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31st Jul, 2014

JCI World Congress
by Kleon West on July 31, 2014 16:28


Blog » International events » World congress sml.jpgJCI World Congress 2014 – Leipzig Germany

Freedom. Passion. Change.

JCI Germany is hosting the first JCI World Congress with no carbon footprint this year.

5,000 JCI members from all over the world will meet in a historically charged location – Leipzig, having played an important part in the reunification of Germany.

Make JCI friends all around the globe in one place, expand your mind with exciting personal development trainings, contribute to community projects, support our debating team in this international contest and do not miss out on the evening events – of course the Oktoberfest and the elegant JCI Farewell Ball are not to be missed.

Here are the facts

When: 24 – 29 November 14

Where: Leipzig, Germany


- Access to all activities in the program (except ones marked with invitation only and fundraiser activities)

- Five lunches

- Farewell Ball

- Transportation between hotels and convention centre.

Registration fee:

Until 24th October Members 400 Euro Non-members 500 Euro

25th October until 12th November Members 450 Euro Non-members 550

Euro Flights: Fly from Manchester to Berlin Tegel airport from £138 return (per 20th July) and take a train to Leipzig (only 1 hour ride)


Direct flights to Leipzeig are not that frequent (Ryanair does a Sunday to Sunday from Stansted for example) so you may want to look at flying into Berlin and catching the hourly train to Leipzig if you need more flexibility.

These flights, with a big suitcase, cost under £100 flying into Berlin and out of Leipzig (as per 8th July). Find all the travel suggestions on

Hotel: The JCI UK delegate hotel is the Pentahotel.

Using to book a twin room at £710 for 6 nights with free cancellation; there were non-refundable rates which saved about £40 and the price for 7 nights was not vastly different. Oh, and it looks lovely and has a pool!

Let’s have a big turn out with all the UK delegates! Check out and follow on facebook ‘JCI World Congress 2014 in Leipzig’ or twitter @jciwc2014

Yours Michaela

National & International Director

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31st Jul, 2014

MRJ's Smile for Orly!
by Kleon West on July 31, 2014 16:17


#cyclefororly : 874 Miles, 44 hours, 1 goal


MRJ committed to cycle (on an exercise bike) 874 miles (Lands End to John O’Groats) in 44 hours to raise money for our chosen charity partner “a Smile for Orly”.

Why 44 hours?

It’s the world record, so why not!

On Tuesday 29th April our mission to ride 874 miles on an exercise bike got under way at 1:00PM. We aimed to tackle the challenge in 44 hours (the world record)… however we are delighted to say that we managed to beat even our own expectations and completed our final mile in 34 hours!

We had some great support from friends that we were keen to get involved and jump on the bike to help us complete our goal and we couldn’t have done it without them! Most importantly, the main goal of our bike ride was to raise awareness and funds for “a Smile for Orly” charity for projects at Manchester Children’s hospital, and with the generosity and help of so many great people we managed raise over £3400!

What we have managed to achieve has been phenomenal and we cannot thank everyone who got involved enough, we would like to send a personal thanks to the JCI team, current President Caroline McCarron‎ and outgoing President Jen Smith for all the help and support we received from them.

We are extremely proud to have been involved with “a Smile for Orly” and could not think of a better cause to support.


You can still donate here 

JCI Manchester are extremely proud to support our corporate members in their charitable efforts. If you would like to get in touch with JCI manchester about charitable efforts the get in touch with 


Blog » Community projects » smile for orly 2 sml.jpg

Blog » Community projects » smile for orly sml.jpg

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20th Feb, 2014

Jen Smith's 2013 JCI Manchester Review
by Kleon West on February 20, 2014 00:08


I don't actually know what happened in 2013 - it really was that much of a whirlwind. One minute I was hosting a board meeting in January telling the directors that everyone was expected to bring a plus one to each event to fill seats, by February we had waiting lists! We outgrew venues, outgrew mailshot companies, outgrew membership deals and in the best possible sense, we outgrew ourselves.

