JCI Journey: How Sophie, Zoe & Mark Were Inspired by Riga

JCI Journey: How Sophie, Zoe & Mark Were Inspired by Riga

July 22, 2018 8:51 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

A month has passed since the European Conference in Riga, Latvia, yet we can still hear the inspiring keynote speakers, see the spectacular midsummer bonfires and feel the excitement from the gala dinner.

Our JCI Journeys usually focus on the experiences of 1 member. However, as Riga far exceeded our expectations (which were already pretty high), we have 3 wonderful guest bloggers for this article:

Profile photo of JCI member Sophie Delaporte

Sophie Delaporte (JCI Southampton)

Profile photo of JCI member Zoe Toseland

Zoe Toseland (JCI Southampton)

Profile photo of Mark Cheret

Mark Cheret (JCI London)


Unsurprisingly, Sophie, Zoe and Mark found it difficult to choose only 1 event highlight…

Sophie Delaporte

Our bloggers enjoying the midsummer festivities at Jurmala Beach

JCI’s European Conferences are always good fun and Riga seemed particularly well organised. Even though I only attended the last 2 days of this conference, it felt like an amazing holiday. I enjoyed a fantastic gala dinner and caught up with members and friends I’d met at previous international events. I particularly loved the Midsummer Festival in Jurmala where we discovered Latvian culture. Flower crowns, fires on the beach and traditional folk music…I loved every minute!


JCI UK members at the pre-gala dinner drinks reception

James Lambert (L), Sophie (C) and Zoe (R) at the pre-gala dinner drinks reception

Zoe Toseland

Aside from the very unexpected award for Most Outstanding New Member, the women’s leadership workshop was really empowering. It was fantastic to hear Dawn Hetzel and Chiara Milani – past JCI World Presidents – talk about challenges and barriers for women going into leadership roles.

Attendees at a women's leadership workshop

Women in leadership workshop

Mark Cheret

JCI UK members at a restaurant

JCI UK members at Easy Beer restaurant

With the excitement of new experiences at conferences, you sometimes forget to stay properly hydrated, well fed and adequately rested. With the European Conference in Riga, I had no issue with the first 2 points. Food and drinks were plentiful, and for lunch attendees were encouraged to explore the city’s amazing restaurants. This was an excellent twist to what you’d usually expect from a large-scale event (monotonously lining up for a centralised heated food tent!). Regarding sleep, I’d chosen to thoroughly enjoy the international flair rather than staying within the 4 walls of the – admittedly very impressive – hotel room.

What inspired me the most, however, was the camaraderie amongst the UK delegation; it felt like being part of an immense and caring family. Members flew in just for the gala dinner, to show their support and cheer on the nominees. The authenticity filled me with a great energy and I’ll never forget my time in beautiful Riga.


Cityscape of Riga at nighttime

Riga: a beautiful and unforgettable city


Upcoming Conferences

Feeling inspired? JCI hosts conferences ranging from national, to European to global:

JCI UK National Convention 2018 / Doncaster, South Yorkshire / 23rd-25th November / Website
JCI World Congress 2018 / Goa, India / 30th October – 3rd November / Website
JCI European Conference 2019 / Lyon, France / 8th-11th May / Facebook Page

Tags: , , , ,

Categorised in:

This post was written by Hannah Woodcock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *