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1st Dec, 2012

JCI National Conference 2012: Belfast
by James Mitchell on December 1, 2012 00:00



JCI National Conference 2012: Belfast

 - the lectures, the awards, the Titanic and the treasure hunts!

Each year JCI UK hold a national conference to allow members from UK chambers to attend first-class business talks, take part in competitions, enjoy social events, catch up with old friends and make new ones too. This year, JCI Belfast took the reins to host what promised to be a fantastic event. And oh, what an event it was!

Friday 30 November saw 13 members from JCI Cambridge rise well before the sun to catch their early flight to Belfast. This was of course conducted very professionally as the group approached security wearing stick-on moustaches and carrying a Mr Men suitcase! The idea was to extend 'Movember' with 'Faux-ember' and raise money for charity whilst wearing moustaches over the course of the conference weekend. Who knew you could get through airport security wearing stick-on facial hair?!

Upon arrival, the group went to sample the best of Irish food with a well earnt fry-up at St George's Market restaurant. After refuelling on many types of bread, it was time to join in with the JCI activities. Friday afternoon kicked off with a welcome talk from JCI UK National President Solveig Malvik followed by a motivating presentation from Feargal McCormack, managing partner and founder of FPM chartered accountants. JCI Cambridge President Patrick McCrae then took to the stage for the public speaking competition while James Mitchell, Harriet Bastiani and Howard Felstead joined in with a mentoring session with mentees from The Prince's Trust.

Friday night was spent socialising to the music of a traditional Irish band at the Ulster Reform Club in the heart of the city. After a buffet and several drinks, Howard Felstead bravely stepped up and took part in the Extempore competition, getting through to the final round! The Extempore competition requires participants to take the stage and speak off-the-cuff about a random object chosen by the host. The night was spent meeting new faces, catching up with old friends and generally having a great time.

Despite being slightly delirious from lack of sleep the previous day, nine JCI Cambridge members formed a team and took part in an organised treasure hunt around Belfast on Saturday morning. Possibly one of the funniest JCI tasks to date, this mission saw JCI Cambridge squishing seven people into a phonebox and adopting all sorts of ridiculous poses around the city. And yes, there is much photographic evidence, do check out our facebook page if you'd like to see seven people on top of each other or breaking out into dance in the middle of the street.

Saturday afternoon saw JCI members get down to some 'serious business' as they gained an understanding of how to become an effective leader from Professor Jackie McCoy of Ulster University. JCI Cambridge favourite Derek Reilly then took his networking expertise to the next level and lectured on 'networking for leaders', which provided the next step from the 'sex and networking' presentation he gave to the Cambridge chamber earlier in the year. The debating competition then took place, with JCI Cambridge President Patrick McCrae forming part of of the southern debating team while Immediate Past President Jen Little sat on the judging panel for the contest.

After a long and hilarious day, everyone was looking forward to the Gala Dinner, hosted at the amazing Titanic Belfast. Held in the dining suite, where a replica of the dining room aboard the ship formed the stage for the event, it was truly a special evening. A fantastic three-course meal was followed by an elaborate awards ceremony where JCI Cambridge won a whole host of awards for its work this year.

These included:

Most outstanding member award - Harriet Bastiani

Most outstanding regular publication - Engage/Laura Wing

Employee mentoring scheme - certificate of merit

Debating competition - second place

Extempore - second place, Howard Felstead

Public speaking - runner up, Patrick McCrae

Best first timer - Ben Goddard

Belfast treasure hunt - first place

A perfect evening was completed when JCI Cambridge Immediate Past President and chamber founder Jen Little was awarded her JCI Senatorship, meaning she is now a JCI member for life. This was a really special moment for Jen and proud moment for JCI Cambridge.

Finally heading to bed around 5am, a few hours of sleep were had before gathering on Sunday morning for a spot of lunch at quirky haunt 'Made in Belfast' before beginning the journey home.

It really was a fantastic weekend meeting lots of great people, hearing some inspiring speakers, eating great food at luxurious venues, and most of all laughing from start to finish.

The focus now turns to JCI Cambridge as it prepares to hold its first ever Business Skills Day, Inspiration Day and Gala Dinner weekend at the end of January. To find out more and book your place, visit our events page now.

