Growing with JCI

A past member and board member of JCI Winnipeg, I was a part of JCI as long as I could be. It’s designed for those 18-40, and I have enjoyed celebrating my 40th already – otherwise I would still be in there taking advantage of the opportunities and experiences JCI presents.
Before I start to tell you about my JCI development, my question for you is: where are you right now with your life? Are you comfortable? Are you bored? Are you spinning your wheels because no one will give you a chance or opportunities? Do you dream of doing more?
In order for development to take place, you need options, a willingness to take risks, and teamwork. I work at Western Canada Lottery Corporation, currently as an analyst, with career goals that go far beyond my job description. In addition, I am a board member for the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival, The International Cello Festival of Canada and Ironman Outdoor Curling Bonspiel.
Joining JCI gave me access to programs and people that worked with the same mindset and energy. Just being with the group, you know you’ve found the right place, but that’s only the beginning.
Options for professional development in workshops are offered in the local chapter right up to the world level. I kid you not. Where can you access world-level opportunities where you are right now?
I would be remiss if I did not share that possibility; for me, the opportunity to interact with professional speakers and JCI members across Canada exceeded my wildest dreams for professional development.
Attending national speaking conventions in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario were simply amazing and it was thanks to the local chapter encouraging me to attend and being able to travel with the group. Each convention is also jam-packed with development workshops.
Taking risks
Risks are, depending on your point of view, good or bad. If you said risk is good, you’re the right person for JCI.
The thing about risk is that it can be measured, weighed and avoided. If a group of bright, young and dynamic people help their community, with events like organizing a Santa Claus workshop and float or a community park cleanup, and present opportunities to be a part of an award-winning board, where is the risk?
My own fears about standing out or being a leader were quickly silenced when I realized what a difference I could make by being engaged and being part of the moment, maximizing opportunities. Being part of JCI at the local level is where the grit is. You are the only one that will stop you from going further.
JCI is a positive group with deep roots in this city, with senators and past presidents that help new members, proven programs, and meaningful board functions. I will always be proud of how I helped this city with the Santa Claus Parade.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.” You have to open yourself up to taking advantage of all the positive opportunities; you have to risk your old self to grow in to a new you, and you need to put that together with your ideas and a team.
There is a unique dynamic within JCI – it’s always searching for new opportunities for members to gain new experience outside of their current roles with work, family or school. You could be leading a team, handling marketing, working on finances or sponsorship, or speaking in front of crowds. Often, you have to put your skills to good use while developing new ones.
Through JCI development I helped organize a public speaking series with media, a politician, an actor, and the JCI board in attendance. It was fantastic how my organizing and leadership skills got a workout with this amazing team, helping this (once) new JCI member grow, and make new business contacts.
I will always be grateful for the professional development and life experiences I gained from JCI, and I have no regrets. I welcome you to find out for yourself; the door is open!
Michael Thompson “Be Better”

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