Hi I’m Ilona Alcock, JCI UK TOYP Director this year. I was keen to hear more from other JCI members who have run this amazing project in previous years and to share their tips for success. First up – Sofie Sandell, past President of JCI London and coordinator of the 2012 JCI London TOYP programme. Two of last year’s London winners went on to become global finalists so she’s definitely got some great experience to share!
How did you get involved with TOYP?
I wanted to run a local TOYP project in London as it had never been done whilst I had been involved. There are thousands of inspiring young people living London and we should recognize them! I had the London TOYP project in mind for a couple of years and it was about time to do the first one. In the beginning of 2012 (actually during JCI UK Inspiration day in Birmingham) I discussed it with Simon Bucknall, 2012 JCI London President, and he was also keen to do it. We kicked off the project in February.
Why was it important to you and your Chamber?
It’s important for an organisation such as JCI to show that we are supporting young inspiring people. It broadens our network and shows what JCI is about. Not only is it great for the profile of JCI, it’s a fun and inspiring project to run.
What challenges did you face when running the JCI London TOYP programme?
It was pretty easy to find people or for them to find us, but when we had all the nominees it was a bit of a challenge to get all the administration right. A lot of documentation has to be correct when you are submitting your nominees; it was a blessing to be able to use electronic signatures.
In the beginning of the project we also thought that we could only nominate people who were born in the UK, but it is ok to nominate people holding other passports as well. We had local TOYP winners from the UK, Germany and Belgium.
What was the best part of TOYP?
It was getting to know our eight amazing winners and to hear their stories. They are awesome and very inspiring people.
You put forward two global winners which is amazing! What advice would you give to people looking for candidates this year?
- Tell everyone you know that you are looking for outstanding young people.
- Write a good introduction on what TOYP is about and add to your website and newsletter. Make sure you share this with all your members.
- Ask past winners if they know anyone.
- Check out other awards for your leaders and entrepreneurs – you will find many inspiring people there.
- And always include that the nominees don’t have to be connected to JCI in any way, it’s open for anyone to be a TOYP winner.
Any other tips for running a successful TOYP programme?
- start your research early.
- Have your final nomination date a few weeks before the last day to submit your nominees to JCI on a global level.
- Proof read and edit all applications so they are easy to understand. Many of the international JCI judges don’t have English as their first language and they might not be familiar with British culture.
Any member can run this project. Through the people you meet and the experience of leading this project you will be inspired and grow with your own personal development.
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