It’s Day 5 of Membership Impact Week and we’re talking to Local President of JCI Southampton Drew Charman.
Tell us about a typical day in the life of a local chamber president
As a Local President it’s my job to develop & oversee the strategic and day-to-day management of my Local Chamber. I’m not sure there is such a thing as a typical day for a Local President as most JCI activities are done in an out-of-hours capacity meaning that it can be considered a second job which you complete alongside your normal work – usually when you get home.
My day can include anything from running dinner training events, networking with members & other young business people, completing charity fundraising & hands-on community work or chairing JCI Southampton Council meetings helping my team to come up with a timetable of great events & initiatives that benefit the local membership in order to provide them with a broad portfolio of activities that cover the 5 element of JCI life: Community, Training, Business, National/International &, of course, Social.
Another function of being a Local President is being the public face of the Chamber. This can include working with local business leaders, appearing on local media or attending key National and International events.
What has been your proudest moment as president to date?
I think there are two moments that stand out during my time as Local President.
The first was winning the Best President (25-50 members) Award at last year’s JCI UK National Convention. It was great to be recognised by my JCI peers for not just my efforts as Local President but also those of the chamber as a whole – afterall, the President is only ever as good as the team he/she leads. I viewed this award as recognition of the collective efforts & hard work of the great team of people I worked with in 2011 & the broad programme of events that our membership enjoyed throughout the year.
The second was the launch of the Costa Academy in July this year. The Academy is a £29,000 joint project between JCI Southampton & Costa Coffee – the building of a dedicated training centre creating a host of apprenticeships & training opportunities within Costa for young people who may have exited secondary education without the required qualifications needed to gain employment. Not only does the Academy help employers to develop young people within the city, but the new venue also provides a meeting & training room for other local community organisations & clubs to utilise. All apprentices coming through the academy have the opportunity to join JCI through a funding scheme – allowing them to access the wide network of young professional members and business partner organisations both in Southampton and across the UK. This was a major initiative for JCI Southampton & the first of its type across JCI UK – something myself & my team hope other chambers will start replicating across the country with other partner organisations.
Has JCI presented any unusual or unexpected opportunities?
Aside from the opportunity to travel to foreign climes & network with up to 5,000 JCI members from across the world at international conferences, my time at JCI has also presented a few opportunities that might not pop up in day-to-day life. I often get asked by local media to take part in broadcasts to discuss how JCI & other similar organisations can benefit young professionals in the development of their careers. This has provided a great opportunity for me to spread the word about the fantastic work we do within JCI & the brilliant people that make it all happen.
Is there anything you have done as a JCI member that has benefited your career?
I recently made it onto my company’s brand new Management Talent Development programme which has been designed to develop individuals that are seen as high performers with great potential to be best placed to become the company’s future leaders. The selection process was tough & very competitive with many of those employees eligible to apply going for just a few available spaces. After making it through the initial application round I had to complete a presentation to 3 members of the senior management team & then face a rigorous panel interview.
There’s no doubt that my time at JCI, including my two years as Local President, helped me to secure a place on the programme. I included JCI experiences in my presentation & used examples in answers to one or two of the interview questions. The structured feedback I received from the Senior Management team indicated that they recognised the impact JCI had had on shaping the development of my career and my aspirations & how being a JCI member had actively helped prepare me for my presentation & interview.
How would you describe JCI to someone who has never heard of it before?
I would describe JCI as a fantastic worldwide organisation for the networking & personal development of young professionals & entrepreneurs with a key focus on community action. Joining the organisation & becoming an active member is a great way to expand your professional network, gain access to both personal & professional development opportunities, contribute to your local community through charitable fundraising & hands-on work, and make great lifelong friends whilst doing so. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done & my life quite simply wouldn’t be the same without it!
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Sarah Beckwith