Harriet Bastiani, JCI Cambridge Community Director said: "The whole weekend was an amazing experience I will never forget, but Saturday in particular was a highlight for me.  Having had only a few hours sleep, JCI Cambridge used its "creativity" to win the treasure hunt by taking photos squished in a phone box, dancing in the street, playing "splat Howard" and creating a window display in Jaeger!  I now have a six pack after laughing so hard!  The award ceremony in the evening was a particularly special evening for me and I am still very much in shock at receiving my award.  However, even better than my award, was seeing Jen our immediate Past President being made a senator for her work in re-establishing JCI Cambridge- something so well deserved and so warmly received."

Finance Director Ben Goddard said he enjoyed learning about the JCI outside of Cambridge. "The National Conference was a great way of learning how JCI functions at a larger scale. I was fortunate enough to talk with Emma Eastwood at the very start of the event; she seemed to know absolutely everyone attending, which was a great advantage during the signature bingo, as she was able to introduce me to all the relevant people (and help me get their signatures!), which allowed me to win the Best First Time award."


To see more pictures please see our Facebook Page

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15th Nov, 2012

Engage - December issue now available online
by James Mitchell on November 15, 2012 22:01


Blog » Engage Images » Dec Engage.png

JCI Cambridge's new member magazine, packed full of interesting articles and information about what we've up to is now available to read online.

This month's highlights include:

  • JCI UK National Conference 2012
  • Inspiration Day, Gala Dinner and Business Skills Day 2013
  • Quiz Night Success!

To read the December issue of Engage click here


If you would like to contribute to future Engage issues or have any feedback then please email us on at

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15th Oct, 2012

Engage - November issue now available online
by James Mitchell on October 15, 2012 22:01



JCI Cambridge's new member magazine, packed full of interesting articles and information about what we've up to is now available to read online.

This month's highlights include:

  • Chariots of fire
  • JCI Cambridge attends LEAP
  • Members of the month - John Collins

To read the November issue of Engage click here


If you would like to contribute to future Engage issues or have any feedback then please email us on at

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15th Sep, 2012

Engage - October issue now available online
by James Mitchell on September 15, 2012 22:01


Blog » Engage Images » Sept Engage.png

JCI Cambridge's new member magazine, packed full of interesting articles and information about what we've up to is now available to read online.

This month's highlights include:

  • Launch of the JCI Cambridge Pub Club
  • JCI Cambridge All Stars take to the skies and raise £1,300 for Arthur Rank
  • The low down on our last business speaker - Mike Yates on Business Brilliance in focus
  • A Titanic convention - Nation Conference update!

To read the October issue of Engage click here


If you would like to contribute to future Engage issues or have any feedback then please email us on at

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4th Sep, 2012

Sign up now for discounted tickets to the best party in town!
by James Mitchell on September 4, 2012 15:14


JCI Cambridge is proud to be sponsoring the Cambridge Young Professionals Group (CYPG) summer ball on Saturday 15 September 2012 at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

The biggest ‘non-university’ charity ball of the year brings together an array of young professionals from a variety of industries in support of local charity Wintercomfort.

JCI members are entitled to a special discount price of £52.25 per ticket to this strictly black-tie event. The price includes a drinks reception, three-course meal, disco and DJ, as well as a casino, pampering session and raffle where you can win a Kindle or Apple TV.

So, if you fancy spending a glittering evening with like-minded young professionals, sign up now for your ticket. You’ll be in good JCI company too, as JCI President Patrick McCrae will be attending along with other members of the committee.


To book your ticket to the best party in town this summer visit

and use the code LSDSG35 to claim your discount.

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15th Aug, 2012

Engage - September issue now available online
by James Mitchell on August 15, 2012 22:01


Blog » Engage Images » Sept Engage.png

JCI Cambridge's new member magazine, packed full of interesting articles and information about what we've up to is now available to read online.

This month's highlights include:

  • All Stars strike again!
  • JCI take the plunge
  • Next Business Event:- Sex & Networking
  • Join JCI Cambridge for the European Conference 2012!

To read the September issue of Engage click here


If you would like to contribute to future Engage issues or have any feedback then please email us on at

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15th Jul, 2012

Blog written by JCI Member Kelly Tennick

Another successful day for team JCI All Stars at the Cambridge Race For Life on the 1st July. A team of 5 JCI Cambridge ladies, including myself, Harriet Bastiani, Diana Waterer, Lisa Bredahl Thomsen, Sarah Butler Ford completed the Race For Life in a respectable 36m45s and raised a fantastic £214 for Cancer Research.

