Current Junior Chamber International (JCI) President Leila Chiha tells to CityOut about her tenure as head of the Monaco branch, what’s coming up in 2013 for the world’s biggest business youth service organisation and how JCI will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2013.
Tell us about your background before you took over as President of JCI?
I was born in Tunisia. My family arrived in Monaco 25 years ago and we have lived here ever since. I work as general counsel for a private company in Monaco, but also practice Tunisian and French law.
How did you progress to President within the organisation?
My involvement with JCI began as a normal candidate Member. I progressed to Member and in 2011 ran for Vice-President of the Monaco society. I ran for President and in October 2012 was nominated with a large majority vote to become the 44th Monegasque, the eighth female and the first Tunisian President of JCI Monaco.JCI Monaco President, Leila Chiha
What does your role as President involve?
My job is very mixed. The motto of JCI Monaco is Be Better! To help foster self-improvement for our members, we host monthly networking events, promote sustainable business and entrepreneurship, plus organise regular cultural and sporting activities throughout the year. 2013 is the 50th anniversary for the Monaco branch and I am helping produce a commemorative book. It will be released in October, followed by a Gala dinner with HSH Prince Albert among other notable guests. It is for all the stated reasons that the role of President is well suited to me. I need to be always busy and close to the action. JCI allows me to dare to act!
What has been some of your personal challenges of the position?
The biggest challenge was definitely helping organise and host the JCI European Conference in Monte-Carlo. We received 2,700 people and I had to recruit and direct a team of volunteers to look after the visitors. I had never done anything on this scale before and this was a chance for me to learn and improve myself.
Leila joins Prince Albert & JCI Members at Conference opening
Any memorable highlights as President?
A regular bonus of being in the JCI is getting to meet people from all over the world. One person in particular who made an impression was Spès Nihangaza, President of FVS-AMADE Burundi. This remarkable woman leads humanitarian projects in Burundi, benefiting around 50.000 children and adults every year. The association she presides with passion and commitment contributes to improve – without any discrimination – the future development of vulnerable children based on traditional values of solidarity. She emphasized the need for a concerted effort to fight poverty and social exclusion to enable people to participate actively in the life and advancement of their community.
How did the JCI European Conference go?
The four-day event exceeded all expectations! We hosted business workshops and conferences that promoted business knowledge and participation in the JCI. The JCI is also about fun and participation. There was also a busy schedule of excursions in and around Monaco, parties and dinners. I would like to thank everyone at JCI Monaco, the volunteers who sacrificed their time, the Monaco government and the local businesses for their support and generosity.Leila Chiha: flying the flag for JCI Monaco
As a place for business, how do you rate Monaco?
Monaco is a safe place in terms of crime. For families it’s good as the Principality is small yet has a high standard of education. Healthcare is excellent. Most importantly, there is a diversity of people and businesses here. All in all, Monaco is an ideal setting for business and community life.
You step down from the role President in December 2013. What is next for you?
Through JCI, it is possible to can apply to work as volunteer for the UN. This could take me to USA and working for New York, but still retaining my residency and connection to Monaco. I also have some projects for my business but they are secret right now!
How would you like your members and associates to remember you?
As an active, professional and fun person. I am always happy to encourage new members from all nationalities to join JCI. My work with JCI has allowed me to travel the world and meet new people and friends. This has helped change my vision and philosophy to aim to create a united world.
To join Junior Chamber International Monaco, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 92 05 20 19