Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Local Officer Training School

Dear JCI Winnipeg members and supporters,

It was my honor to meet your president Danelle in St. Louis a few weeks ago at the JCI USA Local President's Summit along with many other JCI Canada local presidents.

Your national president Jen Sencar mentioned the opportunity to come and train at the regional LOTS (Local Officer Training School) in Regina just a week ago. For those of you not familiar with LOTS, it is an excellent opportunity for local officers to attend training on best practices to ensure a successful year as a local officer. Think of this opportunity as a great way to not only prepare your board of directors, but also a fantastic opportunity to network with other chapters.

I was able to join the Prairie Region for LOTS and conduct the JCI Admin course on effective chapter management. It was very exciting to see so many JCI Winnipeg officers in attendance! Your chapter was definitely well represented. Part of my job as International Vice President is to travel around to my assigned countries and meet with members and officers in the organization to share the tools and resources available to them as JCI members. This also includes communicating the strategic plan, Active Citizen Framework, and information about JCI programs and events.

My favorite part of being able to train JCI Admin, was being able to share my experiences in JCI as far as what I have been able to accomplish personally, the impact my local organization has had in my community, and also the impact we have been able to have on our local members who took advantage of the opportunities for personal and professional development. I have witnessed members grow in JCI by learning how to manage people and projects and transcending those skills into real world business skills that set them apart from other employees. This type of experience has earned members promotions, raises, and in some cases, new jobs that allow them to excel even further into their careers. I know of many members who have been hired by employers because of their involvement with JCI and the experience they have gained by being active members. 

Members - JCI Calgary, JCI Edmonton, JCI Humboldt and JCI Winnipeg
Personally, my affiliation started paying off just a few years after I joined when my boss noticed my outside activities and volunteerism. My leadership skills I was learning in the Junior Chamber were helping me on the job with managing people and projects, as well as expectations.  I was given a very nice raise and a promotion to a brand new title and I was empowered to lead a team on an important project. Fast forward to seven years later, and I have climbed the leadership ladder within JCI to become a local president, regional director, state vice president, state president, national training director, and national vice president.  My career path at my job was slowing down and the opportunities for my specialized work were dwindling. After I returned from an NVP trip to one of my assigned states, I was informed that my job was being eliminated. Most people would be upset or sad about losing their job, especially after 12 years of loyalty to a single company, but honestly, after experiencing life to the fullest in JCI and reflecting on everything I have learned and the person I have become, I was quite at peace, if not relieved that my employment was coming to an end. I knew that I had hundreds of LinkedIn contacts and several thousand Facebook friends that I could leverage in my new job search. JCI taught me the value of networking and personal connections. I reached out to my friends and former coworkers to let them know of my search for a new opportunity. It did not take long for one of my JCI friends to connect me with one of her connections which resulted in a series of interviews. Those interviews resulted in a job offer that substantially raised my salary and granted me an excellent opportunity to use even more of my skills I have honed in JCI. I made the leap into IT Consulting and I am loving every minute of it! My new employer supports my JCI career and I feel like I can truly grow with this company and that everything happens for a reason. I am so much happier and I feel empowered by my employer and my clients, but most of all, I have a feeling of fulfillment when I go to work every day. I can only attribute my success in my professional career to my involvement in JCI. It is just one of the many great benefits of being an active member in this great organization!

Jennifer Gracey

2014 International Vice President

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