I'm a lawyer. While this means a lot of things, it critically means that my working life is made up of 6 minute units. 6 minute units that I have to record 7 hours of. There is no time for JCI in your working day; it has to happen before work, during lunch, after work or at weekends. I had no idea what life would be like as a local JCI president. I knew from my time as charity director that it was going to be a huge commitment, but nothing really prepares you for the challenges that you are faced with... However, every challenge was worth it and every moment where you want to scream, "why am I doing this??" was worth it, so here are some of my highlights to share with you from my year:-

Top 5 highlights

(1)     The New Members Evening - Our flagship event for the first half of the year sold out within 6 hours and there was a tremendous buzz in the community. 140 people filled the Great John Street hotel and we had an amazing kick start to the year. What I was most proud of was being able to send the following email to my board the night before the event:

"Finally, thank you so much for everyone's hard work so far this year in JCI Manchester. I can't tell you how proud I am to be a part of this team and I hope you are all too. Tonight is a celebration of everything we have achieved so far - record breaking sell out events and the chamber that has gained the most new members in 2013, to name but two. Make sure you enjoy tonight, be proud of your organisation and proud of what you have all achieved as individuals to get here".

(2)     The mid-year review - The success of JCI Manchester is absolutely a team effort. I was conscious that the organisation was developing and evolving at such a pace that it was consuming more personal time than people anticipated. I wanted the directors to see that their efforts and hard work were really appreciated. I arranged as a surprise for everyone to go to the private cinema room in Media City and showed a short film that one of the directors had produced of everything that we had achieved so far in the year. Without the voluntary efforts and dedication of the board, JCI Manchester would not function and would not be able to compete at the highest level of professional development in Manchester. It was so rewarding to see everyone's reaction to the film and have the opportunity to reflect on what we had all achieved.

(3)     The EWord and Studio North working in partnership with us - I will always be eternally grateful for Al Mackin and Dan Nolan from the EWord for building us a website and also designing a logo for the MYTA, on a completely pro bono basis. It was recognition that we had raised the bar as an organisation and to be associated with the EWord, did an enormous amount for our brand and the MYTA. Similarly, working with Michael Di Paola and the team at Studio North elevated JCI Manchester to the next level and catapulted us to a position in the community that we had not previously enjoyed. I'm most proud of the fact that I can genuinely call Al, Dan and Michael, friends.

(4)     MYTA - anyone who attended the MYTA will know why this is in my highlights. Bias I may be, however, it was one of the best award ceremonies I have ever attended. We recognised 10 outstanding young individuals who had achieved phenomenal success, both from a professional and personal perspective and to see the difference winning such an award has made to people, really makes it all worthwhile. We received some feedback recently from an individual that hadn't attended the event herself, but had spoken to somebody that had and said it was apparently "too professional, too slick". I'll take that. I'll take that feedback every day of the week.  

(5)     My personal development journey. I had always considered myself to be a follower, not a leader but I suddenly had no choice. During my 12 months as President, I learnt so much from a personal development point of view and as both a manager and leader. Being a leader can also be an incredibly lonely place - especially when there is nobody else above you. There is nobody to mentor you, or tell you where you are going right and perhaps more importantly, where you are going wrong. 2013 was one of the best years of my life - that may sound sad, but when you commit to something as much as I committed to JCI Manchester; when you allow something to consume your life as much as I allowed JCI Manchester to, I think it would be a very sad day if I looked back and felt indifferent. There is one quality that will really set you apart I believe as a good leader and that is self-awareness. Without self-awareness, how can you understand your strengths and weaknesses? I constantly reflected on decisions I made throughout the year and if I was a good manager and moreover, a good leader. Self-awareness is crucial when building a team and effective teams are made up of people who both understand and complement each other.

Finally, I cannot end this blog without doing a bit of a sales pitch for JCI! As I said in my MYTA speech to our members and prospective members - get involved in an organisation that will actually make a difference to you as an individual and to your CV. Don't get me wrong, like most things in life, JCI is meritocratic - you will only get out of it what you are willing to put in. However, it can help accelerate career progression and empower you to make a positive change to not just yourself but to your business, and moreover, our city and community. Manchester is unique and in the words of our charity, Forever Manchester "if you were born here, ever lived here, were educated here, worked here or just came to party and stayed, you'll know what we mean". This is the place where the atom was split, Mr Rolls met Mr Royce, the Industrial Revolution was born...we invented the computer! It's the home of Oasis, Elbow, Take That, the Hacienda and now the Warehouse Project. Manchester is brimming with talent and a place where anybody with an idea can change the world. So get involved with an organisation that will challenge you to leave your comfort zone and encourage you to use your skills and talents to help contribute to this great city.




