Region hosts major event for young leaders

Emma Eastwood, from Leeds, the former JCI UK national president.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Emma Eastwood, from Leeds, the former JCI UK national president. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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YOUNG business leaders from across Europe will attend a major conference in Yorkshire later this year.

Members of Junior Chamber International (JCI) will celebrate the centenary of the JCI movement when they stage their national conference at the Holiday Inn, in Barnsley, from Friday November 20 to Sunday November 22.

JCI – a volunteer network for people in their twenties and thirties – was founded in 1915 in St Louis, Missouri. It spread to the UK in 1925. Former US Presidents Al Gore, Bill Clinton and John F Kennedy were all members of JCI in the US.

Ben Hawley, the 2015 UK conference director, told The Yorkshire Post: “JCI is all about creating the leaders of tomorrow. We have gone with the theme ‘Modern Centurions : The New Breed of Leaders’. We are aiming for a minimum of 130 JCI delegate for the whole weekend, and an additional 250 on the Friday. It’s already turning into an international event as we have JCI members attending from Poland, Germany, Malta, Lithuania, Belgium and Serbia. The event builds on a strong history of JCI Yorkshire holding the national conference. Since 2006, different chambers in Yorkshire have held the event five times.”

Yorkshire’s leading role in the revival of the JCI movement was recognised in 2012 when the global head of JCI visited the county. JCI World President Bertolt Daems held talks with JCI members in Sheffield during a three-day tour of Britain.

Charlie Pearson, JCI Yorkshire 2015 regional group chairman, said the event also marked the 60th anniversary of JCI Yorkshire.

Ms Pearson added: “We have three chambers that have relaunched in the last 18 months. They are all have very positive futures. JCI Rotherham relaunched in February 2014, and quickly found a place in its community. JCI Doncaster relaunched in April 2014, and quickly gained enthusiastic members from local businesses.

“JCI Harrogate relaunched in January 2014 and has had regular training events since. Its progress has been slower than the other two, but they are now at a stage where they have a monthly personal development programme and we are about to announce a community event working with one of their local charities.”

Emma Eastwood, from JCI Leeds, who is a former president of JCI UK, said: “The chambers and the teams support each other tremendously, and it is great to see us regularly hosting key national events and bringing national and international guests to the region.

“I am very proud to see how some of the newly launched and re-launched chambers are thriving and to hear what impact members are having on their local community. I am still very much enjoying being a member of my local chamber.”

Guests at previous events have included Asda’s chief executive Andy Clarke, who spoke at the JCI UK national conference in Leeds in 2013.

The website for this year’s conference is www.jciuknc2015.co.uk and the social media links can be found at www.facebook.com/jciuknc2015 and www.twitter.com/jciuknc2015.

THE JCI UK national conference will act as a showcase for the range of opportunities that open up to new JCI members.

Ben Hawley, the conference director, said: “One key event is the Ten Outstanding Young People (TOYP) awards lunch. At the lunch, we will highlight the great work of individuals from across the UK, in a range of different fields.”

JCI in Yorkshire has provided mentoring for young people who have gone on to national prominence. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, is a former member of JCI Sheffield.