rss feed
27th Jun, 2011

Making a World of Difference – JCI Ignite
by Sarah Beckwith on June 27, 2011 21:27


Do you want to be involved in something that will make a difference to your life and the world? Do you want a sense of achievement for doing something rewarding for other people? Do you want to develop those skills you have but not sure how to make it happen? We are looking for members to get involved in this amazing new project and help us build an amazing new chamber that will spread the word of JCI Locally, Nationally and internationally - lets make a difference by starting at home!

JCI London is the most international Chamber in the world. It has just over 160 members from over 30 different nationalities. Everyone of those people joined JCI London for a reason - either to develop themselves, to build strong and lasting networks and to make a difference in the community. JCI London is thriving! So we would like to cerate more leadership opportunities for people to get involved with by creating a brand new chamber in London - JCI Ignite.

This new Chamber will work with JCI London to provide more opportunities for all their members, from Leadership Prospects, Personal Development, Community Involvement, more International Connections with new twin chambers around the world and giving people the confidence and power to create lasting friendships and networks.

There is an initial project meeting to discuss next steps on 4th July 2011 at the London Chamber of Commerce office and we have a number of project areas/roles that need to be filled which include (and not limited to):

1. Contacts and Referrals: Identify potential members and business, government and Community leaders who can refer their employees and contacts to the new Local Organisation. Everyone involved can contribute to the Local Organisation's contact list with their own personal and business contacts that may be interested.

2. Promotion and Publicity: Create, distribute and follow up press releases, advertisements, photography, and video for newspapers, magazines, web, radio and/or television; Create and distribute flyers, signs, advertisements and invitations; administer website.

3. Recruiting: Call, email, or write to all contacts and referrals to discuss the Local Organisation, invite them to events, and encourage their involvement. Make appointments and conduct face-to-face meetings with business and community leaders in order to explain the Organisation and elicit their support and sponsorship.

4. Finances: Keep records of all receipts and expenditures of the committee, including dues and affiliation fees and issue invoices for new members. Ensure that every expense is properly approved and presented to the treasurer of the sponsoring Local Organisation, if they are providing the funding.

5. Programme and Events: Coordinate and plan all informational meetings and events held, including Launch Party. Arrange for speaker or plan presentation, set agenda, invite appropriate sponsors, donors and supporters, coordinate location and logistics, and advise publicity committee of relevant information.

6. Follow-up: Provide support and guidance to the new Local Organisation after it is chartered and a board of directors has been elected. Ensure a Plan of Action is written and implemented and act in an advisory capacity, offer guidance and practical help where necessary.

If any of these areas interest you, or you think you can assist in any other way, please come along to the project meeting on 4th July.

In the mean time, if you have any questions, queries or anything else - please feel free to email

Nadene Jones -


Read more

26th Jun, 2011

Half Year Review
by Sarah Beckwith on June 26, 2011 18:05


We're now half way through the year and what a year it is turning out to be!  So far this year, JCI London has:

  • Organised around 40 events locally (more than 2 per week!)
  • Taken part in all major national events, including inspiration day, the marketing academy and presidents and deputies day
  • Had 10 members graduate from JCI Presenter and 10 from JCI Trainer
  • Saved 8 lives via bed net donations to say thank you to our trainers
  • Launched a new website and posted 42 blog articles
  • Had attendees at 3 out of the 4 international regional conferences: 1 attendee each at Asia-Pacific  and the Americas (plus a few senators) and around 15 members at European Conference
  • Raised over £40 for Nothing But Nets via our penny jar collection


And that's just the first half of the year.  If you haven't taken full advantage of your JCI membership yet, look out for the following opportunities coming up:

  • More fundraising for Nothing But Nets via a pub quiz (13 July), clothes collection and the penny jar
  • World Congress in Brussels - our delegation is determined to make a huge impact once again
  • Take on a leadership role -elections for next year's council taking place at our AGM in October. 
  • Experience the international aspect of JCI either at home at our Twinning Weekend or away at one of the many international events (Beat of Berlin, Crayfish Party, Know-How Transfer).
  • And many many wonderful local events in all areas of opportunity...see the events diary for details!