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20th Feb, 2014

1£-per-day Challenge 2014 - By Michaela Schaller
by Kleon West on February 20, 2014 00:00


The inspiration

Oh, a JCI takes one pound a day to nourish a child in developing countries...donate to support the UN millennium development goal to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty...yep, I am in" This or something similar went through my head when my thumb hit the 'join' button on the facebook invitation that I had received from JCI UK sometime during December. That was it - I had just committed to donate my grocery budget for one week except for 7£ to the charity 'Save the Children'. 'Save the Children' works in more than 120 countries saving children's lives, fighting for their rights and helping them fulfil their potential. Fine, I thought, this is an initiative that truly expresses JCI spirit: returning value to the community, involving JCI members actively and supporting the UN millennium development goals.

food chart.png

What are the UN millennium development goals? Beginning of this millennium, the United Nations started a campaign to inspire and support people around the world to take action to support eight world development goals defined by the United Nations:

-       Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
-       Achieve universal primary education
-       Promote gender equality and empower women
-       Reduce child mortality
-       Improve maternal health
-       Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
-       Ensure environmental sustainability
-       Global partnership for development

Not long and facebook messages started flying around between all participants of this challenge about how to fix a dinner on a budget of 1£, where to get the best discount deals for basic food, discussion s about the rules, does tea have to be budgeted for, can you split up family packs to reduce the price per piece... It was then when it dawned on me - they were serious!


While I thought those 7£ to be more of a symbolic token that I would retain for a living I had actually entered into a different deal. I had committed to actually live of only 1£ for food and drinks per day for a week! No food gifts or donations allowed, no cheating.

The preparation

There we go, with the UK being a high price country particularly with regards to groceries I really had to think about what I could afford to fill me up on the one side and supply me with essential nutrients on the other side. After intense considerations, I went for this basket: rice 40p, porridge 65p, spaghetti 20p, chopped tomatoes 34p, bread (well toast actually) 45p, butter (cannot do without it) for 98p, bananas 68p, milk 66p, frozen vegetables 75p, vegetable stock 20p, 7 eggs 70p, onions 35p, tea 35p all together a value of 6.71£. Salt, pepper and homegrown herbs were for free. Amazing how much food you can actually buy for 7£! I was ready to go.



The challenge

I suppose all participants start the days off like me: porridge made with water - tasty. The occasional banana found its way in, too. Other than that my nutrition during those seven days can be described with one word: repetitive. I only had a limited basket of foodstuff to choose from and you might have noticed that it was vegetarian. Is this the way people in developing countries nourish? Eating the same dishes over and over again because there is no choice and often enough no money to buy high value foodstuff like meat? What does this kind of diet mean in terms of energy intake? Of course, it did not cross my mind to change anything else in my lifestyle. I worked my normal hours and continued my normal exercise routine of rock climbing and running - why did my limbs not recover from it?!? The shortage of nutrients, calories and protein had taken its toll and I got a painful bill. Well, going out on the weekend was a bit awkward, too. Of course, I could not afford to buy any drinks but I just could not stay in that night! Did people notice that I did not have any drinks not even water? Well, some did some did not. But the most embarrassing moment was to actually decline a free drink! You might guess it; I did not stay out long.

And the last but not least of the challenges within the challenge: resisting cravings. Suddenly, the office smelled of freshly roasted coffee, some colleagues tried to tempt me with bacon butties, cake and chocolate - the nicer ones donated to 'Save the Children'. But I resisted all way through and gave them a piece of my mind!

The result

Together we raised nearly 800£ for 'Save the Children' - a great achievement and nobody had to suffer silently. Various social media platforms were quite busy with supporting messages from other Jaycees and friends and pictures of all the homemade meals on budget.

