JCI UK Virtual Conference 2020 – “What’s The Future?”


Normally during the month of November, JCI UK would hold its annual National Convention.  Unfortunately, due to ongoing restrictions related to COVID-19, this will not be possible this year.  However, JCI UK are delighted to be able to replace its normal National Convention with its first ever Virtual Conference which will take place on Friday 27 November 2020 and Saturday 28 November 2020 for both JCI members and non-members.  

Tickets are just £20 and can be booked online at https://bit.ly/2SIXCj0

The theme of our Virtual Conference is “What’s The Future?” and will tie in with the following themes:

  • Sustaining and rebuilding businesses and economies;
  • Engaging and empowering the workforce; and
  • Acknowledging, understanding, and finding solutions to the mental health impact COVID-19 has had.  

The theme of our conference was devised to fit in with the JCI RISE initiative.  JCI RISE stands for Rebuild, Invest, Sustain, Evolve and was launched as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It calls upon enterprising young leaders across the world to work together to make economies and workforces more resilient.  

On Friday 27 November 2020, we will welcome a mixture of keynote speakers who will deliver interactive sessions focusing on our “What’s The Future” theme. Please see below for details of our speakers and a full programme of events.

On Saturday 28 November 2020, we will be running a free virtual version of the JCI UK National Convention which will see amongst other things our debating competition, an interactive session as to what the future could hold for JCI members in 2021 and our national awards ceremony. Please see below a full programme of events.

To keep up to date with all the latest news on our inaugural Virtual Conference please keep visiting this website and follow JCI UK Virtual Conference 2020 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn!  For any further information regarding JCI UK’s inaugural Virtual Conference please contact the Conference Organising Director Vicky Biggs at vicky.biggs@jciuk.org.uk.  

Full Programme of Events – Friday 27 November 2020

Full Programme of Events – Saturday 28 November 2020

Speakers at our Virtual Conference

Here are the details of the speakers we’ve announced for our virtual conference.

Andy Burnham – Mayor of Greater Manchester

Andy Burnham was elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester in May 2017.

Responsible for shaping the future of Greater Manchester, Andy’s priorities include ending rough sleeping, transforming Greater Manchester into one of the greenest city regions in Europe, and making Greater Manchester a great place to live, get on, and grow old.

Before being elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy was MP for Leigh from 2001. In Government, Andy has held Ministerial positions at the Home Office, Department of Health and the Treasury. In 2008 he became Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, before returning to Health as Secretary of State in 2009. In opposition, Andy has served as Shadow Education Secretary, Shadow Health Secretary and Shadow Home Secretary.

Andy lives in Leigh, Greater Manchester, with his wife and three children. He is a keen supporter of Everton FC.

At our Virtual Conference on Friday 27 November 2020, Andy will answer your questions on his vision for the future, opportunities arising for young people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, sustaining and rebuilding economies and promoting good mental health.

Paul McGee – the Sumo Guy

Paul McGee, also known as the Sumo Guy, is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has worked with over 1,000 organisations including Harrods, Standard Bank, Manchester City Football Club, Durham University, Specsavers and Virgin Trains. SUMO has been used extensively around the world. It equips people with the insights, inspiration and practical tools to achieve better results in life, whilst having more fun in the process.

At our virtual conference, Paul will be providing us with his insights, inspiration and practical tools in regards to change, resilience and leadership through times of crisis.

Ben Hall – Senior Search Associate at Merc Partners

Ben is a Senior Associate with Merc Partners, part of the Spencer Stuart Group, a leading executive search firm that helps globally recognised companies find their top talent. Ben works across a wide range of industries and functions and his successful appointments include the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Chief Transformation Officer for An Post and Director of Marketing for Accenture. Ben has been a JCI member since 2018 and is a JCI World Debating Champion and current Secretary of JCI Dublin.

At our virtual conference, Ben will be doing a talk and Q&A session about the skills that business leaders are likely to need in the future. He will be telling us all about the skills to start working on now so that you have them in the future when you are in a senior role.

Conor Lambe – Chief Economist at Danske Bank

Conor acts as Danske Bank’s spokesperson and trusted subject matter expert on all UK and Northern Ireland economic and related matters. Conor is responsible for Danske Bank’s Quarterly Sectoral Forecasts and Consumer Confidence Index and is a regular contributor across the local media. He often speaks at business functions and with Danske Bank customers on his views around the global, UK and Northern Ireland economies.

