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13th Oct, 2015

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Reflections from Sofie Sandell, JCI London President 2008, for the centenary of JCI

I’ve never felt that I got enough training and development in my life, so the fact that I joined the Junior Chamber International (JCI) network was not a surprise. JCI is a unique volunteer network for people in their 20s and 30s. It’s hard to explain in a couple of sentences, but you can get involved in projects and events and there is no limit to what you can do, really. One way to describe it is as a global movement promoting active citizenship.

JCI is present in more than 100 countries and this October it’s celebrating its 100th anniversary. Here I share some of the things I discovered about myself and others by being involved with JCI.

1) All change in the world starts with people and ends with people. At JCI you have the chance to attend and deliver leadership training and courses on debating and public speaking. It’s a pleasure to see people come out of their shells, where they used to hide, and start to find out what matters to them.

2) When you participate in a project with no monetary reward the energy you produce is on another level compared with a normal job. It’s as if the box of limiting beliefs holding you back is smaller and you dare to try out new things. I believe that new experiences are the best way to develop yourself and I also think you get more creative and imaginative mindsets by being active in the JCI.

3) Leadership skills are something that we can develop, or ignore. Leadership starts with you and then you learn from the people around you. JCI projects provide members with hundreds of leadership lessons every week. My interest in leadership prompted me to start a blog and later these thoughts became part of my book Digital Leadership.

4) Embracing the international side of JCI is fun and you meet people from all over the world. I remember a discussion about the environment and global warming I had with a JCI member from Nigeria at the United Nations office in Geneva during a leadership summit. We were comparing different outlooks and ways to look at environmental problems. Where else would I have had the opportunity to sit down and have a deep discussion about global issues with people from all over the world?

5) When you are part of JCI you can put yourself forward and be part of the board on the local, national and international levels. Being on the board gives you hands-on training in leadership, project management and communication and lots of opportunities for collaboration and knowledge exchange.

6) When people are committed with both their hearts and their minds the results will leave you with a great feeling of satisfaction. Working together towards a vision is a wonderful process and you are rewarded by a surge of dopamine and serotonin released by your brain.

7) At JCI, if there is a reason to celebrate there is always a big party or a black tie dinner. The biggest gala dinner I’ve been to took place at the Osaka Kyocera Dome, a sporting arena that’s big enough to host a baseball game or up to 5,000 dinner guests. 

Another skill that comes with JCI involvement is the ability to get changed and ready in five minutes when you are on your way to a party.

8) It was during my research for my bachelor thesis that I first met members of JCI. The subject of the thesis was whether you can develop yourself professionally through networking or not, and the answer to this question was a big yes. Knowing ‘who knows what’ is one of the aspects of networking. When you are part of the JCI community you are part of a global network.

9) At JCI hundreds of awards are given out every year. Submitting yourself or your team for an award is a way to look back at your achievements and by just writing them down you are celebrating what you’ve done once again. For some people awards matter hugely and I’m very pleased when I see hard work paying off.

10) For a sustainable future we need to care about the people and the environment we have around us. I’ve seen hundreds of community projects take place through JCI around the world. One thing that I’ve noticed is that once you have the JCI community spirit in you it stays with you for the rest of your life. Many members start other initiatives and their success is often down to the skills and confidence members gained from being involved in JCI.

If you think your network would enjoy reading the post please share it with them on social media.

Thank you! Sofie

Sign up to Sofie's Digital Leadership Inspiration newsletter

You can read more about JCI UK here and the global JCI movement. 

Sofie's JCI Bio
Sofie Sandell started her JCI journey at JCI Göteborg, Sweden, and was JCI London President in 2008, JCI UK Marketing Director in 2009-2010, JCI UK Website Manager in 2011 and JCI London Ten Outstanding Young People Project Manager in 2012.

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8th Oct, 2015

JCI European Know-How Transfer, 11th edition
by Rafael Tselikas on October 8, 2015 21:51


JCI European Know-How Transfer, 11th edition
Brussels 27th of September to 1st of October 2015

The EU Know-How Transfer event is an amazing opportunity for those wishing to learn about the functioning of the top institutions in Europe. This could not have come at a better time given that here in the UK, we will be expected to vote whether to stay or leave the EU in 2017! Therefore, I registered for the event in the belief that few days in Brussels will be a time well spent if I am to make the right choice in the next two years. Also as a JCI member, It felt like a duty to be well informed on a topic that affects and will affect our grass root communities in London and the rest of the UK.