Read more

21st Jun, 2011

Staines Memorial
by Sarah Beckwith on June 21, 2011 22:29


18 June 1972 saw one of the worst disasters in the history of UK aviation.  British European Airways flight 548 crashed 3 minutes into its journey from London Heathrow to Brussels.  All 118 passengers and crew on board were killed.  JCI Belgium lost 7 members and 2 spouses, who were returning from the JCI European Conference in Edinburgh and many of whom were part of their national board.  Since this time there has been a close relationship between JCI London and JCI Belgium.

Blog » Random » Memorial service Staines - 4.jpg  Blog » Random » Staines Memorial.jpg

Every year a memorial service is held in Staines near the site of the crash.  At this year's service, held on Saturday, were representatives from British Airways and the Cabin Crew Association, the Mayor of Spelthorne, the Deputy Chief Executive of Spelthorne Borough Council, as well as one of the fire fighters who attended the crash and the first person to the scene - a local resident and nurse.

Three JCI members came over from Belgium - Dominiek Callewier, Olivier De Block and Willy Machiels.  JCI London was represented by Sofie Sandell (JCI London President 2008), Marco van den Heuvel (JCI London President 2009) and myself.  Despite the somber circumstances, it was a good opportunity to make new international friends.  Sofie and I enjoyed a dinner with Dominiek and Olivier on Friday night and all six JCI members had lunch together after the ceremony.

 Blog » Random » Staines Memorial Group.jpg

JCI Belgium set up the Staines Memorial Foundation after the crash to help support the education of the children of the victims of the crash.   Today it continues to support relatives of the crash victims, as well as being used to provide insurance for all JCI Belgium members when attending JCI events.

One of the most important and prestigious duties for the JCI London President is being invited to give a speech and present the Staines Memorial Award every year at the JCI Belgium National Awards Ceremony.  The Award is the highest honour a member of JCI Belgium can receive, for outstanding services to the organisation and community.  I am looking forward to travelling to Deinze to make the presentation in September.

Next year will be the 40th anniversary of the crash.  JCI Belgium and JCI London plan to work together to commemorate the anniversary.  The ceremony will be taking place at 11am on Monday 18th June at St Mary's Church, Staines.  We would like to have as many JCI members from both organisations attend as possible and encourage you to put it in your diaries now.




Read more

21st Jun, 2011

JCI UK ACE Project- Going the Extra Mile
by Soraya Bowen on June 21, 2011 16:10


Mehnaz pic for JCIUK&JCILND blog.jpg

Active Citizen Experience (ACE) is the new awards programme from JCI United Kingdom that that recognises JCI members volunteering their time, both inside and outside of JCI in their, local community.

Meet Mehnaz Siddiqui, Community Team Member to find out how she's making an impact in her local community.

Can you tell us about your background?
I am a lawyer working for a firm in central London.

Why did you join JCI?
I joined JCI because I wanted to be part of a professional organisation that encourages personal development and participation in the local community. Project management is a particular skill I would like to develop and JCI supports members who have their own ideas for projects and offers the backing to put those projects into action. I love travelling so the international aspect was very appealing and of course the opportunity to make lots of new friends.

What community projects are you currently involved in outside of JCI and work?
I am a volunteer teacher for an educational charity which helps children from deprived communities between the ages of 5 and 14 with their school work. I am also a local authority appointed school governor and this role focuses on making managerial and financial decisions which affect schools and ultimately the quality of education.

How did you get involved?
I have always been interested in education and particularly teaching and I was thrilled to find a charity that allowed me to become involved in this type of volunteer work. I was appointed to the school governor position by my local authority earlier this year.

What new skills have you developed through volunteering?
Lots of patience! I've also developed an understanding of financial budgets and personnel issues.

