portsmouth Training event with The Presentation Doctor, aka Gavin Meikle....because public speaking seems to be something all of our members want to get better at. He was AMAZING and everyone got a lot out of it. I wrote up his 25 lessons in a blog which I have made available publicly rather than just to members so you can start to see the great quality of training you get with JCI Portsmouth for free as a member.
As International Vice President Of JCI, Gavin was responsible for supporting the growth and development of JCI in various African countries and is a member of the JCI Senate – Senator 47906 - so he talked a little about his JCI journey as well and where JCI gave him opportunity to really practice public speaking.
As you can see, Gavin's training was very well received by attendees and it was great to see them sharing the power of JCI Portsmouth on their personal social media channels too - I loved this post from Alice, our newest JCI Portsmouth member!
So that's it from me for Month Two!
March starts with our Cultural Pub Crawl with members from the National Board in Southampton, we've got a "Space In The City" training session booked as we find out how Portsmouth startups are getting involved in the space industry, I've got "That Summer Thing" national event to finish organising with the team; Ross and Rhod have been roped in to help organise a sponsored walk from Portsmouth to Southampton later in the year and I've got to put together the "Brucey Bonus Bags" that JCI Portsmouth members get when they join as an annual member - at the moment these are worth £50 in their own right and I'm hoping to get a few more corporate sponsors to add in discounts to their products/services or some extra merchandise too (So if you know anyone who can help, let me know!) I'll also be meeting with the CEO of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce at some point (just trying to organise diaries) so watch this space!
Thanks for reading.
Emma-Louise Munro Wilson
President, JCI Portsmouth