Two more weeks on sabbatical!
Two more weeks on sabbatical!
So my last blog left me just having delivered debating training for JCI Portsmouth and resisting eating the Easter eggs that they had collected for charity! I didn't stop there. I immediately left to catch a train to Gatwick Airport. Arriving at midnight I had about four hours sleep before getting up and flying to Aberdeen.
I was lucky enough to have been invited to attend the JCI Aberdeen Grampian Industrialist dinner. That weekend our JCI World President Chiara Milani was in Aberdeen and I got there in time to visit a local charity Befriend A Child with Chiara and JCI Scotland National President Steven Wilson. It was amazing to hear how not only had the charity received financial assistance from JCI Aberdeen but also much needed help with raising their profile and increasing their network. We then went to a special lunch with a speech from Chiara to local patrons, members and senators. Then the main event of the dinner- a great evening was had by all and it was inspiring to see how JCI Aberdeen has forged such strong links with their local business community.
I left early to get a good night's sleep as the next day I delivered JCI Presenter training with our international Vice President Anna Gril to 11 members including two from JCI Barnsley. The group was of an extremely high standard. After training there was time for a quick curry on my last night in Aberdeen followed by a seven hour trip home the next day in the snow. No rest when I got back as it was time for a community meeting with Soraya Bowen but then I was at home for two days to relax.
On Wednesday 13th March I was back on the train this time heading to Boston to deliver Discover JCI training for their new members. I had great fun and the session was lively and engaging. Then it was off to the local pub for dinner and the quiz. I'd like to be able to report that team JCI Boston won but I will settle with its the taking part that counts.
I stayed overnight in Boston and was up and ready the next morning to get the train to Birmingham for the JCI Birmingham launch event. I got there nice and early and set up mobile office in a local Costa which brought back memories of the Southampton visit, this time I left making the drinks to the experts. The launch event was a huge success and the team were really energised. Their guest speaker Georgie Mosley from the charity Help Harry Help Others moved the audience to tears with her speech and many bought bracelets to raise funds for the charity. Five new members signed up on the night and I am so pleased to see JCI Birmingham so firmly back on the map.
My next JCI trip was to a senate walking weekend in North Yorkshire but I conveniently managed to arrive after the walking had finished and just in time for the black tie dinner. It really was a great event and I was pleased to speak on behalf of JCI UK and let the senators present know what you had all been doing. I am very proud of what we have achieved so far this year. The guests at the dinner held a charity raffle and raised £180 towards our Nothing But Nets target for the year.
The last week of my sabbatical was a whirlwind of phone calls and emails. I also managed to fit in a speech on behalf of JCI Leeds at an event to present a brand new city proposition to over 200 local business people. Members of JCI Leeds had been part of the consultation process and as such I was asked to address the audience on behalf of the people of Leeds. It was a great honour to be asked to speak and I hope that it helps to raise the profile of JCI. I also attended a JCI Leeds quiz event that week and I can confirm that my performance at this quiz was even worse than it had been in Boston!
Despite the snow over the weekend I still managed to make my way to Birmingham to join a fantastic group of past national presidents for a revival of the traditional past national president's lunch. This was organised by Immediate Past President Solveig Malvik and was a brilliant way to learn about the history of JCI UK and also to share what we are doing now. It was such a good event in fact that some people missed their trains and had to head back later than they had planned! This is an event that we hope to hold regularly going forward.
Before I could even blink it was time to go back to work! What an amazing experience this month off was. I enjoyed every moment of it and thank you to everyone that made it so special
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