I was delighted to attend the JCI UK national event of the year Inspiration Day on Saturday 31st January hosted by JCI Manchester. This is always a highly anticipated day full of great expectations and the promise to leave members geared up, motivated and raring to go and I’m pleased to say this did not disappoint.
The JCI UK 2015 National Board led by National President Drew Charman introduced each member of his team who gave a flavour of what we can look forward to in a year where our national theme is to #feelproud.
Sarah Beckwith National Deputy President and long standing JCI member talked about the challenge she has of acting as the ‘font of all JCI knowledge’ this year and to help share good practice amongst chambers, but with 8 years experience as a member, on local council teams as well as national board, I am sure she will easily fit this bill! She also summarized the JCI UK National Training Academies that we can look forward to in the year. The first one Marketing Academy runs 28th Feb and 1st March with half of the tickets already sold. Others to look forward to include Public Speaking Academy 9th & 10th May and Leadership Academy (LEAP) on 21st – 23rd August.
Michael Steel, Strategic Partnerships Director spoke about plans he has for JCI UK to forge new links with other relevant organisations including the fairly new National Citizens Service which has the potential to act as feeder organisation by inspiring young active citizens. He also spoke about other organisations that JCI UK is networking with on a national basis included the Lions Club and Rotaract, the junior element of The Rotary Club.
In the first round of recognition, Fiona Silvester National Membership & Admin Director gave out certificates to members who had completed ‘pathways’ in their first year of membership. This is a programme designed to help JCI members take full advantage of the different areas of opportunity. We were delighted that our very own Ryan Pilkington was awarded a certificate for being an active member.
Katie Ogley last years National Community Director who acted as project manager for the annual pound a day challenge, recognized members across the country who lived on £7 for a week and donated what they saved on their shopping to charity. Several Sheffield members were awarded a certificate for taking part. She also gave out awards to acknowledge members who logged volunteering hours within JCI and outside JCI as part of the ‘Active Citizen Experience’. Katie Jackson clocked up over 30 hours of volunteering and I was pleased to be acknowledged for logging 93 hours in 2014.
Joy Kingsley, JCI Senator and Senior Partner at Manchester law firm JMW was the first guest speaker. Joy explained how her past experience of serving as Local President of JCI Manchester in the 90s helped to give her the life skills and understanding to help her succeed in her career. She shared the keys to being a successful leader were also important aspects of being a JCI President, including the importance of adopting an open management style, embracing change in a positive way, holding on to an entrepreneurial spirit as well as making timely decisions.
In the afternoon Vikas Shah a 34 year old entrepreneur gave us a remarkable summary of his life and career so far. It was incredible to hear that he set up his own website development business at the tender age of 13 years old which was at the very beginning of the dot.com revolution. He told us that whilst most typical teenagers hang out with their mates and play football after school, Vikas would spend his evenings in his office creating websites for businesses.
As part of the audience he had us hanging off his every word as he used humour to tell his story. He stopped us in our tracks however, when he disclosed that he has suffered from severe depression on several occasions which led him to make a number of suicide attempts. His frank tales of how he has had to take the rough times with the smooth, cope with the many failed business ideas that flopped, coupled with the positive work he has done with charities to help them with their business strategy, made for compelling listening. I found Vikas to be a very humble man and he shared with us his key learning points which included 1) not to define yourself by your job; 2) money is not that important – but having passion and drive is (which then often leads to success); 3) focus on today, rather than worrying about what could happen; 4) be a good citizen and use your talents skills and experience to help others and finally 5) stay inspired – all of which has given me incredible food for thought.
You can read more about JCI Sheffield in Steel City News, the official JCI Sheffield magazine! To read the latest issues click here!
View more photo’s from Inspiration Day on our Pinterest board here!
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Ryan Pilkington