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29th Nov, 2011

Go Go Go For It.....
by Soraya Bowen on November 29, 2011 20:10


I have had many good experiences since I joined JCI in September 2010 but the best so far was running the GO For IT workshop for Landmark Training students. JCI London Community team has been running this programme successfully for 4 consecutive years and won the JCI UK National Community Award in 2010. I had the opportunity to help organise  and deliver the training for this awarding winning programme.

Local projects » Go For It v.JPG

JCI offers the opportunity to any of its members to actually run a workshop and in doing so to use existing skills in a different context or develop new ones. To my opinion this is what makes JCI stand out from the average networking association!

Dimitri (JCI London Community Director) helped me to develop the presentation; this was split in two sessions to a group of 16 to 18 years old teenagers. The first session focused on writing winning CVs and the second part gave tips on how to be successful at interviews. In between the sessions I and other members sat with a group of students to practice what had just been presented.

The whole experience was really rewarding as I used my current skills (I work in HR for Japanese Bank) to help students be more prepared whenapplying for jobs and going to interviews. This has also developed my confidence when making public speeches; it was also an excellent opportunity for JCI members to network with each other and the students.

Local projects » Go For It coaching.JPG

 My final word would be just Go For It next year! Don't miss the chance to make a difference and be the change you want to see in the world!

Cindy Bamba

Community Team Member


Why not come along to our last team meeting of the year on Tuesday 13 December to celebrate our success in 2011 and find what's in store for 2012

Please sign up here.



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25th Nov, 2011

Business Roundtable - Entrepreneurship
by Simon James Bucknall on November 25, 2011 11:08


By Alekhya Mukherji

Recently, the JCI London Business Roundtable featured the topic of 'Entrepreneurship’ - to give members a flavour and insight into the world of entrepreneurship and start-ups. We had four great panellists:

Patrick McCrae - Founder of 'Works In Print'

Marcus Evans - Entrepreneur & MD of Interactive Space

Ricky Kothari - Founder of Innovashion & 2012 Business Director for JCI London (!)

Victoria anderson - Former Operations Director of Unltd & Trustee of the Venture Partnership Foundation

Each brought their own experiences of setting up (and helping to set up) businesses, across both private and voluntary sectors. After the initial introductions we split into smaller groups with the speakers to discuss anything we were interested in a free flow format. It gave everybody the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and ideas with all the speakers.

I was, like many others at the event, interested in understanding the experiences the panellists had with starting up a company. It was invaluable to hear the struggles they faced or are still facing while at the same time the help and support they could get from their network to carry on. The discussions were diverse but generated lots of debate within the groups. Topics ranged from coming up with viable ideas, day to day running of a business to setting up social enterprises. 

I definitely came out thinking it is a big step and commitment but for sure something worthwhile to pursue for the future!

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22nd Nov, 2011

The JCI difference
by Sarah Beckwith on November 22, 2011 20:51


Last week I was called into a meeting at short notice with the CEO of my company and one of the top executives in our European group. The reason; a plan of action I had put together following a department meeting I had run using techniques learned through JCI.

How did I cope with being asked to present this at short notice? I was fine! The courses I've attended and experience I've gained in JCI mean that I am comfortable presenting a wide range of topics to different types of audience. The skills I've learned give me the confidence to know that I can handle unexpected challenges and think on my feet.

That to me is the difference that JCI makes. I'm pretty sure that not everyone (including myself in my pre-JCI days) would have been able to handle that situation. Thanks to JCI I could. And what's even better is that my boss had the confidence in me to know I would. He'd even told the people in the meeting about JCI!


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21st Nov, 2011

My first world congress
by Sarah Beckwith on November 21, 2011 23:00


When I first thought about going to the JCI World Congress, I had only been a member for 6 months and was still finding my way through the JCI maze. Everyone was encouraging me to go but I was in two minds.....Brussels in November? Should I really spend my hard earned leave at a week of workshops when I could be lying on a beach somewhere? Even when I clicked the button confirming my registration I still wasn't sure......until I got there and was thrown headfirst into an exhilarating whirlwind of parties, activities and the friendliest group of people I have ever met in my life.

Blog » International » Mehnaz at WC1.jpgIt all kicked off with the Opening Ceremony which was the first time the global scale of JCI actually hit me. Over 4000 delegates flooded into the Brussels Expo dressed in their national colours madly waving their flags in a mass celebration. There was a brass band and cheerleaders to get us in the mood-everyone just seemed incredibly happy and excited to be there. Each National President was introduced on stage accompanied by a booming soundtrack which kept everyone on their feet and energy levels sky high. When our own Alison Cowell came on the stage, the UK delegation went into a wild frenzy! We couldn't quite beat the huge crowd of Germans who drowned out pretty much everyone else but we certainly beat them hands down on the fashion front with our Union Jack sparkly dresses!