What advice would you give to other JCI members wanting to get involved in their local community?
It is incredibly rewarding to spend your spare time doing something you enjoy which also benefits someone else. When you have helped a child understand a concept or problem which they were previously unable to grasp and you see how much this boosts their confidence, it is very satisfying. It is also a great way to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Mehnaz is also a running Race for Life on Sunday 17 July, support the JCI Hot Pink Ladies by visiting our sponsorship page.

If you are already volunteering then simply fill in the form  to log your hours.

Interested in getting in involved? The following websites will you help started, just remember that helping a family member and friends also count towards your hours.

To find your nearest volunteering centre

Search online for volunteering opportunities in your local area

Search online for volunteering opportunities in your local area

JCI London Marketing & Deputy Community Director

By Soraya Bowen


Read more

19th Jun, 2011

Work Life Balance Event
by Sarah Beckwith on June 19, 2011 17:34


JCI London members and friends are invited to this interesting event on WORK/LIFE BALANCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Monday 4th July 2011
Irwin Mitchell LLP, 40 Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1N 2PZ
5.30pm: Registration
6.00-7.30pm: Seminar
7.30pm onwards: Drinks and Networking

Event description:

Over the last 20 years there has been a sea of change concerning maternity leave and flexible working and this has been welcomed by all professions. But in reality how practical is it to manage family life with a successful career - must everyone make a choice or is it now really possible to "have it all"? You are invited to hear our panel speak about the issues facing individuals in the 21st century, their experiences, views and the law relating to flexible working and maternity leave.


  • Alison Eddy (Partner , Irwin Mitchell)
  • John Hayes (Partner, Irwin Mitchell)
  • Rachel Langdale QC (7 Bedford Row)
  • Elaine Banton (7 Bedford Row)
  • Chair: Hanisha Patel (Chair, AAWL)


To book your place at the seminar please email Leena Savjani (Irwin Mitchell & JCI Manchester) at by 1st July 2011

Read more

12th Jun, 2011

Top 5 Tips to Finding Your Career Calling
by Sarah Beckwith on June 12, 2011 20:45


Many of us who feel the time is right to change careers often find that we don't actually have any idea which career field we want to shift to. What would be really suitable for us? What would we not only be good and great at, but also enjoy? What are we passionate enough about to make a career out of? As overwhelming as these questions might initially seem, if we break down the process of deciding upon our new career into several steps, we'll find it more manageable and will increase our chances of successfully finding the right career.

1.  Reflection Time

Although it may seem obvious to say you need to reflect on yourself and your life to identify your passions, it's easier said than done. It's not natural for us to take time out and reflect upon our interests, preferences and experiences, but it's absolutely essential to finding a career we'll be passionate about. Sit down, get a pen and piece of paper, consider the following questions and write down whatever comes into your mind.

  • What are your hobbies/interests? Include activities from throughout your whole life, from childhood onwards, that you still enjoy doing. If you can find a way to get paid for what you love doing anyway, then that's great.
  • What are your beliefs/principles? If you're passionate about a particular cause or feel strongly about a certain issue, acknowledging this may help you to identify a career or employer organization that is aligned with your beliefs and objectives.
  • Which aspects of your current career are you passionate about? Even if you only really enjoy doing one thing at your current work, use that as a potential basis to build your new career around.
  • What are you good at? We tend to be good at the things we enjoy and to enjoy the things we're good at. If you really can't think of yourself in terms of your talents, ask those who know you well, or think about what people ask you to do most often. If you're asked to do certain things frequently, it's most probably because you're good at them.

2.  In depth Research

Once you've gotten clearer on what you care about and what you enjoy, you can start thinking of career fields that match up with that. For instance, if you're interested in elderly rights/care and you enjoy campaigning and interacting with others,  research charities that offer advice, support and services to the elderly and/or draw attention to social or legislative issues affecting older people. Look at the organizations' websites or literature to get an idea of the different roles they employ people in. Phoning up an organization is also a good way of getting information on what they do and who they employ, as they're often happy to help in any way they can.

