JCI Sheffield – Brief Encounter
I initially got involved with Junior Chamber International (JCI) in 2012 when I started University in Sheffield. I knew I wanted to get involved with a personal development organisation throughout my university studies and decided to attend a few of their networking events. However, becoming a university student ambassador and society president consumed a considerable chunk of my time an inevitably, my interest in JCI was placed temporarily on the back-burner. Nevertheless, I always checked their social media pages to see what the chamber was up to.
JCI Manchester – Active Member
I eventually graduated from Sheffield Hallam University and moved to Manchester for my first graduate job. This was the beginning of a slightly daunting but exciting journey of settling into a new city, job and finding a balance between work and social life. With the need to find something outside of work to get involved in, I joined JCI Manchester. I attended their new members’ evening and instantly made friends with a few new members and also members of the local council team.
Initially, I only attended social events as a way to meet like-minded young professionals and build my network in Manchester. I soon found out however, that JCI Manchester had a lot of other opportunities which inspired me to want more from my membership. In particular, as a professional in the Events Management industry, I saw the personal development opportunities around public speaking very useful and positive contributors to my business life and so, joined Manchester’s Public Speaking Club.
Being able to develop my public speaking and presenting skills in a safe environment really gave me a confidence boost. In November 2016, I participated in the JCI UK National Convention Debating competition. It was the most nerve-wracking experience preparing for the debate, but the skills I acquired leading up to the moment paid off. JCI Manchester won the first round of the competition and I felt relieved and inspired.
In November 2016, I launched my very own events agency–a major career leap for me–the friends I had made at JCI Manchester were a great support. In my persona as Agency Founder, I did a lot of pro bono work for local charities, helping with events and marketing strategies. Supporting these charities was all in all very satisfying and lent towards maximizing charity outreach through engaging events. In addition to personal work, I also volunteered my skills to JCI Manchester’s locally selected charity. Following these experiences, I decided to take the next step in my JCI journey and was elected to join Manchester’s local boards as Charity Director. I enjoyed this role thoroughly and worked with a fantastic team to organize a range of activities to support the chosen charity of the year.
JCI Nottingham – New Chapter
I relocated to Nottingham for work purposes, a bitter-sweet moment: I was saddened to leave the formidable Manchester chamber, yet full of anticipation for what was in store for me in Nottingham. I quickly found that Nottingham did not have an active JCI chamber and took the opportunity to reach out to other young professionals, working with the national board to get JCI Nottingham affiliated. Re-launching a new chamber gave me an insight into the wider organisation, from its constitution to the different areas of engagement for members. The launch event was a great sign for the newly affiliated JCI Nottingham. In attendance was newly elected JCI UK President Ben Hawley and former UK International Director Katie Ogley. The launch event was then followed by a Personal Development Training workshop at Nottingham Trent University and a social event. We have a lot of opportunities in Nottingham and I look forward to working with the local president Adam Richmond.
JCI UK – Community Director
In October 2017, I put forward my intention to stand for the position of JCI UK Community Director. I was elected into the position at the national council meeting, JCI UK National Convention hosted by JCI Southampton. I will now be working with the national board to support, develop and promote community projects. I have already launched the much-anticipated Pound a Day Challenge, which runs from January 13th – 19th 2018. The main aim of this challenge is to raise funds and awareness of food poverty in the UK. We encourage members and friends to live on £1 a day. We are supporting Save the Children charity with the aim of tackling the first two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. (SDG1 – End poverty & SDG2 – Seek sustainable solutions to end hunger)
JCI Connections & Opportunities
Everyone is unique and has different reasons for joining JCI; my journey has been a mixture of personal and professional development. I have had many opportunities to venture out of my comfort zone and granted opportunities to travel. My travels facilitated the making of international connections. This year I was privileged to attend the JCI World Congress in Amsterdam where I joined over 3000 people from across the world. Because of new international connections, I will be attending JCI Vienna’s Walz Gala at Hofburg Palace – who knows, I might have a Cinderella moment!
New Year – Forward Planning
2018 will be an amazing year for members. In the UK, our local chambers have a range of events, training academies and projects to engage both new and current members. Internationally, JCI UK members have opportunities to attend the European Academy hosted in Latvia and Goa, India for the World Congress just to name the main events.
I think my JCI journey has just taken an interesting, exhilarating turn! I have lots of ideas and projects in mind with JCI UK providing me with the platform to be creative. I am keen to develop new skills within JCI that can be translated into my day to day work life. My main goals for 2018 are to become a certified JCI trainer and to launch a community project that will engage both JCI members and non-members.
Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you’ve been inspired to get involved with a chamber near you!
JCI UK Community Director
Get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on twitter @phoebebenta !Tags: #jciukpoundaday, JCI Manchester, JCI Member, JCI Nottingham, JCI Sheffield, Leadership, Member Journey, Personal Development
This post was written by Phoebe Benta