First face to face event in 2021

14 Oct 2021 President Ireland By President Ireland

Joining an event for the first time is a big deal, but being a first-timer face to face after COVID-19 to a JCI event is another story, trust me!

I joined JCI Cork in February 2021, and so far, all the events I attended have been remote. Don’t get me wrong, it is always good, but nothing compared to being physically in a room with other Jaycees, from Members, VPs, National Presidents, Local Presidents, etc. 

Joining last weekend the JCI Ireland National Convention in Cobh was THE experience of my life! I had three days of pure fun and learning.

The event opened in St Peter’s in Cork city, where VP Michaela, NP Carol, LP Niamh (among others) opened the night. It was a sweet moment characterized by: “oh, we finally meet in person”; “you look different face to face”; “it seems we already know each other well thanks to Zoom”; and so on :). We had a lovely finger food aperitif, and we cheered with good prosecco. The night focused on the Friendly Business Awards, and those who won did such an incredible job!

Saturday started early. Some brave members joined at 7 am Cobh Hunt activity! It looked fun, and I regretted I didn’t join (not a Saturday early-person, unfortunately :P ). Luckily for me, the day was full of activities. I attended my first debating championship in person, and it was super intense and well-played by all the teams participating! A very different atmosphere...I saw for the first time one of the speakers standing up for the Point of information rather than only placing their hand on the head as we used to do in Zoom!!

I then joined a meeting with VP Michaela on JCI Global that was inspiring and convinced me to be even more active next year within JCI. After that, we went to Spike Island by ferry and visited the prison (without getting lost :P).


I also joined the Business Firechat, and I am still speechless of how well it went! The speakers incredibly involved the audience; there were lots of questions, and would have continued for hours, if we could, discussing technologies and how companies and employees are adapting to the “new normal” after COVID. Well done Anuj! 

The icing on the cake was the Gala Dinner. “Oh, mamma!” I never felt so fancy in my life! Everyone was super beautiful and dressed up. We had such a good time eating good food, drinking wine, and chit-chatting with all the other Jaycees! Lots of members were recognized for their job in 2021 and received important awards! I am proud also to admit that I got the Merit Award for Most Outstanding New Member 2021 and the JCI Ireland Seven Steps Award! Woohoo, I was in heaven!

VIP and inspiring guests attended, as Senate Chair Kevin Cullinane, VP Michaela Palmberg, and Sinead Kane (JCI TOYP 2021 World winner), to mention a few.

It was an incredible experience I will never forget. Big shoutout to the organizers for a great job!

I learned a lot, but I would need another two pages to enumerate everything. So I simply say that I learned more about JCI global, objectives, focus, etc., and met people from all over Europe and different chapters. Listening to their experiences opened my eyes to how important JCI can be in our life, how helpful it can be for us and the world! It is not easy!

We have to leave our comfort zone, put ourselves out there, learn to integrate ourselves and interact with different people, working during weekends and during our free time. But it is all worthing, for ourselves and the society. And the National Convention made it clear for me :)

I am proud of being a First Timer Jaycees :)