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24th Apr, 2013

Community Action in 2013
by Drew Charman on April 24, 2013 15:17


James Lambert, 2013 Community Director for JCI Southampton, shares his goals for the rest of the year:

"Since taking over as 2013 Communtiy Director my first priority has been to raise awareness of World Malaria Day which happens annually on 25th April. JCI is a proud sponsor of "Nothing But Nets" (visit for more info) which is a global charity focused on providing mosquito nets to areas most affected by malaria.


Nothing But Nets

One mosquito net can save up to 4 lives and JCI UK is aiming to save 1800 lives by buying 450 nets in 2013.  One net costs $10 which works out about £6.50 (less than 2 pints of beer!).  In Southampton we are keen to play a part in raising awareness of how parts of the world are affected by malaria and also to make a significant difference to a community by raising funds to buy 50 nets.

Any donation, no matter how big or small, will have a dramatic impact on the life expectancy in some of the poorest parts of the world.  To donate please go to

In addition to time spent in relation to World Malaria Day I have also started planning other fundraising events to raise money and awareness for JCI Southampton's 2013 charity partner which is the Southampton Hospital Charity - our particular fundraising focus is to help the Cystic Fibrosis Ward of Southampton General Hospital. Please check our Events page or our Facebook page regularly for details of forthcoming events."

Southampton Hospital Charity


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22nd Apr, 2013

Southampton Parkrun - a newbie's experience
by Drew Charman on April 22, 2013 16:59


One intrepid member of the JCI Southampton Council team donned her running shoes early on Saturday morning to join the Parkrun crew & complete the weekly 5km run around Southampton Common.

Southampton parkrun

Photo Credit: Paul Hammond


Kat Haines, JCI Southampton's Marketing Director for 2013, enjoyed it so much that she couldn't wait to share her enthusiasm for the event & share her thoughts on the experience:

"So, I finally gave in to the gentle persuasion of my fellow Council team members to attend Parkrun on Saturday morning.

I was a little nervous about going; my main concern being that out of the hundreds of people who attend each week I would come last.  Now, I know someone has to come last and it isn't a competition, but I was still determined that there would be people behind me!

It turns out that it wasn't that bad - yes I could barely breathe and thought I was going to keel over at one point, and yes, the following day every single muscle in my body hurt, but I survived!!  This was mostly down to the fact that James Lambert, our Community Director, agreed to run with me at my pace and was extremely encouraging at the moments when I felt like I could do no more - a massive thank you James for this!

I would definitely go again and would recommend others to go too - even if it seems scary to complete a 5km run.  It's definitely achievable (I'm living proof), especially when you do it with the wider support of the JCI Southampton team!"


P.S.  And for those of you wondering, Kat ran the 5km in a very respectable 'first timer' time of 32m 32s.  Well done Kat !!!

If you're interested in joining the JCI Southampton team for a Parkrun event (& supporting Southampton Hospital Charity, our nominated charity for this year) please check out the Events page for the next available date!  We'd love to see you there....

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9th Dec, 2012

JCI Southampton is officially the Best Chamber in the UK !
by Drew Charman on December 9, 2012 20:13


JCI UK National Convention, Belfast - Dec 2012

What a fantastic time JCI Southampton had in Belfast at the JCI UK National Convention last weekend!

JCI Southampton members joined friends and fellow members from across JCI UK in celebrating all of the UK's achievements whilst participating in some great training, key note speakers, public speaking competitions &, of course, social evenings.

It was my second visit to the city & the welcome was as warm as ever.  It really is a lovely city with lots to see & do and it's only a shame that sectarian troubles still occur every so often (the latest happening literally just after we departed - it wasn't down to us I swear!).

A huge thank you to all of the JCI Belfast team and National Board who organised the event.  They truly deserve the congratulations they have been receiving left, right & centre as it was such a memorable weekend, culminating in the National Awards Gala Dinner which was held at the truly stunning venue of Titanic Belfast which you will also have seen in the news due to Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, dining there during this past week.  We managed to beat her to it!!