At the end of each day, there would be a huge party followed by after parties for those who had the stamina! The French and Germans outdid themselves at the European night with their revolving dance floor, which went down a storm with the UK delegation! The Netherlands party the following night was a lot of fun as was the Korea party next door. The best party overall was Global Village where we got the chance to sample the national food and drink of lots of different countries. The gin and tonic at the UK stall proved to be a massive success while the French stall was overflowing with bread, cheese and wine. After making a few roundtrips, it felt good to burn off some of those calories on the dance floor!

Blog » International » Mehnaz at WCII.jpgDuring the week there were lots of speakers and training sessions and I tried to attend as many as I could. They covered a wide range of topics from leadership skills to negotiation to how to improve your flirting skills in business! The highlight for me was a talk given by Rees Mann of JCI South Africa who spoke about his life after JCI and how the skills he developed helped him in his career. Despite having no formal business training, he completely transformed a rundown area of Johannesburg helping many young people into employment along the way. Despite all the obstacles he encountered he showed that one person can make a lasting difference to the world around them.

Now that I have been to World Congress, I finally understand what everyone has been raving about. For me, it was all about meeting and making friends with people across continents and cultures. I felt like I had the whole world at my fingertips. The enthusiasm and positivity of everyone around me was so infectious that it inspired me to get out there and change things for the better in my own community. It has also given me some great ideas for my role as 2012 Personal Development and Training Director for London.

Many of the people I met were amazed that I was attending my first World Congress so soon after joining but looking back I'm glad I took the plunge so early on. As with all things JCI related, your experience is what you make it and that manic week in Brussels ended up being the most fantastic experience of the year so far.

By Mehnaz Siddiqui

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20th Nov, 2011

Active Citizen in the Community
by Soraya Bowen on November 20, 2011 20:34


Active Citizen Experience (ACE) is the new award programme from JCI United Kingdom that that recognises JCI members volunteering their time, both inside and outside of JCI and in their, local community. Next week at JCI UK National Convention in Sheffield,  JCI London Communtiy Team has two members collecting ACE awards next weekend (25-27 November). You met our first Active Citizen Mehnaz Siddiqui earlier on in the year, we would like to introduce our second community team member Frene Angeli, read about what motivates her to volunteer in the local community and JCI.

How long have you been a member?                                                                 

I have been a member for nine months now.

Why did you join JCI?

I was originally looking for somewhere I could learn new skills and be involved in different projects. When I found out more about JCI I was taken aback by how much of it reflects my own personal interests:business, training and serving the community, in particular. I studied European languages at university and have a keen interest in theinternational dimension. I really enjoyed being part of the International Team this year, helping to organise the Twinning Weekend in London this September.
I will be supporting Mehnaz Saddiqui as the Deputy Training Director in 2012, which I am really looking forward to. I am hooked on personal development and looking forward to developing my skills by being on the JCI London Council and organising more events.

What community projects have you been involved in outside of JCI and work?

This year, I had the opportunity to be involved in recruiting volunteers for the London Olympics. This was a great opportunity to
learn new skills such as interviewing candidates and facilitating group selection activities. Not only that, I got to meet all kinds of
different people and, of course, got a great sense of fulfillment from having a positive impact on the community. Volunteering doesn't necessarily need to take up a lot of your time. I have recently discovered an organisation (Hands On London) that promotes a calendar of different volunteering activies happening every day in London. Anyone can give up the occasional few hours at the weekend and the personal rewards are so great.

What advice would you give to other JCI members wanting to get involved in their local community?

Go for it! We all lead busy lives and some may be under the impression that it would take up a lot of time. This isn't the case. I would recommend people search for opportunities on or their local borough's volunteer centre.

What do you enjoy most about being a JCI member?

I love the fact that I have met so many great people this year. It is refreshing to be in an environment where people are so positive and interested in developing themselves and those around them. There is such a great programme of events and activities, with so many opportunities to learn and to meet new people. I only wish that I had discovered JCI earlier in life!

Frene Angeli JCI London Community Team Member

JCI London Deputy Training Director 2012


Why not come along to the next community team meeting to find out more about how we can help you make an impact in your local community and JCI.

