What was it that inspired you to take the next step to become Local President of JCI Leeds 2008?
Julia Goodfellow-Smith the then president asked me if I would consider being her deputy. I had already got so much confidence and many new skills from my membership of JCI that I was very keen to take on a big new challenge. Julia gave me the support and the confidence to go for it!
You are the cover girl for the Nothing But Nets calender. How did you get involved in the project?
Originally it had been my idea after a glass of wine at world congress in New Delhi that it would be good if JCI members wore nothing but nets to raise money for the nothing but nets appeal. I didn't really think that it would ever come to anything. Then two years later Julia Goodfellow-Smith decided that she is going to organise the calendar project! She showed so much determination to get the project off the ground and it is for such an amazing cause. There is no way that I wasn't going to be involved. After all the pictures came in the calendar team asked me if I would agree to be the cover girl. It was very flattering but slightly daunting to suddenly have your picture at every JCI event and in the press etc! The end result of all of the hard work is an amazing calendar and we have already sold nearly 400 calendars with every calendar sold buying at least one bed net to go to Africa!
What have your membership in JCI meant for you in your life?
Since becoming a member I have met so many amazing people. I have increased my confidence and massively improved my communication skills. The opportunities to get involved with fundraising projects that really make a difference such as the charity calendar is fantastic. Also to meet new business contacts and people that have achieved massive success in the chosen fields.
Which is your best JCI experience?
In 2008 in my role as JCI Leeds Community Director we organised a young person's Christmas party for a charity called Willow Young Carers. These young people act as carers for adult relatives and face huge daily challenges. To give them a few hours respite to relax with people of their own age in a fun and safe environment was so rewarding. We hosted the party at my office at Morgans City Living in Leeds City Centre and my Managing Director Jonathan Morgan enjoyed the event so much that our company organised the event last year and we are currently organising this year's party!
You are a JCI Trainer yourself. If you could invite any speaker/trainer to a JCI UK event who would that be?
Bill Gates. The way he has balanced massive success with also giving so much back in terms of community projects that he runs with his wife is inspirational. An active citizen on a global scale.
Is there anything that JCI can help you with? Contacts? Ideas? Connections?
I would like to see a skills directory available to new members. Senators that are willing to mentor or have skills in different areas. People that have run big projects that can offer support for those starting out on the same journey etc. Also businesses that support local chambers that other chambers might be able to approach for support in their areas too.