A week in the life of a National President
A week in the life of a National President
One of my goals for this year is to make it more visible to members what it is really like to be a National President. Demystify it a bit, set expectations and explain what the role really is about. Or at least what the role is about for me. The hard work and the glamour.
Every National President and the year for every National President is different. As on the local level, we have the one year to lead rule. Every National President work with a different team of national board members, local presidents and other national presidents. So I must underline that this is how my year is going, not how every year is going.
We are all members, and I'm a member just like you. In JCI we don't have an organisation running our organisation for us. We run our own organisations. This is often fun to explain to others who think that being NP is something I get paid to do. Its not. Just like all other members, this is something I do on the side of my work and private life (not that there's time for much other private life at the moment).
Mondays I write emails to Local Presidents and National Board. Local Presidents get an email called the JCI UK Monday Email and it pulls together everything they need to know from my side with regards to upcoming events, reminders, things that are underway that I'd like them to know about, and a bit about what I've been up to since last week. I try to keep the Monday email the only email Local Presidents receive from me, this way I won't swamp them and they also know that this email is important to read. Some of the Local Presidents respond immediately, and its always nice to hear from them.
This Monday I didn't really have any updates for Local Presidents, so instead I asked the Local Presidents to go out and enjoy the sun. I wanted to send an email, so that they didn't have to think they'd missed it or that it would be delayed. National Board got a bit more of an email from me, this is because we're having a meeting in a couple of weeks and there's things I need everyone to prepare.
On Tuesdays I get the JCI Europe Tuesday mail from the wonderful Sara Rueckriman in the JCI Europe office in Berlin. This is an email with practical information and to-dos to National Presidents. For example reminders to send in our reports, delegate forms, register for events and other updates from JCI international head quarters.This email I forward to those on National Board who either needs to see it or would like to see it. If its something about membership I forward the email to membership director Sarah Beckwith, if its about international events I forward to international director Tim Metcalfe etc. etc.
Otherwise on Tuesdays, and the rest of the week for that sake, I respond to emails and queries from members, Local Presidents and potential partners. I try to catch up on phone with Local Presidents and National Board now and then. Its always good to actually speak, not just email, though finding time in everyone's diary is often quite a challenge.
This Tuesday I got a couple of really exciting emails regarding partnerships that I'm hoping to be able to roll out to the membership soon. One is looking for JCI members to give advise to aspiring business people and another from AIESEC, an organisation we have a global partnership with, looking at how we can take the global partnership local here in the UK.
I also got an email from JCI Sheffield with a video they've made from the visit of the JCI World President in February. Its always nice to find things like that in your inbox and it made me so proud to be able to send it on to the World President himself, who got very happy. Well done JCI Sheffield!
I also helped out JCI Europe Training Commissioner Aude Simone with the first JCI Europe Training newsletter. As I've worked a lot with newsletters through JCI, this is relatively easy to do and is hopefully going to be a great resource for JCI Trainers in Europe. I'm passionate about training and take any opportunity I can to get involved. And of course, its always nice to be able to help someone.
This Tuesday I also got to catch up with some friends over dinner. By coincidence these friends are also JCI members, but we talked surprisingly little about JCI. We talked mostly about the upcoming wedding for JCI London President Simon Bucknall, and the situation in Eyad Hamouieh's home country, Syria. Which btw is complicated. That is Syria, not Eyad.
Apparently I had a very busy Tuesday!
This Wednesday I went to a JCI London open evening. JCI London is my home Chamber so I do my best to come to events, though I must admit its not always easy. This evening I managed to combine three things into one - inviting my mentee to the evening (I mentor an AIESEC member through JCI London) and also a potential partner and get the opportunity to meet almost 90 interested potential members. Well done JCI London! More than 120 people had signed up to the event, and though I don't know how many actually turned up, it was many! I had lots of great discussions with potential members.
The question I got the most from potential members was "are you enjoying it?" and it was nice to hear that they all said everyone they'd talked to in JCI is enjoying it (well, why else would we both pay membership *and* work as hard as we do if we didn't enjoy it?). Typically for London there were people from all around the world, I even managed to meet some Norwegians!