Personally, I had a great time - taking part in my final National Council meeting as President & also getting to organise & host/compere the National Debating Competition which is always one of the highlights of the weekend.  I also had the honour of being sworn in as Southern Regional Group Chair during the Awards Gala Dinner which means I'll be on National Board next year and able to continue the efforts to bring the Southern chambers closer together whilst being a mentor to the region's Local Presidents for 2013.


JCI UK National Convention 2012, Belfast - JCI Southampton Awards


JCI Southampton has had yet another fantastic year & I am immensely proud to announce that we were recognised for our programmes & achievements by JCI UK.  Not only did we win the most awards by any JCI UK Chamber, but we managed to snag the top 3 (chamber, president & deputy president) awards - a HUGE achievement which reflects the hard work the team have put in behind the scenes to ensure that the chamber moves forward into 2013 with a really strong foundation upon which to prosper!

So what did we win?

Most Outstanding Chamber – JCI Southampton (yes, we're officially the best chamber in the UK!)

Most Outstanding President (of a Chamber with 20-50 members) – Drew Charman

Most Outstanding Preparation by a Deputy President - Michael Steel

Most Outstanding Local UN MDG (United Nations Millennium Development Goals) Project - Apprenticeship Training Scheme

Most Outstanding Social Project – 2012 Solent Business Ball

Extempore Champion - Michael Steel

Best Debater - Michael Steel


We also achieved the following:

Runners Up - Debating Competition (JCI South team - comprised of JCI Southampton, JCI London & JCI Cambridge)

100% Efficiency Programme – 100% Efficiency achieved (ranking JCI Southampton as one of the most efficient chambers in the UK)


A huge congratulations to the team & to all our active members - these awards are, quite simply, a direct result of your continued support & enthusiasm!

Last year's challenge was to better our haul of awards gained at the 2011 National Convention - we certainly did that & then some!  Next year's challenge will be to keep the momentum going.  We're on an upwards curve & next year promises to be very exciting.  With a Council team in place already, we're looking at implementing a strong programme of personal development training & community events - two of the areas we know you want us to focus even more on. 

However, as always, as a voluntary organisation we need you to help us!  If you are interested in getting involved, sharing your ideas, or just attending some events please contact myself, Michael Steel (my successor as President next year) or a member of the 2013 Council team.

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21st Sep, 2012


Why I Joined JCI - Drew Charman


It's Day 5 of JCI Membership Impact Week and I was asked by the JCI UK team to share my thoughts on why I joined the organisation & also provide some insight into the daily activities of a local chamber president.


Tell us about a typical day in the life of a local chamber president
As a Local President it's my job to develop & oversee the strategic and day-to-day management of my Local Chamber. I'm not sure there is such a thing as a typical day for a Local President as most JCI activities are done in an out-of-hours capacity meaning that it can be considered a second job which you complete alongside your normal work - usually when you get home.

My day can include anything from running dinner training events, networking with members & other young business people, completing charity fundraising & hands-on community work or chairing JCI Southampton Council meetings helping my team to come up with a timetable of great events & initiatives that benefit the local membership in order to provide them with a broad portfolio of activities that cover the 5 element of JCI life: Community, Training, Business, National/International &, of course, Social.

Another function of being a Local President is being the public face of the Chamber. This can include working with local business leaders, appearing on local media or attending key National and International events.

What has been your proudest moment as president to date?
I think there are two moments that stand out during my time as Local President.

The first was winning the Best President (25-50 members) Award at last year's JCI UK National Convention. It was great to be recognised by my JCI peers for not just my efforts as Local President but also those of the chamber as a whole - afterall, the President is only ever as good as the team he/she leads. I viewed this award as recognition of the collective efforts & hard work of the great team of people I worked with in 2011 & the broad programme of events that our membership enjoyed throughout the year.

