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Kelowna  

Jaycees cast vision

The Kelowna Jaycees are hitting the ground running in 2016, increasing membership and making an impact in the community.

Known more formally as the Junior Chamber International (JCI), the group continues to make headlines — from its volunteer initiatives, to its decision to become a co-ed organization, to the one of its flagship projects happening tomorrow, the newly named BDO Leadercast Kelowna 2016.

“The junior chamber is going through a very great expansion and shift, and the Leadercast event is one of our big events. We are really excited about the things we are doing to it this year and how we are incorporating some of our new members,” says Jaycees communication director Ryan Lancaster.

“At its core, Leadercast is about leadership, it's about personal development, it is about community, it is about inspiration, it is about entrepreneurship, it is about intrapreneurship.”

The event is broadcast live each year from Atlanta to 100,000-plus people in hundreds of hosting locations around the world, including Kelowna.

Speakers this year include Steve Wozniak, Kat Cole, James Brown and dozens more. The Kelowna event will be hosted by Raghwa Gopal, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan.

This year’s theme is “Architects of Tomorrow” and will focus on “what it means to be a visionary leader.”

The Kelowna event will be attended by more than 200 of the area’s most influential leaders and will be hosted at the UBC Okanagan campus this year. Tickets will include the event itself and will be followed by a networking social.

Lancaster says events like Leadercast are why the Jaycees are buzzing right now. He adds that a move last year by the Jaycees to include women in their membership has been met with excitement from the community.

“When the vote came through, we were delightfully surprised it went through and delightfully surprised with how seamlessly the transition happened,” says Lancaster.

He says since the change, the Jaycees membership has grown exponentially, climbing from 60 members last year to almost 100 in the recent months.

“Women just showed up to our next meeting in droves, which was awesome,” says Lancaster.

He says women have played a vital role in the success of their recent events and events to come.

“The concern was that the dynamic would change, old boys club, blah blah blah, but it didn't. When women started getting involved it was another person to offer value to our work. It was really seamless and it has been great for the organization as a whole,” says Lancaster.

“We are all still a group of good positive people who are trying do personal development, trying to connect with their community and trying to get back. Whether you are male or female, that is an across the board motivation.”

He says he believes in the mandate of the group strongly, as it has been crucial in his own personal and professional development.

“A lot of what we do is training and business and personal development. The first meeting I even went to was a self-defence class,” laughs Lancaster.

“I was kneeing a bag being held by the president at the time. From that to amazing training sessions with other community members. It is so awesome. It is a great group of young professionals looking to better themselves and better their community.”

If you're interested in this year's BDO Leadercast Kelowna 2016, click here to buy tickets.

“The schedule is full of amazing people,” says Lancaster.

“Whether you are an entrepreneur or a intrapreneur or you just want to be a better leader, Leadercast will leave you feeling inspired. It will motivate you and it will give you the simple life lessons and professional lessons that you can take back and apply to your life.”

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