JCI has been a part of my life since 2009 when I attended my first meeting at age 18 in JCI Antigua. I got involved with JCI Antigua as growing up I saw and benefited from their community outreach programs. After seeing how much impact and influence JCI had as a network I wanted to contribute. After relocating to the UK it was difficult to make new friends and to feel included in a new place, JCI seemed like the ideal solution and an opportunity to continue improving and developing my leadership skills.
JCI Sheffield – Brief Encounter
My local chamber was JCI Sheffield as I was studying for my BSc at Sheffield Hallam. I attended an event and immediately reconnected with the JCI purpose and mission. Over the last four years, JCI has been a significant part of my life providing me with opportunities and experiences that cannot be replicated in any other organisation. I knew JCI is an organisation that I want to be a part of and contribute towards indefinitely.
JCI Manchester – Active Member
After relocating to Manchester my natural instinct was to seek out the local chamber and so in 2016 I joined JCI Manchester. As with previous networks I got involved in the social and training events. This led to training in debating and participating in the National Convention debating competition that year. After this I was empowered to join the local board so I could help create the same type of opportunities I’ve had for our members. Over a short space of time, I was transformed with many of my past friends commenting on how my confidence had grown and how they admire my dedication to JCI.
JCI UK – Community Director
I wanted to offer my skills and enthusiasm for JCI on a larger scale and so I was elected as the Community Director for the National Board in 2018. In this role I was able to advocate projects such as JCI UK Pound A Day Challenge with raised £846.25 for our chosen charity and saw 12 chambers participate with over 20 participants. We had over 1391 volunteer hours logged as part of the ACE *Active Citizen Experience Project. We launched the Deaf Awareness week on Tour Nationally not forgetting the launch of World Clean Up Day at Launchpad. During my year as Community Director I worked on building interaction and engagement for all community projects by publishing over six blogs on the JCI UK website.
Being on the national board has given me significant insight into JCI as an organisation. This includes a more rounded understanding of our finances, constitution and the operations of managing and engaging with local chambers. The role was imperative to gaining further knowledge around the different local chambers needs and expectations of their National Board, of which I will utilise and build on as Deputy National President 2020.
JCI Nottingham – New Chapter & Leadership
After instigating the launch of JCI Nottingham I had the opportunity to do my one year to lead as Local President in 2019. The role of local president, especially for a new chamber, has its own unique challenges, which I met with determination and the support of our board. As such, whilst it has been challenging, it has also been one of the most rewarding and positive life changing experiences of my JCI journey to date. I have used this time to reflect and learn more about my leadership style and how to best work alongside our members.
Partnerships, Collaborations & Community
My personality type is largely red and blue, meaning I am focused on pragmatic solutions and achieving the objectives of my board in a time effective and budget conscious manner. One of the main challenges of re-launching JCI Nottingham has been maintaining the excitement for new members and the board, which is why I have focused on starting partnerships, collaborations and gaining sponsorship for our local chamber.
For example, starting a strategic partnership between the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and JCI Nottingham. This created a platform for JCI to promote the Sustainable Development Goals at the East Midlands Charity Awards of over 250 guests with the Lord Mayor of Nottingham being our guest. Nottingham Trent University became our training venue partner and the Institute of Mental Health fully sponsored our Mental Health Conference.
This has included opportunities to talk about JCI and its many benefits on BBC radio Nottingham and Notts TV. I am passionate about seeing chambers grow and engage with the community and this is one of the main reasons for standing for this role on National Board. I want to bring JCI UK to the forefront of the stage in creating advancement of the global community by providing the opportunity for young people to develop the leadership skills, social responsibility, fellowship and entrepreneurship necessary to create positive change.
Awards & Recognition
JCI Nottingham was awarded Most Outstanding New Local Organisation in Europe then went on to be recognised as one of the top three Most Outstanding New Local Organisation worldwide. At JCI UK National Conference 2019, we were awarded Best Local Personal Skill Development Programme. The highlight for me being awarded Most Outstanding Leader which was an unexpected award which I am grateful to have received.
New Year & Decade
My passion, understanding and dedication to JCI lies in knowing that as a community we must continue to learn from one another and grow our skills collaboratively. I intend to continue my JCI journey in line with our mission and purpose using my past experiences within the organisation to support our members and my own personal development. I can ensure that I will spend my year as Deputy preparing to become an even stronger leader, one that JCI UK chambers can rely on to support them and feel confident in eventually taking on the role of JCI UK National President.
Our Strategic Plan 2020 – 2024 is very ambitious and a great guide to moving JCI UK to the forefront of innovative change and opportunities for more young people. 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 keep developing new skills within JCI that can be translated into my day to day work life.
This is an organisation where we can reinvent ourselves and become the young leaders driving change in our communities.
Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you’ve been inspired to get involved with a chamber near you!
JCI UK Deputy National President 2020
Get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on twitter @phoebebenta or Facebook: @JCIUKDNP2020Tags: JCI Manchester, JCI Nottingham, Personal Development, Self development, Volunteering, Young Entrepreneur
This post was written by Phoebe Benta Benta