Starting at Parker's Piece we followed a 5km route through the town and King's College before finishing at Jesus Green. Although the weather at times looked threatening, the rain held off and all of us were running sporting a celebrity look with our sunglasses on! The overall turnout for the event was amazing and the atmosphere had an encouraging buzz. With ladies everywhere dressed in pink the JCI All Stars team stood out in our fantastic blue JCI Cambridge t-shirts, although we have decided to 'pink it Race For Life Teamup' a bit for next year.

The support from spectators all along the route was amazing and so encouraging, especially when I decided to get a stitch half way round! It was the best feeling to reach the finish line on Jesus Green, all of us crossing it together before collecting our goodie bag and medal. Big thanks goes to James Mitchell, Vice President of JCI Cambridge who supported us on the day and took pictures and film of our effort...and even wore a bright pink curly wig ;)

Overall, we managed to raise a fantastic £214, majorly exceeding our £100 target! A big well done, and thank you to all the ladies that took part: Harriet Bastiani, Diana Waterer, Lisa Bredahl Thomsen, Sarah Butler Ford and myself, Kelly Tennick.

Another perk of completing this challenge is that we can now add another 25km to our '2012 km in 2012' challenge which is great news!

If you would like to be involved with any of our charity or sporting events, we are always looking for new faces and would love to have you join us. Please email or speak to Patrick or James at our next event.


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19th Jun, 2012

By JCI Cambridge member Kelly Tennick

Having never been to a JCI International event before, I have to be honest and say I literally didn’t know what to expect. Yes, I had been told snippets by others that had been before, and knew that I had booked my workshops and events online before we left. So in my head I guess I just thought I would be sticking to my online timetable, meeting lots of new people, learning new things and then going out every night! And to a point, that is what happened...but it truly turned out to be so much more than just following a timetable and meeting new people.

JCI Cambridge at the airport of their way to the European Conference

The whole thing started at 5.50am, Stanstead Airport enjoying breakfast and drinks with the other JCI Cambridge members. And by drinks, I do mean a cheeky gin as well as the orange juice! The flight was very quick and before we knew it we had arrived at the check-in lounge at Hannover Airport where we were greeted with free drinks and the first opportunity to start meeting and catching up with other members. I will be honest here and say I felt a little bit daunted at this point! It was probably due to a shortage of sleep and wanting to stare at things rather than talk, as well as it kind of dawning on me for the first time that JCI is slightly bigger than our monthly meetings in Cambridge....

Another journey, by bus this time, and we had arrived at the Stadhalle – one of the main ‘campus locations’ of the event. We registered, received our (slightly amazing) delegate cards and collected a delegate bag which was not only a pretty good bag, it had all the conference information in it and was full of goodies including sweets, perfume and plasters.....fantastic!

Arriving at the hotel a short time later, it became clear that the timetable that had been booked online was not necessarily set in stone! UK members all enjoyed a drink and lunch in the garden before meeting up to go to the first evening’s event: the Opening Ceremony. It was here that I realised why other UK members had been adamant that Union Jack items or ‘Jackage’ would be required. I realised It’s not that we want to rub it in that we are British, but being surrounded by delegates from all across Europe is a wonderful feeling, everyone is supportive of each other’s heritage and wants to show they are proud of their country. Everybody joined in and it was a fantastic feeling. The only competition was which country could make the most noise!

What a wonderful first evening. The opening ceremony was great fun and really demonstrated the togetherness and ambition of JCI. The disco after was just totally enjoyable, as was the continuously flowing free alcohol and the many stands supplying free food including meats, pancakes, sweets and baked cheese, my favourite...yes I think I had about 4 of these by home time! I get hungry after a few drinks.

The next morning found us getting the bus at 8am to the Stadhalle for the ‘First Timers Meeting’. This was the first ‘workshop’ that I attended and it was enjoyable, informative of the week ahead and even included some dancing. I then watched the official opening of the trade show which contained some great stands, including stands from other JCI countries such as Turkey and Monaco, all offering information about their country alongside national delicacies such as Raki, the most horrendous disgusting alcohol I have ever tasted (no offence Turkey!). That was a free alcohol I definitely said ‘no thank you’ to!

Lunch found us enjoying a Chinese buffet just a short walk into the beautiful town of Braunschweig. In our delegate bags we all had 5euro vouchers to use within some of the local shops in the town, meaning lunch with a drink cost me about 4euros! The generosity of the conference continued to surprise me.

The second evening found us partying in a tram station! I know this sounds odd, but really it was a fantastic location. There was lots of space for everyone to dance, socialise and enjoy themselves as well as lots of fresh air so that it didn’t get too hot. On top of this there were free tram rides around Braunschweig as well as again having all free alcohol and a beautiful melted cheese and bread ‘snack thingy’ which was amazing!