At our virtual conference, Conor will be sharing his insights on what is driving the performance of the economy, whether current trends will continue and what economics and analytics tell us about the future.

Vikas Shah, MBE – Entrepreneur & Philanthropist

Vikas Shah MBE is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Amongst his many accomplishments, he is Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT Sloan, Honorary Professor of Business at The Alliance Business School, University of Manchester and an Honorary Industry Fellow at the University of Salford Business School. Vikas is an accomplished public speaker, with international experience of delivering keynotes and providing insights at business conferences and business events. In 2018, he was a speaker at the largest TEDX event in Europe, TEDXManchester, where he discussed his own experience with depression and anxiety.

Vikas will be one of our panellists for our mental health panel discussion which will focus on acknowledging, understanding and finding solutions to the mental health impact COVID-19 has had.

Maria Perkins – Qualified Youth Worker and Programme Co-Ordinator with Youth ActionNI

Maria is a qualified youth worker and programme co-ordinator with Youth ActionNI. Her passion is in the design and delivery of rights based youth work programmes to groups of young people and students at Ulster University. Maria has worked extensively with groups of marginalised young people in interface areas, the children of political ex-prisoners and young mothers. She has seen first hand the impact of conflict on mental health. She is currently LIFEMAPS Champion, responsible for the roll out of a toolkit to help boost positive mental health. She is also a social justice campaigner with the 123GP Campaign which aims to have an in-house counsellor in every GP surgery throughout Northern Ireland.

Maria will be one of our panellists for our mental health panel discussion which will focus on acknowledging, understanding and finding solutions to the mental health impact COVID-19 has had.

Dave Smithson – Operations Director, Anxiety UK

Dave is the Operations Director at Anxiety UK, responsible for overseeing all operational aspects of service delivery for the user-led charity, providing access to therapy services for people with a range of anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression. His role includes overseeing the clinical governance and quality assurance of all therapy provision, monitoring evaluation outcomes and reviewing feedback from clients on their user experience. Dave represents Anxiety UK by speaking on its behalf at various forums and working groups.

Dave will be one of our panellists for our mental health panel discussion which will focus on acknowledging, understanding and finding solutions to the mental health impact COVID-19 has had. In addition, Dave will give a short keynote talk and answer your questions in relation to mental health, navigating change and supporting the most vulnerable.

Emma Kerrywood – Senior Branch Manager at Linley and Simpson Estate Agents and JCI UK National President in 2013

Emma has worked in residential property since 1998. In her last role, she attended a two day mental health first aider course and subsequently setup a wellness committee within the workplace. She has recently joined Linley and Simpson as the Senior Branch Manager responsible for the Leeds City Centre office. In her JCI career, Emma joined JCI Leeds in 2006, went on to be Local President of JCI Leeds in 2009, National Training Director of JCI UK in 2013 and JCI UK’s National President in 2013.

Emma will be one of our panellists for our mental health panel discussion which will focus on acknowledging, understanding and finding solutions to the mental health impact COVID-19 has had.

Hannah Woodcock – Content Writer, Hallmark Cards

Hannah is a content writer at Hallmark, a leading greeting cards company, and specialises in supportive editorial. After being selected for “Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace” training, she has advised Hallmark Cards’ wellbeing programme and created resources promoting good mental health. Hannah has facilitated writing workshops for Ilkley Literature Festival and Leeds Beckett University, and is studying for a Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language. As Community Action Director for JCI UK in 2019, Hannah ran several projects focussed on health and wellbeing, including Step Up January. She also co-ordinated the Mindful Matters Conference and hosted a panel discussion of industry professionals. For World Mental Health Day in 2019, she published a digital booklet filled with members’ ideas and inspiration for improving wellbeing.

Hannah will be our facilitator for our mental health panel discussion which will focus on acknowledging, understanding and finding solutions to the mental health impact COVID-19 has had.

Phil Korbel – Co-Founder and Director of Advocacy at the Carbon Literacy Project

Most people will be aware of the rising profile of global warming as a policy issue but how ready do you feel to act on it? The science is clear, that nothing short of rapid large scale change in how we live and do business will bring the risks created by the climate crisis within acceptable bounds. There are also significant opportunities in getting on-board with climate action, as more and more clients and employees demand it and new low carbon goods and services enter the market.

