The end of April saw the JCI Southampton team host JCI UK Presidents & Deputies Weekend – an event for all Local Presidents & their Deputies to come together (along with the National Board) to meet, share ideas, learn & have lots of fun. A packed two day schedule on 28th & 29th April comprised of the first National Council meeting of 2012 plus various training sessions & social events designed to provide a 2nd quarter springboard for the new Presidents & Deputies to carry on into their year of office.
We kicked off the weekend with dinner out in Bedford Place on Friday night with those delegates who arrived early – treating everyone to some good old fashioned Italian cuisine at Pulcinella restaurant accompanied by a spot of in-house live music. In their excitement & haste to get to the delights of Southampton as quickly as possible some of the London delegation managed to get on the wrong train but they found their way to us eventually making up good time & we all had a great evening of catching up & getting ready for the weekend ahead.
National Council on Saturday morning saw lots of useful discussion & sharing of best practice – all with an emphasis of leading the UK organisation forward. We also got to witness the official voting in of the 2012 Deputy National President – Emma Eastwood. Emma is a Past President of Leeds & current JCI UK Training Director and is someone I’ve known for a long time now. She’s a truly fantastic person who’s commitment & enthusaiasm to all things JCI is thoroughly infectious. I can’t think of a better person to take on the role of Deputy National President this year and I look forward to working with her throughout the remainder of 2012 and indeed next year when she’ll become JCI UK National President. Many congratulations Emma – truly deserved!
We were joined on Saturday afternoon by Erica Neve & Kelvin Lockwood who gave a wonderfully insightful look into the world of Learning & Development In A Digital Age. This gave the delegates an opportunity to get stuck into everything the modern age can provide in terms of digital learning by using an interactive workshop session to share how various media streams can provide organisations with the tools they need to deliver their products & services and how to best use them to continually reach ever widening & innovative markets.
We finished Saturday with drinks & dinner at Cargo in Oxford Street. A meal for 30 people is no easy task to organise but it’s made even more interesting when Southampton is out in force celebrating! As you’ll all know by now, the weekend was a very special one for the city of Southampton as our football team were promoted to the Premiership earlier on Saturday afternoon and it was fantastic to see the city celebrating in true style. The atmosphere out on the town & indeed in the restaurant was electric & something my colleagues from across JCI UK will not forget in quite some time. Well done Saints & many thanks to Cargo for managing the dinner so well in the face of adversity in sheer numbers!
We were also very lucky to be joined by a surprise guest – Peter Robertson, President of Southampton Chamber of Commerce (& a Director of Hapmpshire Chamber of Commerce). Peter heard we were dining in Cargo & dropped by to welcome all the delegates to the city of Southampton and re-iterate the importance of the relationship between the Chamber of Commerce and Junior Chamber International. Peter also highlighted the significance of the football team’s promotion earlier that day and how the huge injection of cash that the city will receive from this brilliant achievement is of significant importance to the city.
On Sunday all the Local Presidents took part in the second Presidents ‘Local Leaders’ training session of the year (the first having been at Inspiration Day in Birmingham back in January). Some of us were out until 4am the night before tripping the light fantastic & then up again at 8am – but we’re troopers & had a great second day. Throughout the whole morning we constantly shared our successes, and indeed failures (as we can all learn from our mistakes), with each other in order to share best practice & strengthen each other as Presidents & in so doing the Chambers we represent. We were also treated to a very interesting presentation about the history of JCI as an organisation. Did you know JCI was created in St Louis, USA and started out as a dancing club in the 1900s?! I certainly didn’t… It’s amazing how organisations can transform over the years.
I have to say I always really enjoy these weekends! They can be hard work with the late nights, early starts & packed daytime schedules, but to be in a room full of fellow JCI members who strive to get the most out of their membership by embracing national activities over & above the ones they already partake in locally always emphasises the reasons I joined JCI. As both a Local President & a fellow member of JCI I get to engage with like-minded people who give so much of themselves to the growth & development of their communities as well gaining much more personally in return. Not only are we able to bounce ideas off each other, offer support & advice to strengthen each other’s chambers & shape the future of the UK organisation but also gain some amazing life-long friends in doing so.
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Drew Charman