The second was the launch of the Costa Academy in July this year. The Academy is a £29,000 joint project between JCI Southampton & Costa Coffee - the building of a dedicated training centre creating a host of apprenticeships & training opportunities within Costa for young people who may have exited secondary education without the required qualifications needed to gain employment. Not only does the Academy help employers to develop young people within the city, but the new venue also provides a meeting & training room for other local community organisations & clubs to utilise. All apprentices coming through the academy have the opportunity to join JCI through a funding scheme - allowing them to access the wide network of young professional members and business partner organisations both in Southampton and across the UK. This was a major initiative for JCI Southampton & the first of its type across JCI UK - something myself & my team hope other chambers will start replicating across the country with other partner organisations.

Has JCI presented any unusual or unexpected opportunities?
Aside from the opportunity to travel to foreign climes & network with up to 5,000 JCI members from across the world at international conferences, my time at JCI has also presented a few opportunities that might not pop up in day-to-day life. I often get asked by local media to take part in broadcasts to discuss how JCI & other similar organisations can benefit young professionals in the development of their careers. This has provided a great opportunity for me to spread the word about the fantastic work we do within JCI & the brilliant people that make it all happen.

Is there anything you have done as a JCI member that has benefited your career?
I recently made it onto my company's brand new Management Talent Development programme which has been designed to develop individuals that are seen as high performers with great potential to be best placed to become the company's future leaders. The selection process was tough & very competitive with many of those employees eligible to apply going for just a few available spaces. After making it through the initial application round I had to complete a presentation to 3 members of the senior management team & then face a rigorous panel interview.

There's no doubt that my time at JCI, including my two years as Local President, helped me to secure a place on the programme. I included JCI experiences in my presentation & used examples in answers to one or two of the interview questions. The structured feedback I received from the Senior Management team indicated that they recognised the impact JCI had had on shaping the development of my career and my aspirations & how being a JCI member had actively helped prepare me for my presentation & interview.

How would you describe JCI to someone who has never heard of it before?
I would describe JCI as a fantastic worldwide organisation for the networking & personal development of young professionals & entrepreneurs with a key focus on community action. Joining the organisation & becoming an active member is a great way to expand your professional network, gain access to both personal & professional development opportunities, contribute to your local community through charitable fundraising & hands-on work, and make great lifelong friends whilst doing so. It's one of the best things I've ever done & my life quite simply wouldn't be the same without it!


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27th Aug, 2012

Summer Charity Event
by Drew Charman on August 27, 2012 17:13


On a rather changeable August evening JCI Southampton hosted its first Summer Charity Event on Southampton Common. 

Over 35 people joined the JCI team on 22nd August to participate in a fun rounders tournament & an American-style BBQ.  No matter what the weather threw at the event (from warm sunny evening to heaving rain), everyone had great fun - throwing themselves (quite literally in some cases) into the spirit of competition, enjoying the picnic & raising £134 for Gift of Sight, our nominated charity for 2012.

Such was the success of the evening, this should now become an annual event.  So get those rounders practice sessions in & join us for more summer fun next year!


Blog » Community Projects » JCI Southampton Summer Charity Event - 22 Aug 2012.JPG

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21st Jul, 2012

2012 Solent Business Ball Hits The Mark
by Drew Charman on July 21, 2012 17:24


2012 saw JCI Southampton team up with 3 other networking organisations - Young Chartered Accountants Group, Junior Law Divistion & RICS Matrics - to put on an gala dinner extraordinaire - the inaugral Solent Business Ball.

Held on 20th July at St Mary's Stadium, home of newly promoted Southampton FC, the night witnessed over 300 young professionals & entrepreneurs gathering together for the greatest event of the region's social calendar. Covered by the Daily Echo & other publications, the event raised over £1,000 on the night for this year’s joint charity, Wave 105's Cash For Kids.

