As a young professional the average working week can consist of three simple things: waking up early in the morning, heading off to work and coming home again – repeat the next day. Yet even if we enjoy the work we do, such a routine can seem mundane at times and we long for something more to belong to, a chance to experience different surroundings. A way to make a real impact in the community around us. This is how I started to feel and these are the very reasons I joined JCI.
What fundamentally attracted me to this organisation were two key opportunities it offered: personal development for the individual and creating positive change in your community. My mindset was an amalgamation of both these factors – I wanted to develop an array of skills that would enable me to create the positive change JCI strives toward – areas such as leadership, public speaking, project management and event organisation.
Since joining in 2018 I am pleased to say these are all things I have been able to experience, both locally and nationally. First there was the Public Speaking Academy which I attended at my London chamber – a great platform to bolster my communication and presenting style (not to mention time management). Then I tried my hand at LEAP (Leadership Excellence in Action Programme), a national academy held over the weekend. This encompassed all the various qualities a leader ought to embrace in order to maximise their effectiveness in their position. It was certainly a journey of self-discovery and I cannot believe how much I’ve grown in just over a year.
Nevertheless, this was only the beginning; determined to utilise what I’d learnt so far and continue on that educational journey, this year I joined the local JCI London board as the Community Action Director, engaging in projects such the Young Chamber which is our collaboration with one of our partners the London Chamber of Commerce and coordinating the Ten Outstanding Young Persons’ Programme for London, the culmination of which will be our amazing Awards Ceremony in October! Such experiences really encouraged me to invest in the JCI mission and carry it forward; so much so, that now as Deputy President I am preparing to lead the JCI London chamber next year!
I must say however, what ultimately binds all of these experiences together is the extensive network you become part of. To be connected to so many different members locally, nationally and even internationally who are passionate about making a difference provides such a bedrock of support as you go on your learning journey. You discover other people willing to develop themselves and also their fellow members by contributing their expertise derived from an array of professional backgrounds. Moreover, you can make room for the lighter things as well, simple socialising to have fun with your connections and form great friendships. JCI doesn’t restrict anyone; whatever stage you are at in your personal development you’ll certainly be able to enhance it with us!
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This post was written by Chantelle Nylander - Quartey