This week, we caught up with our current Chamber President, Simon Bucknall. What’s his JCI story – and current perspective on membership and what it can offer?
How did you first hear about JCI?
JCI found me! Back in late 2007, I had had some success in the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. Tina Strack, President of JCI London at the time, got in touch and invited me in to run some public speaking workshops for the Council. It wasn’t long before I joined – and I’ve never looked back!
What do you feel is the biggest benefit of being a member of JCI?
OPPORTUNITIES! We’re living through perhaps the toughest job market in a generation. Economic malaise is rife and there are countless thousands of young people out there with so much to offer… but in need of opportunities through which to do so.
Unless you’ve secured an internship with literally your dream organisation, JCI membership beats unpaid internships any day. Why? Not because you get paid here – you don’t. None of us do – not even the President! But because the opportunity for you to make things happen are limitless – and all within a safe environment. You have complete flexibility and scope to use your initiative, while all the time working with like-minded ambitious young people from across a wide range of professional backgrounds.
If you want project management experience… you can help organise speaker events in business and in training. If you want to build an international network… you can connect with a global JCI network of more than 170,000 young professionals (last weekend saw JCI Berne in Switzerland host ‘European Capitals Meeting’). Next month, JCI Braunschweig in Germany will host JCI European Conference – and it’ll be HUGE). Equally, if you want to gain confidence in the public speaking… you can join our newly launched public speaking club. Simply make new friends and have fun… come to our regular socials. I could go on!
We get the idea! Sounds like you feel quite strongly about this?!
You bet. What baffles me is why there aren’t more young people approaching us and seizing these opportunities! Of course, as a chamber, we take responsibility for part of that – it’s up to us to get the message out there more; to hammer away at social media, blogs like this, via email, eNewsletters, calling friends, text messages and the rest. But we have events running pretty much every single week – and we’re not hard to find on google! The need out there is so strong… So, if you’re reading this and know someone who’s in search of practical skills and experience, get in contact! I’ll give you my email at the end…
How has JCI membership benefited your career?
in countless ways. I’m a professional speaker and have been running my own business since August 2008 (great timing, huh?) My first corporate client was Shell plc… would never have happened without JCI. One of my (now) closest colleagues is Richard Mullender, former hostage negotiator from Scotland Yard. Would never have met him… without JCI. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to audiences in India, Finland, Denmark and Japan. would never have happened… without… well, you get the idea. Honestly, and I really mean this, JCI has been a massively positive influence on me and my business in so many ways.
Are you saying that you have to become President in order to reap the benefits?
Not at all! None of the above personal benefits have had anything to do with being President. I was first introduced to Richard through JCI more than four years ago! Like anything in life, the more you put in, the more you get back. But even if you were simply to attend, say, a couple of events a month, the rewards you reap would be huge. They really would.
But you have to make a commitment – you have to invest in your own success.
But if you do that, you’ll hear from quality speakers like Vivi Friedgut (former Private Banker and now personal finance expert at Black Bullion) or Delfin Vassallo (Social Media Ops Manager at Nokia) or Lee Warren and James Harwood from InvisibleTraining. i met Lee after the first event in their ‘Business Magic@Work Series’ (run specially for JCI London) He’s a serious, serious expert at what he does – he’s got testimonials from Prince William for goodness sake! Nowhere else would you get access to this level of expertise – unless you’re prepared to fork out an absolute fortune. Deep breath… so, there you go. Hope that answers your question!
Uhm… yup! So what’s your top tip for readers of this article?
If you’re a JCI member, deicde to commit. Now. How? By registering for an event – any event! – right away. If you’re reading this article before 6pm on Thursday 17th May, then come to our Social Media workshop with Delfin. How can anyone serious about business NOT be interested in mastering social media? I know I am! Book your ticket and come along. This year’s programme is packed with value – we’d hate you to miss it. If next week, then how about Meet The Members? Or Business Magic 2? Here’s the link to all upcoming events…
If you’re new to JCI, then we’d love to see you at an event, also! But you may prefer first to take a look around the website – have a read and if you like what you see, drop me a line. Also you can check out our facebook page if you haven’t done so already… http://www.facebook.com/JCILondon
Finally, if you think any of this stuff could be of benefit to someone you know, then please forward this article to them – or forward the link. Too many young people are suffering from a lack of quality opportunities in this current climate. Maybe JCI can help?
And money needn’t be an issue – in fact, at 7pm on Wednesday 23rd May 2012, we’ll be hosting the second in event in our ‘Meet The Members Series’. Informal social in the City – all are welcome; tickets are free. you even get a free drink! Now how’s that for a bargain…?
Simon Bucknall is the 2012 President of JCI London.
His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Simon James Bucknall