Dates of our team meetings:

Tuesday 22 November, sign up here

Tuesday 13 December, sign up here

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20th Nov, 2011

London to Windsor Bike Ride for British Heart Foundation
by Soraya Bowen on November 20, 2011 14:25


After completing the epic London to Brighton for the British Heart Foundation Rebecca took a short break before getting back on her bike to continue rasing funds for this fantasic charity:

Community » Rebecca Anderson with her medal after completing the London to Brighton Bike Ride 2011.jpg

Rebecca Anderson with her medal after completing the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton Bike Ride


You’d think following my previous London to Brighton experience I would have given up on the cycle rides for the summer, but I think I caught the bug and on Sunday 4th September I was back in the saddle ready for the London to Windsor Ride.

Since getting back from the London to Brighton ride I had not been on my bike once, I had been on holiday twice and done some walking – along with plenty of eating and cocktails! But had been neglecting my bike – so as you can imagine I was more than a little nervous as I felt very unprepared!! However The British Heart Foundation said that this event would suit those who wanted to enjoy a relaxing day of cycling. There was a choice of a 37 or 29 mile on-road route from Richmond Green to Alexandra Gardens in Windsor. I was doing the ride with one of my friends, Nath, who had got me through the last 20 miles of the London to Brighton, so was comfortable that we were both the same pace (well he slowed down to my pace) and that if I was struggling he would get me through. However given my lack of any cycling for 6 weeks I was only ever aiming for the 29 mile route, but I think Nath had other ideas.

We started at 9.30am in Richmond Park; it was a lovely morning, although wet weather was forecast. The forecast kept changing over the weekend, but we were hoping that the rain would do as forecast and hold off till mid afternoon…. Unlike London to Brighton the Windsor ride was much easier going, the route was pretty flat apart from one or two ‘undulations’, and because it is a less popular ride was pretty steady riding from the start. The route initially follows the Thames through West London and then the leafy lanes through the pretty villages of the Thames Valley. This annual ride is to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is is one of their series of rides, including the London to Brighton (thought to be Europe's largest charity cycling event).

To say I had not been anywhere near my bike for 6 weeks I settled into the ride quite well and didn’t feel and tiredness or pain in my legs as expected. But by the mid way point where the two routes split, my friend Nath was struggling and very much round to my way of thinking of only doing the shorter 29 mile route. And boy, were we pleased!!

We stopped at the last refreshment stop at a pub about 8 or 10 miles from the end to have a drink and a flapjack to keep us going, and it started spitting with rain. We decided to only stop for 5 minutes and then get moving to do the last 8 miles, just in case it carried on raining….as you can see from the picture below, it about sums up the last 8 miles of riding at one point I had both my eyes shut because the rain was driving that hard that I couldn’t see – not ideal when you are cycling down hill at speed and the roads aren’t closed!! But we finished, the weather meant we were drenched to the skin and cold but it didn’t dampen our spirits, or my interest in cycling. Next year I am going to take part in the BHF London to Cambridge and London to Southend rides!!

Rebecca Anderson-JCI London Community Team Member

If your are interested in finding more about the community team and our final events for 2011 please join us on Tuesday 22 Novemeber. Sign up here

Our final meeting of the year on Tuesday 13 December to will celebration of what we have acheived in 2011 and revealing our theme for 2012. So come along to find our more and be part of the action, sign up here

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17th Nov, 2011

Having a ball in Southampton
by Sarah Beckwith on November 17, 2011 00:18


Blog » Social » Speech.jpgThis is the third year I have been to the Southampton Annual Ball (this year also the JCI UK South Regional Dinner) and once again it did not disappoint. Those guys on the South Coast really know how to party!

Hosted in POSH Restaurant, we were treated to a three course feast of finest Indian cuisine (or English food for the less adventurous). Speeches were delivered by JCI Southampton President Drew Charman, a JCI Senator from nominated charity Wessex Heartbeat and JCI UK Deputy National President Solveig Malvik, who congratulated JCI Southampton on another outstanding year.

Blog » Social » Dancing.jpgSix London members made the trip down and had a fantastic time, once again hitting the dance floor early for the live band and staying to the very end thanks to the cheesiest of tunes played by the DJ.

Well done to Drew and his team for organising a great event. I'm already looking forward to next year!



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16th Nov, 2011

And the winner is...
by Sarah Beckwith on November 16, 2011 23:27


Improving confidence in presentation skills is one of the core opportunities on offer through JCI. And what better way to improve than to take part in the JCI London Public Speaking competition?

Blog » Training » Vamsi.jpgTonight we heard three JCI London members deliver 7 minute speeches on the topics of:

* How can JCI UK members prevent a reoccurrence of the riots we saw earlier this year?
* If I could meet one person from history it would be......
* Will the 2012 London Olympics be a positive thing for the whole of the UK?