Great atmosphere, great food, great music & great people - what more could you ask for?  Many thanks to all of you who attended and helped to make it such a fantasic evening. For those who missed out this year – don’t miss out next year! 


2012 Solent Business Ball


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3rd Jul, 2012

As President of JCI Southampton I am very proud to announce the launch of the UK's first Costa Academy in association with Costa Coffee.  The new facility, a £29,000 joint project between the two organisations, will be launched officially by the Mayor of Southampton and local MP, Alan Whitehead, on Friday 6th July and will create a host of apprenticeships and training opportunities within Costa, offering unemployed youngsters an important employment lifeline in the city.  It will also provide other community organisations and clubs across the city with a dedicated venue where meetings and training opportunities can take place, as well as becoming the home of JCI Southampton's Council team.

I am truly excited that JCI Southampton is able to partner Costa Coffee in providing this valuable asset to the city and its workforce.  This is the latest initiative that we have launched to help promote the personal and professional development of young people in the city, and also to serve the wider community itself.

In supporting the project, JCI Southampton has become the first UK chamber to win a National Lottery bid (of over £9,000).  This is a major intiative for our chamber & the first of its type across JCI UK.  We hope that this will prove to be a great template for other chambers & projects to follow, enabling them to work with their own partner organisations to enhance communities across the UK & provide opportunities for the people that live and are employed in them.

To end on a great note, all apprentices coming through the academy will have the opportunity to join JCI through a funding scheme - allowing them to access the wide network of young professional members and business partner organisations both in Southampton and across the UK.

Please find attached the first pre-cursor press article on the academy & watch out for more press coverage over the next few days!


newspaper article on the launch of the Costa Academy by JCI Southampton

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24th May, 2012

May 2012 Training Dinner - Essential Employment Law
by Drew Charman on May 24, 2012 22:27


Wednesday 16th May saw JCI members & non-members gather for a evening dedicated to learning all about the essential elements of employment law.  As employees & employers we all need to know where we stand in the thick of national & international employment law & the dinner evening provided a perfect platform for this.

Essential Employment Law - Claire Merritt - May 2012

Following networking drinks & a dinner of some great freshly delivered pizzas, Claire Merritt of Paris Smith LLP shared insights into her daily profressional life & provided interesting facts & case studies on a number of topics such as the many of elements of dismassal & resignation, equality protection & statutory rights.

The session proved to be a really interesting & fun interactive evening with attendees participating in discussions around the law & how it has played a part in their own careers & workplaces.

Essential Employment Law - May 2012

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15th May, 2012

JCI Southampton Participates In World Clean Up Action
by Drew Charman on May 15, 2012 21:59


On a very bright & sunny Sunday morning a group of intrepid volunteers took to the Hamble waterfront to perform a beach tidy up as part of the JCI UK efforts for 'World Clean Up 2012'.  It's just one way in which we're helping our community during 2012.

This annual project is the biggest cleanup action in the world with over 100 countries and millions of volunteers cleaning their countries from illegal waste/litter.

Working in conjunction locally with Eastleigh Council, the JCI Southampton members & friends armed themselves with litter pickers, bags & the odd cup cake or two (for sustenance!) to make the beach sparkle ready for the summer!  The team headed for a well-deserved pub lunch to celebrate their efforts.  Well done everyone!

Beach Tidy Up - Hamble, May 2012

Some of the Beach Tidy Up team - Hamble, May 2012


The end result:

Beach Tidy Up Result 1 - Hamble, May 2012  Beach Tidy Up Result 2 - Hamble, May 2012

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11th May, 2012

The end of April saw the JCI Southampton team host JCI UK Presidents & Deputies Weekend - an event for all Local Presidents & their Deputies to come together (along with the National Board) to meet, share ideas, learn & have lots of fun.  A packed two day schedule on 28th & 29th April comprised of the first National Council meeting of 2012 plus various training sessions & social events designed to provide a 2nd quarter springboard for the new Presidents & Deputies to carry on into their year of office.