On Wednesday I also printed off the award certificates for the next Make A Difference award winners. Local Presidents and other members nominate people who they feel deserve the award. This month I've received a couple of really deserving nominations, so there will be two people getting this recognition for March. But shhhh! its a secret who they are just yet...
I also made an effort on facebook. Its the JCI Impact Month this month and so I wanted to make sure all the Local Presidents are aware and upload their projects on the www.jci.cc website to gain visibility also internationally.
On Thursday I went to Southampton and another open evening with potential members and partners. JCI Southampton President Drew Charman picked me up from the train station, then we went to the venue to meet the members and others. I think around 30 people came (we were competing against a very nice and sunny afternoon), and it was just the perfect number to be able to have great and proper discussions with almost everyone there. After the event Drew, myself and some other members/non-members went for a Thai dinner and got to continue our discussions about social media, JCI and almost everything else.
I really enjoy meeting new and potential members. I've been told that my passion for JCI really comes through when I talk about the organisation and I hope that my passion can inspire others to get involved.
It was really nice to catch up with Southampton President Drew and hear how things are going in Southampton. Loads of good stuff under way and a glamorous ball planned for July 20th!
Also on Thursday I had to write an article for a Norwegian newspaper. Its my local newspaper and I've been writing for them since 7 years. I only write once a month, but even that feels too often sometimes. The hard bit isn't the writing, the hard bit is deciding what to write about. Its quite funny when I get home, despite not having lived in Malvik (yes, that's both my name and where I'm from, quite common in Norway) since 18 years, everyone knows me and what I've been up to ;).
This Friday I travelled from Southampton really early morning. Poor Drew had to wake up an hour earlier than normal to get me to the train. Once back from Southampton I went straight to work. I work partly from home, so its nice and easy.
Friday afternoon, my lunch hour, I had a meeting with Onur, business manager from AIESEC UK. How can we take the global JCI/AIESEC partnership and make it local here in the UK? The meeting was really good and really interesting and we'll both be bringing a draft of a cooporation agreement back to our respective organisations soon. The agreement is set to be quite concrete, with targets, mutual projects and cross promotion, which is great!
Saturday I travelled to Boston (Lincolnshire, not the US) for their President's Dinner. Tracy Anderson was a brilliant President in 2011 and it was great to hear about her accomplishments and help her hand out very well deserved awards. It was also great to get to catch up with 2011 JCI UK National President Allison Cowell and other members of National Board.
JCI Boston had a great year in 2011 with 4 new members, £852.77 raised for Nothing But Net, two national awards and lots of activities both in JCI and in Boston. I look forward to seeing how they will do this year as its definitively a buzz going!
The dinner was at the New England Hotel, an old style charming hotel. The food was brilliant, and lots of it, and Alli was a great MC for the evening, Mad Hatters Hat and all.
Sunday morning I got up (relatively) early for a breakfast at the New England Hotel in Boston and joined a group of otherwise hung over JCI members that didn't go to bed before several hours after me Saturday night. After breakfast Emma Eastwood and I explored Boston (both the shops open on Sundays and the famous Boston Stomp) before we both headed home, me to London and Emma to Leeds.
Every second Sunday National Board has a conference call. This is because we're meeting less often this year than before, we have to find other ways to stay in touch. Conference calls, skype and reports are ways to make sure we stay in touch.
Otherwise on Sundays I typically spend the day either wrapping up a weekend JCI event, travelling home (hoping trains run as they should), and in the afternoon I try to catch up on washing my clothes and cleaning my house and other things that's been lagging. Though often I'm just tired and once I get home I end up on the sofa with a glass of wine and the latest episode of Dancing on Ice.
This Sunday I travelled down from Boston after the amazing President's dinner (well done JCI Boston!), had the conference call with National Board, and then I travelled to Stansted to spend the night there before catching a really early flight to Denmark to visit my boyfriend, Soren.
So this is how my week went. A quite typical week filled with both small and big things. Its great to see all the interest JCI is getting from other organisations and potential members and the engagement we have on the ground in Local Chambers. It really makes all the work worth it. So thank you everyone!
JCI UK National President
Certified National Trainer