The JCI Cambridge team still smiling at the JCI European Conference

The third morning did NOT find me getting up for the bus at 8am! However, I made it to my first workshop at 10.30am which was called ‘Passion Into Action’. This was an absolutely fantastic workshop and really focussed on how to change your perspective to realise that the things you want to achieve are actually achievable! I really enjoyed this workshop and found that it was delivered excellently, passionately and I just soaked up the information like a sponge. I even managed to talk to another delegate who had several businesses in many different countries – proof that JCI really does include everyone from grass roots divisions or start up businesses right through to top entrepreneurs and business people. In the afternoon I attended some of a workshop called ‘To Flirt or Not to Flirt’. I enjoyed the first half and the presenter was interesting and engaging, although I found the content to be a bit stereotypical. However I had to leave half way through to ensure I got back to the hotel in time for UK drinks in the garden and our ride to the third nights entertainment.

Another fabulous night was in store, this time at a cinema complex which offered an amazing amount of space, more alcohol and food (not so interested in alcohol at this point!) as well as the football game being shown on a cinema screen with free popcorn and beer! There was a great display from a Jagermiester band, as well as the performance of the evening, JCI UK delegate Tim Metcalf appearing in a ‘mankini’ to raise money for the ‘Nothing But Nets’ charity. Literally hilarious and extremely brave, this highlighted that not only is JCI serious, business and networking. Its a group of people all with the same frame of mind who, yes want to learn and improve themselves but also have a brilliant time socialising with each other and dedicating time effort and appreciation to charities and those in need.

The JCI UK delegation

I’m not sure how I got up on Saturday morning but I arrived promptly for ‘How to Succeed in Business’ which was a really good workshop covering all the basics for starting your own business. I have to say I didn’t really hear anything new in this workshop, but it certainly was a great tool for remembering techniques and ideas that I may have let slip or thought not useful and reapplying them to evaluate and move my business forward.

Following a brief yet much needed afternoon nap, I donned my glad rags and at 6pm met the other UK delegates for the Gala Dinner. Everybody looked really lovely and it was fantastic to be celebrating the last night with all the wonderful people that I had met over the last few days. The Gala Dinner was really special. The venue had been wonderfully decorated and the atmosphere was just fantastic. The food was enjoyable and the drinks were flowing. We (JCI UK) even won the Best New Member award which was a really proud moment and I felt really privileged to be a part of the evening.

A fantastic Conference rounded off with a brunch at the town square which was totally picturesque and wonderfully relaxing....just what was required after a week of hard socialising, learning (and drinking). It was a great place to have a last catch up with all the great new people I had met, grab some food and enjoy the sunshine before making our way back to the airport.

The JCI Cambridge team enjoying a relaxing drink!

Definitely the best experience of my JCI membership so far, the European Conference was totally worth the effort and I had a fantastic time. I would urge any delegate, new or established to try out an international event if they have not already done so. It really illustrates what JCI is all about, shows you a much bigger picture that what you see through each chapter and demonstrates how what you do within each chapter is part of something that is going on worldwide. A truly amazing time and I can’t wait to attend another international event next year!


And a video of the whole event!!




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3rd Jun, 2012

Employer Mentoring Scheme Awards
by James Mitchell on June 3, 2012 16:59


Blog written by Anglia Ruskin student and JCI Member Marcel Goerlich

Business mentors from JCI Cambridge attend awards ceremony in recognition of their contribution to Anglia Ruskin University's Employer Mentoring Scheme.

For the last year a number of members from JCI Cambridge have been guiding, advising and imparting their business, experience and skills to second year students of Anglia University to help them understand and make the transition to employment and the business environment.

The JCI Cambridge mentors that volunteered to take part in the scheme were matched to the university students according to their career aspirations and the mentors skills. The mentors' role was to act as a 'business mentor' on a one-to-one basis providing a voice of experience for students. The JCI mentors helped to develop the students' their workplace skills, business awareness and gain an understanding of the workplace environment, its expectations and demands. The long-term purpose of mentoring is not only helping students to develop their professional skills, that one day the mentees would also be able to be involved at a later stage and pass on my knowledge and experience to a mentee.

Mentoring Awards 2012Marcel Goerlich who was mentored by JCI Cambridge's Vice President James Mitchell explains "The mentoring scheme has been a very useful and enriching experience for me. This is due to th good mix of one-to-one sessions with my mentor James and the business networking/training events provided by JCI Cambridge.