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At the European Commission

We all gathered in Brussels, the heart of Europe, to learn about the mechanics of the EU and how this can truly benefit JCI as a local and national organisation. A unique experience across the world given the fact that we were surrounded by EU experts and we were working hand in hand with members of the European Parliament (MEPs). It was amazing to realise that the EU is one of the largest markets in the world with more than 500 million people and 28 countries since Croatia joined in 2014. The EU was created after the second world war mainly to act as a vector of peace and prosperity for European citizens and to avoid any potential clashes in the long term. The EU is the major economic power surpassing China, India and the US. The European Council has three main institutions: European Parliament, Council of Ministers and European Commission.

We learned that MEPs are elected for 5 years, having been elected in 2014 means that the next election process will take place in 2019. Each MEP has between one and four assistants who manage a workload of 500 emails on average and 60 to 80 calls per day. The advice given to those attending the event was as follows:

-    Find which party your MEP is affiliated with

-    Make sure that you remember your MEP office details/number as there are more than 8,000 employees in the EU headquarters.

-    Know the names of other parties in the EU parliament

-    Make sure your remember that the Christian Democrats (EPP) is the most popular party

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JCI London delegates with EVP Steven Wilson

 The general guidelines given during day one were to be concise when talking to the MEP. The general practice is to present one sheet of paper to the MEP regarding an issue of interest. Make sure you make up your mind, know what you want to say before talking to your MEP. Also remember that you are a JCI ambassador during the EUKHT event and therefore whatever good or bad you do will affect the organisation either way. It has been suggested to take pictures with your national delegation and to write an article about the visit and a picture with your MEP (which is what I did :) They are as much interested as you to feel part of the community. Talk about your experience and spread the word around to what is one of the greatest JCI event in Europe. Also remember that what you hear from your MEP is confidential. Try to communicate as much as you can with your MEP assistant to whom you can even buy a symbolic gift.

There is a lot that happened in a five days event touring the EU institutions and which I wouldn't be able to describe in word. An eye-opening experience is an understatement, a life change experience might sound a bit of an exaggeration for some but I can tell you for certain that you  will leave Brussels with lot of knowledge, at least a dozen friend and some lifetime memories!

For more information about the JCI European Know-How Transfer, please visit:

Blogpost written by DrAbdulkader Aljandali, JCI London International Director 2015


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EUKHT dinner in a chic restaurant in St Catherine, Central Brussels



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20th Sep, 2015

New member’s experience, Heather Ransom
by Rafael Tselikas on September 20, 2015 20:06


Looking back on the last six months, I have had an incredible journey with JCI London. I joined following the January Kick Off event at London Chamber of Commerce and haven’t looked back. I’ve made so many new friends from all across Europe and even had the opportunity to meet the JCI World President.

I work in the charity sector where it is hard to access training and professional development. Walking into my first event, the Public Speaking Club, I found a supportive environment within which to improve my presentation skills and really enjoyed the improvised speech session. Attending the JCI European Conference in June, I took advantage of all the training on offer and completed official JCI courses (Achieve and Admin) to support me to make the most of my JCI experience and also those which would support my career development as a policy and public affairs manager. For instance, how to run effective meetings and to manage projects.

A few weeks after becoming a JCI member, I joined the training team. I have since organised and coordinated a range of events, including General Election debates and leadership training. I am now Deputy Training Director and currently reflecting on how I would like to contribute to the Council Team in 2016.

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The international opportunities have been a highlight for me. The European Capitals Meeting in Copenhagen was a 3 day event in April for members from capital cities in Europe to network and share good practice. I found that it was a particularly good event for new members – with less than 100 members attending I had the chance to talk to everyone during the weekend. I came away from the business day reflecting on the advice offered from leaders from banking, voluntary sector and tourism. ‘The expert in everything was once a beginner’ is a call for us to go beyond our comfort zone and try new things. The social events - sightseeing in the city and a fairy tales dinner – were memorable too.

I was delighted to win the First Timers Award for JCI London at the European Conference in June. Here the days were spent taking training courses, watching the General Assembly, and cheering on the UK team in the debating and public speaking competitions. In the evenings, there were amazing parties and an opportunity to network with members from Scotland, Ireland and Malta – the BANZI group. An awards evening and closing night party took place on the last night of the conference. It offered members from across Europe the chance to celebrate projects and initiatives that have created positive change, with JCI UK winning a total of 7 awards.

I’m really looking forward to my next six months with JCI London. If you’re thinking of becoming a member, come along to one of our events to find out more.  