For myself, I have learnt a thing or two. This challenge reminded me that food is valuable. I throw away too much food because I do not plan my meals and food spoils before I consume it. Now, to me this behavior appears irresponsible towards people who actually have to live on a tight budget and those who produce food and create value. Yes, it is possible to live of 1£ a day though most people I spoke to about this challenge would not believe it. "What can you buy for 1£?!", "What do you eat?" where the most frequently asked questions accompanied with disbelieving and compassionate looks. I managed to live off 6.22£ altogether for food and drinks for 7 days. But I have lost more than a pound in weight and missed out on a total of approximately 5,300 calories necessary to maintain my weight in that week. This demonstrates that living on only 1£ per day is hardly a healthy lifestyle for those who have to.

And yes, there is a difference between discount and premium brands! I have not converted to discount shopping after all but I am more thoughtful about what I really need to buy.

What I was looking forward to the most on the last day of the challenge? A good cup of coffee!


Ah, and another message I would like to pass on: Read the small print before hitting a 'join' button.

Michaela Schaller




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29th Nov, 2013

What A Year So Far
by Kleon West on November 29, 2013 17:50


A tweet from JCI Manchester President Jen Smith sums up the year so far for JCI Manchester:

'LinkedIn members increased 300%, twitter 200% this year. Attendance at seminars 400% and now 2nd most powerful chamber in UK! Sleep'

This more than succinctly sums up the growth JCI Manchester has experienced this year in terms of membership, publicity and participation. This is largely thanks to extremely driven and dynamic leadership and the enthusiasm of the JCI Manchester members.

The year suitably peaked last week with the Manchester Young Talent Awards at the Imperial War Museum in Salford, with hundreds of professionals, entrepreneurs and business men and women enjoying the best-attended MYTA in JCI Manchester history. The night was a resounding success and was a more than apt (almost) finish to this wonderful year.

I say 'almost' because we have our Christmas social in Revolution at Parsonage Gardens on the 11th December to mark the festive season. Tickets are quickly selling out for this event, so get you will need to get moving to ensure you can celebrate with us.

I think we'll all agree that our President Jen is right to exclaim 'phew',  more than earning her well-earned rest after the year JCI Manchester has just experienced. And here's to next year! 



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16th Nov, 2013

MYTA - The Final Countdown Begins!
by Kleon West on November 16, 2013 14:16



The fervour is growing ladies and gentlemen as the Manchester Young Talent Awards are only 5 days from now! The Imperial War Museum (North) at Salford Quays will be hosting Thursday's event for the first time and it is set to be JCI Manchester's biggest MYTA to date.

JCI Manchester will be celebrating the cream of Manchester's professional crop when it hands out the awards including Legal Professional of the Year, Business Development Achievement of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year.

JCI Manchester President Jennifer Smith has summed up the spirit of the event as illustrating:

'...not only that Manchester has a genuine passion for developing young talent, but also that JCI Manchester is being recognised as one of the city's key players in growing this talent.'

We hope those attending have their bow ties and evening dresses dusted off as it promises to be a wonderful evening.

For more information on those shortlisted and to keep updated on the winners, visit the MYTA website at or follow JCI Manchester on twitter for up to date news! 



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19th Aug, 2013

Corporate Member in the Spotlight - Ralli
by Kleon West on August 19, 2013 19:17


Untitled folder » RALLI-Logo-1.jpg

This week's corporate member in the spotlight is Manchester based law firm Ralli. Ralli is a long-standing and valued supporter of JCI Manchester, boasting two recent JCI presidents as past trainee solicitors of the firm, Deborah Rainford and, current President Jennifer Smith.

Based at Ralli courts in Manchester city centre, Ralli has very strong and proud Manchester roots. Ralli has been a prominent player in the Manchester legal scene for many years, having previously been known as, 'Betesh Fox.' Despite its well established Manchester connections, Ralli has a national and international client base, offering services to clients throughout the UK, USA, Europe, Australia and Asia.

Ralli prides itself on providing cogent legal advice on a number of areas including personal injury, commercial litigation, corporate, partnership and employment law, delivering effective results to clients by using a personal and professional approach.

Committee member Eimear McCartan is a commercial solicitor at Ralli, and members of Ralli's team can always be seen at JCI events. Their overall involvement in JCI Manchester has been considerable and we are very grateful for their continued and loyal support.

