By Jennifer Coates, 2011 1st V.P, Community Development-elect
I first heard of the Jaycees when I lived in Greenville, NC back in 2005. They organized the city’s Christmas parade and I thought it would be a great place to meet new people and keep myself busy on Saturday afternoons. Unfortunately, I never did more than think about it.
When I moved to Winston-Salem a few years later, I again heard of a chapter there. But again, didn’t act. Fast forward another year and I’m in Charlotte buying my first house. That’s when I decided it was time to start being a good citizen and give back to my community. I searched around exploring several organizations and felt most welcome with the Charlotte Junior Chamber. I quickly learned this is not just a community service organization – It’s about leadership development.
Never in a million years would I have imagined I’d experience such personal growth in such a short period of time. Now, it’s not just about helping others, but fulfilling new challenges. I spent the last year identifying some of my weaknesses and how I can overcome them; from speaking in front of crowds, to resolving conflicts and working with people who are nothing like me. I love learning and growing and with this organization, the possibilities are endless.
The Junior Chamber has helped me learn a lot about myself. Most of all, it’s helped build my confidence which has also improved my work and personal life. And the best part is, I’m not done yet! Now, as a Vice President, I spend my time helping other members become better leaders. If you’re somone looking to build your resume and exchange some business cards, this is not the place for you. You must put forth effort to experience the value this organization has to offer.
I encourage everyone to step outside of your comfort zone and take a chance. I promise you’ll be glad you did it, just like me.
Jen Coates is the current Director of the Community Area. In 2011, she will assume the role of Vice President of Community. Professionally, Jen works as producer at a local news station. Jen is passionate about helping members develop as leaders through good work here in Charlotte. Jen has been a Jaycee since 2009. That year she was recognized as Rookie of the Year and was also recognized for developing and chairing the project of the year, the Goodwill Computer and Related items Recycling Drive.