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15th Sep, 2015

Stand up for peace with JCI London
by Rafael Tselikas on September 15, 2015 22:22


In just a few days, you'll have the opportunity to participate in a youthful and energetic event attracting world-renowned peace ambassadors. Join us at JCI London's annual Peace Conference on Sunday, 20 September at University College London. Booking link: 

Meet the speakers 
* Camilla Schippa, Institute for Economics and Peace 
* Dr Justine Huxley, St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace 
* Frances Guy, Christian Aid 
* Francis Rolt, Radio for Peacebuilding 
* Anushya Devendra, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford 
* Alessia Mortada, Concordis 
* Karin Jonsson, Nobel Museum 
* Rama Mani, Oxford University 

The event is part of Peace Week 2015, an entire week of peace-related talks and activities between 20-27 September. For more info: & 

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25th May, 2015

From Fairy Tales to Global Success - Heather Ransom
by Chloe Bost on May 25, 2015 20:14


Three months after joining JCI London, I find myself heading to my first international JCI event - the European Capitals Meeting in Copenhagen with the inspiring theme 'From Fairy Tales to Global Success'.

The Jaycee welcome in the arrivals hall at Copenhagen Airport immediately made me feel at home. After dropping my case at my hotel, I headed to the harbour area of Nyhavn for a pre-tour walk around the canals to see the Little Mermaid statue before the welcome party in the meatpacking district. Everyone enjoyed the free beer and cider donated by Carlsberg! On the drinks table there was a donation box for JCI Copenhagen International's schools project in Liberia, which has a similar goal to our own London to Ghana project in fundraising for school books.

The theme for Friday was global success. We began the morning at the Vartov conference centre where we heard inspiring stories on developing success from Frans Mikael Jansen, Director General of Action Aid Denmark, and Lars Christian Brask, a banker who has also been the tour manager for the pop band Aqua. In the afternoon we walked over to the Culture Centre where we heard from Hans Jorgen Wiberg about an iPhone app  'Be My Eyes' enabling volunteers to support visually impaired people with everyday activities such as reading food labels, and from Helen Dahl, Director of the Tivoli Gardens, Denmark's largest amusement park. John Raagauge then led an interactive session focusing on understanding your mind, body, and feelings in order to create success and live your passion. Key pieces of advice given to us by the speakers were:
 'You have to buy the lottery ticket to have a chance of winning' 
 'Success is doing more of what you are good at'
'The expert in everything was once a beginner'

The afternoon continued with a workshop. JCI members were divided into fairy tale groups (I was a Thumberlina) to discuss 'in which areas can we make a JCI capital chapter more successful and how?'There were lots of creative ideas which I'll be sharing with the Council team. We then heard that next year's ECM will be in Ankara and include an optional pre-tour to Cappadocia. Friday finished with dinner and drinks at Bof og Ost - a french inspired Danish restaurant.

Saturday morning started with a treasure hunt around Copenhagen. We were split into our teams and given clues to take us to various sites around the city, at which we had to complete tasks including walking three legged, learning a dance routine, pronouncing difficult Danish words and answering random questions. We then went to the canal for a boat ride round Copenhagen before a guided tour of the Opera House. The highlight of the weekend was a fairy tale themed dinner - everyone went to town to create stunning outfits. As Maid Marion I even managed to find my Robin Hood!

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ECM finished on the Sunday morning with brunch - a delicious buffet with a glass of bubbly. Stephan Bouman, conference director, reminded us that fairy tales end with "they all lived happily ever after" and there will be opportunities for us to continue our JCI journey together at the European Conference in Istanbul and at ECM 2016. Marco handed over the London delegation's thank you gifts - Pimms and a Keep Calm mug.

ECM is a brilliant concept and is perfect for new members looking to network internationally on a smaller scale. I leave after three jam packed days having made 90 new friends from all over Europe. Thank you to Stephan and his JCI Copenhagen International team for amazing weekend. We look forward to seeing you in Ankara in 2016!

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23rd Sep, 2014

Tips: How to organise a successful event in JCI
by Sofie Sandell on September 23, 2014 16:59


To organise an event may seem a bit overwhelming and scary at first... worrying that nobody will turn up, what if the speaker isn’t engaging the audience… how embarrassing. Organising events can seem quite complex, as there are many things that just have to work on the day. With some careful planning and a creative mind you can make your event a big success. 

We are Marco van den Heuvel and Sofie Sandell, both Past Presidents of Junior Chamber International (JCI) London and we have both organised a large number of events in JCI as well as with other organisations.  In this document we share our top tips for how to better organise events. 