If you would like to know more about the services Ralli offers, please see their website or contact Eimear McCartan on



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4th Aug, 2013

Launch of Manchester Young Talent Awards Logo
by Kleon West on August 4, 2013 16:21



This week saw the launch of the Manchester Young Talent Awards (MYTA) new logo. This year's MYTA event is set to be JCI Manchester's biggest and best yet. JCI Manchester will be launching a bespoke MYTA website very soon and anticipated numbers coming to the awards look already set to break previous records.

Keep watch for the launch of the website, designed by Manchester based search and digital marketing agency the EWord. Anyone wishing to nominate in any of the categories or book a place or table at the event will be able to do so through the MYTA website.

We the committee at JCI Manchester are very excited about this year's event, which is to be held at the Imperial War Museum at Salford Quays. Places are expected to go quickly so those wishing to attend need to book fast! 



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17th Jul, 2013

JCI “Women in Business” Panel Event
by Kleon West on July 17, 2013 19:34


It was a girl power themed JCI business event last Thursday night (11 July) at Baker Tilly, as JCI Manchester hosted a "Women in Business" panel discussion, dealing with the many issues facing women in today's business world.

The topic of women's issues in the workplace always sparks lively and sometimes contentious debate and this event was certainly no different. On the panel were Anna Moss, director at 3 Door Digital and Forward Ladies 'Young Business Woman of the Year 2012', Claire Smith, director at leading legal brand QualitySolicitors and Joy Kingsley, Senior Partner at JMW Solicitors, with each panel member bringing their own impressive story.

There was no shortage of topics under discussion for the 3 panel members, as questions came from both the host Caroline McCarron (JMW Vice-President) and the audience (who, by the way, consisted of both men and women!). The panel discussed ways of obtaining a healthy work-life balance whether with children or without, and shared their own personal experiences in obtaining this balance. The panel also expressed their views on what women can bring to the boardroom, including the ability to multi-task and the ability to get the job done.

One of the more controversial subjects considered was whether there is still a pervading underlying reluctance to hire women of child-bearing age in today's business world and a discussion of whether more could be done to encourage men to take advantage of flexible working time to try to obtain equality in this area. The views on the panel and in the room were split on whether men were currently taking advantage of flexible working time, the subject sparking a particularly lively debate.

As a woman in today's business world, I certainly came away from the event feeling pretty empowered, having taken away some nuggets of wisdom. Some simple but effective advice from the panel included that you get out of your career what you put in, that women have a lot to offer at the top level and if it feels wrong, it is wrong!

If you were at the event and have any comments, the JCI Committee would love to hear from you.



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8th Jul, 2013

JCI Manchester's Mid-Year Review
by Kleon West on July 8, 2013 20:21


The JCI Manchester committee was lucky to be treated last Thursday to an evening of drinks and nibbles at the Landing in MediaCity, hosted by our President Jen Smith. Over glasses of wine, bottles of beer and cartons of popcorn, Jen used this as an opportunity to rightfully relax and reflect upon JCI Manchester's amazing achievements over the last 6 months. These achievements have ranged from holding the best attended new member's event in JCI Manchester's history at the Great John Street Hotel, to supporting two Manchester based charities for the first time instead of just one.

As a general director on the committee, I am proud to be part of JCI Manchester as it goes from strength to strength. We are growing both in terms of the numbers we are attracting on a daily basis and also constantly diversifying what we offer to members in terms of training, social and community events. And all of this from a voluntary organisation.

Having been a member of JCI Manchester for a number of years before I moved onto the committee, I have gained so much from being involved in JCI, as both a member and a director, in both a professional and personal capacity. I have gained new skills (I hope!), met so many new people, laughed lots and even conquered the Tough Mudder course!!

As we move into the second half of 2013, having had an opportunity to reflect upon the achievements to date, the JCI Manchester committee has renewed vigour in aiming to achieve even more before the end of the year. Most excitingly in the second half of the year, the Manchester Young Talent Awards 2013 (MYTA) is set to look bigger than ever, with a new MYTA website on the way (so watch this space).

Anyone out there thinking of joining JCI Manchester, I can't recommend it enough. Without sounding too cheesy, if you're looking to meet new people, network in a relaxed way, learn new skills and just have fun, JCI Manchester is the organisation for you!

Eimear McCartan - General Director



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