Introducing Mark Smith, President of JCI Sheffield.
Which chamber are you a member of?
How long have you been a JCI member?
Since 2012 when I learned about an open evening on twitter that JCI was running.
What made you join?
I loved the positivity and enthusiasm of all the people I met at that very first open evening. I could see how JCI could help me to ‘meet, learn and grow’ both personally and professionally. I liked that membership sounded like good value for money and that you could go to as many meetings, workshops and sessions as you wanted to and that it was flexible. I also liked the idea of the travel opportunities JCI can offer as that was something I wanted to do more of but was always a bit apprehensive about doing!
What is the most interesting JCI event you’ve been to and why?
This is a hard question to answer! I have really liked taking advantage of the international side by going to European conference and world congress as well as visiting our JCI Sheffield’s twin chamber, JCI. Mayo in Ireland. I like meeting people from different backgrounds and with different experiences and the international program really let’s you do this. I find listening to talks by successful business people very interesting and getting to ask them questions about what drives them and makes them motivated.
Had JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
A few that stick out in my mind include taking part in the community ‘BEach BETTER’ community project whilst at European Convention in Malta in 2014. We had the chance to go snorkelling and to pick up litter from the bottom of the sea bed in the local bay. It was surprising how much rubbish we found.
What is your job/career/profession/business?
I work for children’s charity SAFE@LAST as Director of Operations and Strategy. The charity supports children and young people at risk through running away in South Yorkshire. My role is to oversee aspects such as fundraising, volunteering, budgets and accounts, partnership working, marketing and communications so there is a lot of synergy with my involvement with JCI.
Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
I have made some really close friends through JCI, been able to visit countries and places I never thought I would go to and also had my view changed so it seems normal to me now to pop to another country for a long weekend of training! So JCI has widened my perspective! Its given me the opportunity to raise the profile of the charity I work for and has helped to attract new supports, donors and volunteers from the JCI network.
In terms of professionally, JCI has had a positive impact on making new connections and networks for work which has also resulted in donations and sponsorship of the charity as well as recruiting volunteers.
What’s your proudest achievement?
It has to be winning the most outstanding JCI member in the world award in 2014. I was completely lost for words and felt very proud to accept the award.
Which do you prefer cats or dogs?
I use to be a dog person when I was younger but now I love cats. I have four and they really are little people in fur coats!
Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done
Last year I trekked across the Sahara desert for SAFE@LAST with my good friend and fellow JCI member Dan Senter. I can honestly say if it wasn’t for JCI, I would never have had the courage, drive or determination to sign up to such a difficult challenge. It was an amazing yet tough experience and the sense of achievement is out of this world!
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Drew Charman