Download it here

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21st Jul, 2014

Take the lead, have fun and achieve!
by Soraya Bowen on July 21, 2014 11:17


By Adeola Akintimehin

I'm on my way home after one of my most interesting evenings I have had in JCI, I'm not sure how Soraya and Rafael managed to fit everything into the session but it was a fantastic event.

In traditional JCI London style the event was both educational and interactive The event began with an introduction to JCI, its history, its core beliefs and some interesting facts. I was amazed to find out JCI has over 200,00 members in over 100 countries.


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Rafael Tselikas JCI London Training Director

Next up Soraya the current JCI London Deputy President told us her story. She has had the opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills, travel to different countries and meet Tim Campbell(MBE) the first winner of the TV show The Apprentice.


Then came the interactive part, a series of leadership quotes were placed all around the room and we were asked to stand next to one we felt most defined our idea of good leadership, all the quotes were impressive but we you could only choose one and then share with the group our thoughts and experiences on leadership.

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Andy sharing his leadership thoughts

Finally we went thru all the various positions on the partnership which all members will be encouraged to put themselves forward for when the board elections come up later this year. You will be interested to know that you don't necessarily need to have the experience for a particular partnership role just a passion for whatever it is you want to do.
Don't despair if you couldn't make it to this event as this is the first of a series of events covering the leadership roles in JCI London. Keep your eyes open for more events coming up soon, where you can learn all about how JCI London can help you develop your leadership skills

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19th Jun, 2014

How to become a Digital Leader? With Sofie Sandell
by Rafael Tselikas on June 19, 2014 22:52


Hasanul speaks about his experience about the workshop on Digital leadership, 

I have read up a lot about leadership but had  never thought about it from the digital perspective so when I spotted the workshop by Sofie Sandel I signed up. 

In traditional JCI fashion the room had a great international spread of people who were there all offering great perspectives. 

The evening was split into two parts. In the first we were taken through a thought provoking hour of what leadership means to us, what great leadership we have experienced and ultimately would like to emulate.  Sofie then helped us understand how you communicate and transfer this onto the web.

She shared many hints and tips on creating a presence and community based on what you believe in passionately or are specialised in.

After a quick break we were eager to start the second half. We were now in a Q & A session with questions thrown in from both Sofie and Rafael our MC for the evening.  This led to some pretty interesting debates and resulted in great thought provoking ideas we could share and walk away with. 

It was a great experience, a lot of knowledge shared and a few new friends made! 

I would highly recommend going to Sofie's workshops or one of the many great workshops JCI holds almost every week.

Hasanul Hoque

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24th May, 2014

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I’m currently on the central line on my way home after attending the JCI London Impact training. It was an engaging packed filled training session focusing on making a positive change within our local community. No matter how small or big. 

The day was completely interactive as I've been on a few training courses before and it has been death by Prezi/Powerpoint sadly. We worked on real examples of issues/problems in our local communities.

We learnt about the various community projects local JCI chambers have been working on around the world and also the JCI and UN (United Nations) Global partnership focusing on the UN Millennium Development Goals. We heard for example about the project of combating Malaria with Nothing But Nets, which is a project I particularly would like to get involved with.

We were taught the fundamentals of building an effective community project:

·    Researching and analyzing the issues in the local community (going out there and actually asking what issues actually affect the local community)

·    Investigating the issues (drilling down to the route cause)

·    Work with local community groups and in partnership with people and organizations from all sectors

·    Design ideas and solutions that will last not for the short term but the long term

·    Then take action…and do it.

And along the whole way asking the simple question of Why at every step.

I would encourage everyone (members and non-members) to attend JCI London Impact training in September 2014. As you will not only receive excellent training but also meet other like-minded people that want to create positive change.

See you soon,

Godfrey Atuahené Junior

Check out the upcoming JCI London Training events and and like our Facebook page

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11th May, 2014

JCI London tackles Inner Confidence
by Ceylan Sepil on May 11, 2014 15:56


Events » Training courses » Double your opportunities - May 2014.JPGOn Friday, May 9, twenty JCI members and non-members came together to discover more about building inner confidence.

The trainer for this event was Life Coach Simone Vincenzi. Simone highlighted the main difference between Confidence and Inner Confidence. He walked us through the three keys to increase our Inner Confidence levels: Self- Acceptance, Self-Love, and Self-Belief. The attendees had then a chance to experience each through challenging and fun exercises.

The other learnings from the evening were:

Participation = Value

My life is my business

I am the CEO of my life

The participants walked away with practical tools to nurture their state of inner confidence, and thereby dramatically increasing their personal and business opportunities in life.

Check out our Facebook page for pictures from this event.

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