We kicked off the weekend with dinner out in Bedford Place on Friday night with those delegates who arrived early - treating everyone to some good old fashioned Italian cuisine at Pulcinella restaurant accompanied by a spot of in-house live music.  In their excitement & haste to get to the delights of Southampton as quickly as possible some of the London delegation managed to get on the wrong train but they found their way to us eventually making up good time & we all had a great evening of catching up & getting ready for the weekend ahead.

National Council on Saturday morning saw lots of useful discussion & sharing of best practice - all with an emphasis of leading the UK organisation forward.  We also got to witness the official voting in of the 2012 Deputy National President - Emma Eastwood.  Emma is a Past President of Leeds & current JCI UK Training Director and is someone I've known for a long time now.  She's a truly fantastic person who's commitment & enthusaiasm to all things JCI is thoroughly infectious. I can't think of a better person to take on the role of Deputy National President this year and I look forward to working with her throughout the remainder of 2012 and indeed next year when she'll become JCI UK National President.  Many congratulations Emma - truly deserved!

Emma Eastwood - JCI UK Deputy National President

We were joined on Saturday afternoon by Erica Neve & Kelvin Lockwood who gave a wonderfully insightful look into the world of Learning & Development In A Digital Age.  This gave the delegates an opportunity to get stuck into everything the modern age can provide in terms of digital learning by using an interactive workshop session to share how various media streams can provide organisations with the tools they need to deliver their products & services and how to best use them to continually reach ever widening & innovative markets. 

We finished Saturday with drinks & dinner at Cargo in Oxford Street.  A meal for 30 people is no easy task to organise but it's made even more interesting when Southampton is out in force celebrating!  As you'll all know by now, the weekend was a very special one for the city of Southampton as our football team were promoted to the Premiership earlier on Saturday afternoon and it was fantastic to see the city celebrating in true style. The atmosphere out on the town & indeed in the restaurant was electric & something my colleagues from across JCI UK will not forget in quite some time.  Well done Saints & many thanks to Cargo for managing the dinner so well in the face of adversity in sheer numbers!

Southampton FC Promotion Celebrations

We were also very lucky to be joined by a surprise guest - Peter Robertson, President of Southampton Chamber of Commerce (& a Director of Hapmpshire Chamber of Commerce).  Peter heard we were dining in Cargo & dropped by to welcome all the delegates to the city of Southampton and re-iterate the importance of the relationship between the Chamber of Commerce and Junior Chamber International.  Peter also highlighted the significance of the football team's promotion earlier that day and how the huge injection of cash that the city will receive from this brilliant achievement is of significant importance to the city.

On Sunday all the Local Presidents took part in the second Presidents 'Local Leaders' training session of the year (the first having been at Inspiration Day in Birmingham back in January).  Some of us were out until 4am the night before tripping the light fantastic & then up again at 8am - but we're troopers & had a great second day.  Throughout the whole morning we constantly shared our successes, and indeed failures (as we can all learn from our mistakes), with each other in order to share best practice & strengthen each other as Presidents & in so doing the Chambers we represent.  We were also treated to a very interesting presentation about the history of JCI as an organisation. Did you know JCI was created in St Louis, USA and started out as a dancing club in the 1900s?!  I certainly didn't...  It's amazing how organisations can transform over the years. 

I have to say I always really enjoy these weekends!  They can be hard work with the late nights, early starts & packed daytime schedules, but to be in a room full of fellow JCI members who strive to get the most out of their membership by embracing national activities over & above the ones they already partake in locally always emphasises the reasons I joined JCI.  As both a Local President & a fellow member of JCI I get to engage with like-minded people who give so much of themselves to the growth & development of their communities as well gaining much more personally in return.  Not only are we able to bounce ideas off each other, offer support & advice to strengthen each other's chambers & shape the future of the UK organisation but also gain some amazing life-long friends in doing so.

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