The Carbon Literacy Project is a Manchester based NGO that oversees the roll-out of its framework for climate action training across the UK and beyond. The Project’s Co-Founder and Director of Advocacy is Phil Korbel and in his session during our Virtual Conference he will outline the relevance of the climate emergency to all businesses and how Carbon Literacy is being utilised as the first step to enabling a wide-range of organisations to play their part in tackling it.

Adam Coleman, CEO and Founder of HR Locker

Adam is the CEO and Founder of HRLocker. Prior to setting up HRLocker, Adam held Senior HR Positions in both O2 UK and O2 Ireland and was head of HR for Esat Digifone. Adam setup HRLocker in 2014. His mission is to develop HRLocker as the go-to market platform for the HR sector in the SME market. He places a strong emphasis on work culture and places productivity and adult development at the centre of the HRLocker strategy. His role is to develop strong partnerships and lead his teams in developing and implementing “best in class” HR solutions. Adam loves talking to partners and customers and watching his colleagues push the boundaries of the impossible to the possible.

Adam will be one of our panellists which will discuss the future of work and remote working. This is a really interesting and current topic which has come to the forefront in 2020 given the changes many of us will have experienced this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Louise McGeady, Founder and Principal Consultant at Opal People Solutions

Louise is the founder and principal consultant at Opal People Solutions. A graduate of Ulster University, she has a BSc in Human Communication and a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management. Louise founded Opal People Solutions following a long career as a Human Resource Manager in both the food manufacturing and logistics/supply chain industries. Opal People Solutions provide professional advice and support to businesses, helping them to achieve the best outcome for the business and its people. They work closely with their clients in order to provide practical solutions which help deliver exceptional results for their clients.

Opal’s expertise includes drafting contracts of employment, employee handbooks and policies and procedures, building strategies to improve employee engagement, employment law advice, advice when disciplinary and grievance situations arise, advising and implementing strategies to deal with change management, providing leadership and management development training, implementing sickness absence management policies, devising HR strategies and finally providing practical tools in relation to performance management.

Louise will be one of our panellists which will discuss the future of work and remote working. This is a really interesting and current topic which has come to the forefront in 2020 given the changes many of us will have experienced this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarah Beckwith, Communication Facilitator and JCI UK National President 2016

Sarah helps introverted professionals communicate confidently in a workplace favouring extroverts. She provides presentation development, training and one-to-one support services. Sarah is a long-standing and very active member of JCI and her JCI roles have included President of JCI London in 2011 and JCI UK National President in 2016.

At our Virtual Conference, Sarah will be facilitating our future of work and remote working panel discussion with Adam Coleman and Louise McGeady.

Bianca Boyce, Life Coach and Trainer

Bianca is a life coach, trainer, motivational speaker, podcaster and vlogger. Bianca runs her own coaching business that provides services to businesses and individuals. She excels in the coaching arena, and is a strong advocate for internal change breeding external success. She has run various training programmes relating to leadership, public speaking, personality profiling, building confidence, enhancing emotional intelligence, eliciting core values and many more. Bianca has a strong track record in developing future leaders and in scaling businesses.

At our Virtual Conference, Bianca will deliver a keynote speech and answer your questions on emotional intelligence and acting on a vision.

Jenni Ahlstedt, JCI Vice President

Jenni is a 2020 JCI Vice President and this year has supported JCI UK in its activities. Outside of JCI, Jenni works as a radio show host, project leader and event organizer for her own company. Jenni lives in Stockholm. Jenni is a very active member of JCI and has held a number of leadership roles within JCI including Local President of JCI Pirkanmaa in 2011, National President of JCI Sweden in 2015 and JCI European Academy Director in 2018.

At our Virtual Conference, Jenni will be leading an interactive training session as to what the future could hold for JCI members in 2021.

James Lambert, JCI UK’s 2020 National President and Tax Manager at Beaumont Seymour Accountants

James is JCI UK’s National President for 2020 and is also a Tax Manager at Beaumont Seymour Accountants.

As National President for JCI UK in 2020, James is responsible for leading JCI UK in 2020 and the JCI UK National Board team. He represents JCI UK nationally and internationally, supports the local Presidents in the UK and set the national strategies and the Plan of Action for the year.

At our Virtual Conference, James will be facilitating our Q&A session with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

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