3.  Experimentation

A great way of finding out if you could be passionate about a certain type of work day-in, day-out is to of course try out the work. Volunteering is an accessible and convenient way of doing this, as you get a taste of the work with relatively little pressure and you need not commit full-time-there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in the evenings or at the weekends, or for one or two days during the week. Don't feel you have to be limited to volunteering for a not-for-profit organization either; business volunteering is becoming increasingly common. Many volunteer opportunities also include on-the-job training, which will look good on your CV and will help develop skills you may need in your new career.

4.  Networking

Talk to people within your network who seem passionate about their careers. Firstly, being around people who get that kind of energy from their work-and invest it back in-may help stimulate your own passions, giving you a clearer idea of what they actually are. Secondly, if the people you talk to are in the career areas you're interested in, you'll get the insider's view on what it's really like to do the job every day. Whatever you do, there are some days when you won't feel passionate about your work, or you'll feel discouraged-you know this already from your current work. Find out from others what these days are like in your potential new career field.

5.  Gaining knowledge

If, by now, you're serious about changing to a particular career field that you believe aligns with your passions, you may need additional training to be competitive in that particular labour market, or you may just want to learn as much as possible about the job and how to do it. In this case, look out for learning or training opportunities near you. Check in with your local further education college to see what relevant courses it offers. Some community centres also run classes and short courses. Ask around for a private tutor or go to your library and take out books that you can use to teach yourself certain skills.



Nisa Chitakasem, is the co-founder of Position Ignition - a career consultancy dedicated to helping professionals with their career change, job search, career choices and career direction.



The next Position Ignition "Career Options Workshop" is being held on the 30th June at 6.30-9pm.

This will be a practical 2.5hr session with career expert and ex-HR Director, Simon North. He will talk you through a creative evaluation of your options to help you discover what opportunities may be available to you and what you might like to consider doing. This workshop will be interactive and in a small group setting with light refreshments available.

The workshop is £75 plus 'bring a friend for free' or £65 for JCI members.  Please use booking code JCIJune

For more information or to sign up please visit the Position Ignition website:

Read more

8th Jun, 2011

Another year another amazing European Conference
by Sarah Beckwith on June 8, 2011 21:36


The thing I love about European Conferences is that there is so much to do and each year you attend is different.  Your first European Conference is always special.  Mine was in Turku in Finland (2008) and I threw myself into attending as many training sessions as possible.  In Budapest in 2009, I plucked up my courage and entered the debating competition, even managing to reach the finals!  This conference I attended the local leaders workshop, sharing ideas with other local presidents from around Europe; had lunch with members from some of our twin chambers and even got in some sailing and sightseeing!


Blog » International » Beautiful Tarragona.jpg

I was incredibly proud of all the JCI London members who attended.  We could count up to 15 in all, including some very new members, members about to transfer in from other chambers and "honorary" members.  It was fantastic to spend time with friends and get to know new people.  Everyone did the chamber proud and we once again made our presence felt, with a huge number of conference attendees being stickered or receiving JCI London fridge magnets!  We also got in the conference newsletter, first a picture of the London ladies in the sparkly Union Jack dresses, then I was in a picture of the COC academy reunion.  Congratulations to Soraya, Sandor and Eyad who won best union jackage, best party animal and best networker in the informal JCI UK awards.

Blog » International » London Ladies in Union Jackage.jpg

Having been in JCI for nearly 5 years, I have got to know quite a few people from chambers around the world.  International events are a great chance to catch up with them and I was very happy to see all my Jaycee friends.  With over 1,700 people at the conference, it is unfortunately just not possible to spend that much time with everyone and there are some people I did not see as much as I would like (or at all).  Fortunately there are always more opportunities internationally in JCI coming up (see our events diary for details).

Blog » International » Entertainment at the Opening Ceremony.jpg

International events really open up another perspective on JCI as an organisation.  It is impossible for attendees of a European Conference not to come back energised, full of ideas and raring to put them into practice.  I can't wait to see what our members do back in London.

If you missed out this time, the World Congress in Brussels on 1 to 6 November promises to be an even bigger and better event.  Remember we have bursaries available if this will be your first international event.  Contact me to find out more.


Read more