One of the greatest opportunities that JCI has to offer is the ability to travel to other countries where JCI has a presence. Attending Conferences, Events and seminars hosted by other countries enables you to learn new cultures, gain new perspectives, network, make international friends, share ideas and come up with amalgamated solutions that make positive impact in our communities. Part of my JCI Journey has literally taken me trotting around the globe, creating invaluable business networks and lifelong friendships that ensure I have a home in that country with reciprocated hospitality. In a sense, this gives us as JCI members "Global Citizenship'.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the Regional Conference of the Americas held in Punta Cana - Dominican Republic earlier this year, and what an unforgettable experience it was!
The venue was located at the luxurious Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Resort, with it's stunning sandy white beaches, rich culture and endless rays of glorious sunshine. The conference was exceptionally well organised with an All- inclusive package that covered registration, accommodation in jacuzzi suites, unlimited access to 9 restaurants, 15 bars, 13 pools, first rate spas, 24/7 room service, a Gym and A-list appeal.
Ok so if that's not enough to convince you to attend the next international conference or event, I don't know what else will!
With JCI conferences, you typically get the best of both worlds: Skills and business workshops during the day, and themed parties at night. The location provided convenience in that everything was held at the same venue without the need to travel offsite for functions or workshops.
So here's how the week went:
The JCI Opening ceremony was a great start of this amazing conference with over 450 people in attendance. We heard welcome speeches from our world president Dawn Hetzel and other JCI Regional Officers.
It was great to see my old buddies from around the globe who I have connected with on previous trips and have now formed strong alliances.
The following days took us through a series of workshops, masterclasses and officer trainings which covered topics such as: Effective Leadership; Pathways to Peace workshop; LEAN Startup; World-Class Manager; Effective communication & JCI Strategic Planning Forum.
The fabulous program line up provided inspiration from powerful business leaders, trainers & entrepreneurs, who shared their latest tools, techniques and strategies with us. I also had the opportunity to attend the general assemblies of the Americas region where we caught up on their progress and plan of action for the remainder of the year.
One of the highlights for me during the day programs was participating in a social innovation challenge where we had the opportunity to understand social entrepreneurship using the JCI active citizenship framework with its tools such as the needs analysis to find a solution to a given social problem. We then had to generate ideas for innovative ventures that respond to a particular social issue & develop project proposals to implement the solution. Very interesting to observe that the principles of social entrepreneurship are the same across the globe however the approaches are innovative & culturally distinctive. I find value in experiencing cultures that are foreign to me, seeing how I can adapt elements of a new culture to my own thought process and ultimately enriching my own life & business.
The night time offered a variety of themed parties including:
The Dominican Republic (DR) Festival which took us through typical DR food, culture, dance and much more.
Next was the Cultural Village Night which saw us indulging in food and drinks from all countries represented there, with a dance off from various countries in an electrifying atmosphere.
We also enjoyed a cool promo evening event with a South Beach Cocktail theme for next year's regional conference in Miami - Count me in!
The final night-Gala dinner and Awards, gave us an opportunity to celebrate exceptional active citizens and also bid farewell to our old and new friends as the conference was officially over. This marked a superb send off for an excellently planned & executed conference.
I would encourage everyone to travel outside your typical JCI country regions to expand your world-view. This enables you to enlarge your perspective, strengthen your global networks & ultimately increase your global influence.
For more information on various International events, contact your local international chamber director or our JCI UK International Director Katie Ogley. JCI Conferences and events can really be Your Passport to the world for Global Citizenship.