My initial introductory session with James took place in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere where we discussed what we wanted to gain or offer to the scheme including what my main aims of being involved in the scheme were. For me, it was primarily to improve my professional skills such as giving presentations, networking and interview skills. For James it was that he wanted to help young people like me kick-start their careers by coaching them and giving honest, constructive feedback.

Based on this discussion we started talking about how James could help me during the following weeks and months. He suggested that I come along to JCI Cambridge events where I could practice my networking skills and take part in a variety of training events. In addition to this, James offered an opportunity to talk to his contact who worked in a recruitment agency and arranged a mock interview to practise my interviewing skills. After this meeting, I realised that it had been a really good idea to enrol on the scheme and that it would be really helpful, not just because of the opportunity to be mentored by James, but also to benefit from the opportunities provided by JCI Cambridge.

Now, several months after that initial meeting, I can confirm that the scheme has met all my expectations. At the JCI Cambridge meetings I had the chance to meet many interesting and like-minded people and I have definitely become more confident in group situations and networking. I received helpful hints to improve my interview skills and James successfully coached me to speak freely in front of people.Mentoring Awards 2012

I was amazed by the commitment I encountered when working with my mentor. James took the time to prepare me for actual job interviews and always had creative ideas to improve my skills. The feedback I received was always fair and helped me to understand how other people perceive me and what areas I can improve upon.

I can really recommend the mentoring scheme to anybody who is open-minded, ready to get feedback and willing to develop themselves. I gained invaluable skills that I am sure will help me personally and in my future career."

If you help an Anglia Ruskin students learn about the realities of the workplace, the opportunities available as well as the obstacles they are may be likely to face? If so, please get in touch by emailing us at To find out more about the Employer Mentoring Scheme visit Anglia Ruskin website.

Remember - all volunteer hours can be logged as part of JCI ACE, where the efforts of JCI members will be recognised through an awards scheme - please check out our blog post for more information. 


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1st Jun, 2012

Blog written by JCI Member Kelly Tennick

Wow! What another fantastic evening courtesy of JCI Cambridge. This time, the event was volunteering to help raise much needed funds for Wallace Cancer Care at the Cambridge Beer Festival.

The evening started pretty sombre, sociable and relaxed. It was nice to have a good catch up with other JCI members and to meet the other, non-JCI volunteers that were there. Time was spent behind the book stall encouraging passers-by to browse and hopefully purchase as many books as possible (at only 50p each a bargain) and with Adam not failing to point out the ‘saucy’ books on the end table we were definitely on to a winner! The free drink vouchers also started making the rounds and we were soon all enjoying a nice pint of beer or cider, or in my case - apple juice. Well somebody had to be designated driver!

We were then briefed on the basic info of Wallace Cancer Care to arm us with valuable knowledge for the evening before being let loose on the public with our buckets! We had a great time winding our way through the ever increasing crowds, having a chat with some great people and collecting a good amount of cash for the start of the evening.

As people (us included) became slightly more inebriated, things seemed to go from good fun to hilarious! All sorts of tactics and conversation starters were used to get the good people of Cambridge to drop their pennies in our buckets. My favourite was definitely Harriet’s story of being a weight lifter in the Olympics that needed a heavier bucket to do her training! Her arm curls were in my opinion impressive, to the men more comical but it was a fantastic way to get people engaged with what we were doing and raised a fantastic amount of money.

I had an absolutely fantastic evening and would not hesitate to volunteer with JCI Cambridge again! It’s the perfect evening in one...there is a great social aspect, personal development opportunities for approaching and engaging with strangers and getting results, It’s confidence boosting, great for team morale and not forgetting that it was all for an amazing cause, Wallace Cancer Care.

Figures tell me that on the Friday evening we raised £1323.05, a brilliant amount! Overall a staggering £8928.70 was raised which is truly fantastic, and will hopefully be a great help in enabling Wallace Cancer Care to continue with their inspiring, dedicated work.

Thanks JCI Cambridge, another top notch evening!

Remember - all volunteer hours can be logged as part of JCI ACE, where the efforts of JCI members will be recognised through an awards scheme - please check out our blog post for more information.

Adam Choosing a book at Cambridge Beer Festival JCI Cambridge Volunteering at Cambridge Beer Festival 2012

Harriet and Kelly at the Cambridge Beer Festival

JCI Cambridge volunteers for Wallace Cancer Care at Cambridge Beer Festival 2012
Cambridge Beer Festival
Adam Choosing a book at Cambridge Beer Festival

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