Members develop new and improve existing skills and competencies through a mix of formal training evenings and practical projects. For example, members gain people management, organisational, and finance abilities when running a major training weekend.
It’s hard to imagine what my career direction and working style was like before joining JCI, because so much has changed since I first became a member in 2017. This post will share the transformation I’ve gone through over the last 2.5 years for anyone considering joining JCI or stepping into a leadership position.
I’ve always valued the ‘learning by doing’ approach to JCI, whether it’s leading a project, taking on a local board position, or attending an experiential training programme. The projects and board positions I’ve held have first and foremost provided me a platform to develop new and existing skills through a mix of training and practical work. I got a taste of this when joining the Business team of JCI London during my first month, and eventually moving to the Membership Director role on the board. Through these early experiences, I worked on skills such as strategic thinking, organisational, communications, and marketing skills, ultimately leading to a promotion at work after being a member for six months! This was all the evidence I needed that JCI was a truly valuable organisation to be a part of.
Taking a leadership position as Deputy President in 2018 and President in 2019 has helped me to thrive in my new role at work. I have numerous people who I’m responsible for managing and developing, and having a safe space in JCI to practice these new skills has enabled me deliver through others effectively.
My self-confidence and self-belief have really developed through my roles in JCI, particularly through being a local president. My job has close proximity to senior executives who naturally have high expectations no matter who you are, and the confidence I’ve built through JCI has improved the way I communicate with them and show up in high pressure situations. My JCI experiences have also taught me that taking risks and making mistakes are important parts of the learning process. No project or local chamber will ever be perfect or run completely to plan, and that’s part of the fun. I feel more able to be assertive and speak my mind with colleagues without fear of ‘getting it wrong’ or worrying what others will think.
I’ve also recently ventured into side hustles to expand my career opportunities even further, and the entrepreneurial spirit of JCI has made this possible for me. Our ‘one year to lead’ philosophy means that we operate similarly to a start-up – while certain programmes are consistent, a new team forms each year to develop a refreshed plan of action, and we need to be nimble to deliver what our members want.
JCI has endless professional development opportunities for those who are hungry for them, so you’re looking to make a change, tell us how we can help!
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This post was written by Andrew Cornies