Interview with Phoebe Benta, JCI UK Deputy National President

Interview with Phoebe Benta, JCI UK Deputy National President

August 10, 2020 8:43 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Past Local President – JCI Nottingham 

Year of Presidency: 2019

How long have you been a member: 2015

How did you hear about JCI and why did you join? 

JCI has been a huge part of my life since 2009 when I attended my first meeting at the of age 18, held in Antigua. I got involved with JCI Antigua as growing up I saw and benefited from their community outreach programmes. After seeing how much impact and influence JCI had as a network, I wanted to contribute. After relocating to the UK it was difficult to make new friends and to feel included in a new place. However, JCI seemed like the ideal solution and an opportunity to continue improving and developing my leadership skills. My local chamber was JCI Sheffield as I was studying for my BSc at Sheffield Hallam University. I attended an event and immediately reconnected with the JCI purpose and mission. Over the last four years JCI has been a significant part of my life, providing me with opportunities and experiences that cannot be replicated in any other organisation. As I progressed more into the organisation, I saw JCI as an organisation that I would want to be a part of long term and contribute towards indefinitely.

Can you briefly tell me about your JCI Journey? 

Growing up, I was very shy and my self-confidence was non-existent. I really found public speaking very traumatic and never saw myself becoming a leader. However, the changes I have seen in myself over the last 10 years have been remarkable and much of this is thanks to JCI, which has played a huge part in my personal transformation. 

I was always a very approachable person and always keen in taking new opportunities. When the opportunity came for me to join JCI Manchester local board in 2016, I joined as the Community Director, working with local charities and projects, which was very exciting. I had the opportunity to be a part of the 2016 National Conference debating team, which was one of my proudest moments whilst representing JCI Manchester. 

In 2017, I relocated to Nottingham and was a key part  of the JCI Nottingham relaunch. I then joined the National Board in 2018 as Community Director, which gave me significant insight into the organisation. This includes a more rounded understanding of our finances, constitution and the operations of managing and engaging with local chambers. The role was imperative to gaining further knowledge around the different local chambers’ needs and expectations of National Board. 

In 2019, I was JCI Nottingham’s Local President, which was the most challenging and exciting experience of my JCI career. Being Local President gave me the opportunity to lead and motivate a council team. It was an exciting time for JCI Nottingham as we made a lot of connections and built relationships with the city council, universities and chamber of commerce. This in turn provided valuable opportunities for the members. 

What’s your profession? 

I am an Events Professional, I have been in the industry for 8 years. From destination weddings, film premieres and Tour de France, I have built up a portfolio of managing great events. I have created and launched my own events namely the North West Charity Awards and East Midlands Charity Awards.

Can you use what you have learned in JCI in your job? 

1000% Yes! From public speaking, negotiation and project management these are some of the training events offered by JCI which I have taken into my professional life. I am more confident with my discussions and have used things like my Insights Discovery profile to better communicate with my team. 

What was it that made you put yourself forward for the role as Local President?

The Local President position is a great opportunity to lead a team and make a positive impact in the community. I put myself forward because it felt like the right time and from being on the national board the previous year, where I gained such insightful and in depth understanding of the JCI organisation, this gave me a push of wanting to do more and to use the knowledge that I gained to help develop the JCI Nottingham branch. 

What has been your proudest moment in JCI so far?

As the local president of JCI Nottingham, one of my proudest moments by far, was being awarded Best Local Personal Skills Development Programme in Europe and also being  shortlisted for the Best Local Project at this year’s JCI European Conference. Receiving this award has been such a tremendous experience and great accomplishment for the JCI members, as personal development is seen as one of the strongest key areas of development.

Why should more people join JCI?

If you would like to experience a network with other like-minded and ambitious young people, JCI is an organisation for you. From the training and development opportunities to being able to lead in a safe environment, JCI is a great place to discover your true potential.

Who is a leader you admire?

I admire Oprah Winfrey as a leader, she is a remarkable woman who shows that it doesn’t matter your circumstances you can be better and successful in life.

Do you have a favourite quote?

“I am a woman in process. I’m just trying like everybody else. I try to take every conflict, every experience, and learn from it. Life is never dull”-Oprah Winfrey

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This post was written by Phoebe Benta Benta

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