Well done to Vamsi Majety, Sophie Gill and Alexandra Illsley, who each delivered a different, interesting and fun speech.

 Blog » Training » Sophie.jpgBlog » Training » Alex.jpg

Big thanks go to Training Director Saket Modi for organising the event, fellow judges Joe Dilger and Marco van den Heuvel and MC Simon Bucknall, who had also held a private masterclass for the participants last week.

And the winner is...Alexandra Illsley. Alex will now go on to compete in the JCI UK National Public Speaking Competition at the National Convention in Sheffield next weekend (there's still time to book if you want to come along for what promises to be a great weekend).

Blog » Training » The winner.jpg

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16th Nov, 2011

Did we find Nessie?
by Alexandra Illsley on November 16, 2011 17:30


On the 2nd of October Soraya and I ran around Loch Ness. We did this in order to fundraise for Nothing But Nets and we hoped our efforts would encourage people to buy bednets...

Well, how was it? Fortunately the drizzle meant that conditions were not too hot. The marathon started well, going downhill. However, what goes down must come back up and it got hard going around the 18 mile mark. Neverthless, the view was beautiful and the thought of the bed nets that people would by spurred me on to a time of around 5 hours 37minutes - which I was very happy with!

Thank you to all our supporters and those who have already bought bednets, it is much appreciated. You are still able to buy a bednet and can do so via the following link:

And, did we find Nessie? See for yourself...


2011-10-02 16.52.25.jpg



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15th Nov, 2011

So what happens at a world congress...?
by Sarah Beckwith on November 15, 2011 08:45


So what happens at a world congress?  Well...a lot!

Key note speakers - I attended Rees Mann's talk on ˝The JCI Advantage - Giving You the X-Factor˝, in which he outlined the amazing things he has achieved post-JCI thanks to his experiences as a local and national president and international vice president.  These included transforming a run down area of Johannesburg and setting up a fashion school for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Johan Driessens' talk on ˝the power of enthusiasm˝ has to count among the most unusual, fun and energetic key note speeches I have ever been to - largely because he had us jumping around and playing air guitar!  His tips on how to live with more enthusiasm certainly gave us something practical to put into action!

Competitions - the debating competition included fun and amusing topics such as ˝cats make better pets than dogs˝ and ˝it is better to be single than married˝.  The JCI UK team did a fantastic job and reached the semi-finals, only to be narrowly beaten by JCI Australia.  The final of JCI Scotland vs JCI Australia was an intense debate on ˝the JCI brand is about what we do, not who we say we are˝ and the brilliant team from JCI Scotland emerged victorious. 

The four winners from each of the JCI area conferences also competed in the world public speaking competition on the topic of ˝to stir the world to an ever-lasting peace˝.

Awards Ceremony - we saw local and national chambers around the world rewarded for their outstanding projects, the final address by outgoing World President Kentaro Herarda and the inauguration of 2012 President Bertolt Daems.

JCI London presidents at the JCI World Congress in Brussels 2011

Training sessions - I attended Training Commission Director Patrick Knight's session on Painting with Passion, in which we explored how to use language and stories to communicate our message.  Some participants shared their passions on stage, which included their training business, food and the incredible hulk!  There were many more sessions on a diverse range of topics from social involvement to flirting in business and from advanced negotiation to personal branding.  The JCI official course are also on offer.

General Assembly - where national presidents discuss and vote on important issues for the future of the organisation, such as training and the elected officers for the following year.  All members are welcome to come and watch.

Parties - each night a different country/region hosts a party.  This year we were treated to Belgium night with many types of beer available, European Night in a club with a revolving dancefloor(!) and Global Village where many countries have stands showcasing their national food and drink.

What makes a congress so special is the people that you meet.  There were 4,600 delegates from around the world in Brussels - all there to improve themselves, contribute to the organisation and make friends and have fun.  You never know who you are going to meet.  I caught up with people I hadn't seen in over a year from the COC (Conference Organising Committee) Academy I attended last year, as well as those from our twin chambers, European Academy and people I've met at other international events. 

International twinning lunch hosted by JCI London at the JCI World Congress in Brussels 2011

I also met a lot of new people (the Union Jack sparkly dresses we were wearing helped as everyone wanted a picture!).  We even met the 1978 President of JCI London, Ian Cameron Black, who had lost touch with the chamber in recent times as he does not have a computer. 

It is impossible to do everything and even harder to describe to someone who hasn't been exactly what it is like.  All I can say is that everyone who goes does not come back disappointed.  When discussing highlights with the JCI London council last night, all who had been to World Congress said that it was their highlight of the year.

JCI UK at the World Congress in Belgium 2011


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