Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

Speech to the U.S. Junior Chamber State Presidents – September 1992

Speech to the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce State Presidents
Governmental Affairs Leadership Summit
Washington, DC
September 1992

dc0001In Portland, Oregon, I stood before you and identified a challenge we have as a national service organization.  We have in the past concentrated more effort on recruiting new members and beginning new Jaycee Chapters and we were not placing enough attention on the existing members we already have representing Junior Chamber Chapters throughout our great nation.  I have said, and I believe firmly, that we must deliver the training to allow our Jaycee Chapters to manage themselves – that teach personal and leadership skills so that our young people can compete in today’s diverse business world.

We went into our July Officers Training School on a mission – to deliver on that promise…and I think we all agree…we did just that.  The JOTS training was one of the most comprehensive programs the United States Junior Chamber has ever conducted.  You and your state officers of vice presidents and district and regional directors left Tulsa, Oklahoma with new skills and creative training techniques that will allow them to pass on that training at the grass roots level – building new Jaycee Chapters which will have a profound and lasting impact on their respective communities.

Now, where are we today?  Many of us are sitting back waiting for the training to sell itself.  “We’re the new and improved Junior Chamber …  Come on down and look us over!”  I have spoken about the success of Lee Iacocca at Chrysler.  We have the cutting edge product – bright, shiny, and candy apple red.  It’s fast and can hold the curves…stop by and test drive it today!

We may sit here like those salesmen around the showroom thinking of what a great product we have and all the smart marketing ads we’re running.  My question to you – do you really think people are just going to amble on down to the showroom?  Are they just going to flock to your chapters once they hear about your nifty training?

Folks…it doesn’t work that way.  You have to take the product to the people.  Each of you as State Presidents are your organization’s number one salesperson.  If you believe in the product – you have to set the example in selling it.  You lead by example.  Some of you are scared to death to talk about membership to your folks back home.  Well if you do not talk about it – who will?

Let me by crystal clear – membership is people…and we’re in the people business.  You cannot run projects without people.  You can’t put on outstanding programs without people.  You cannot make an impact on your community without people.  You have to get people involved.

You cannot hide behind a shield of programming anymore.  If you do not start recruiting new people into your organization, there will be no one left to train.  It is extremely important to engage the folks you already have as members…get them involved…but let’s give those folks who are not Jaycee members a chance to be a part of something  that can change their life – an opportunity to be a member of America’s premier young person’s choice00011organization – The Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Some of you are living in a field of dreams….create neat programming and they will come…run some great projects in the community and they will come…  Well, this isn’t a Field of Dreams and people don’t just come.  Things don’t just happen.  You’ve got to make it happen.  We better all get out there and get people involved – current members – new members – get them involved today!  Or all we will have left are empty dreams and unrealized promises.

Someone long ago had the courage to ask you to join the Jaycees.  Each of you know what that moment has meant to you.  In many cases it has changed your life. I’m asking you to return that favor.  Change someone’s life.  Give them the special gift someone gave you.  There is no feeling like knowing you have made an impact changing the face of your community.  Making someone’s life just a little bit better.  Leaving your community better than you found it.  When you leave here this weekend – make a commitment to go home and lead your people.  Inspire them to be their very best…to reach goals they never dreamed they could.  Do what you were elected to do. Sell the product you all believe in.   Be your state’s number one salesperson.

1992-93 USJCC National Officers and State Presidents

1992-93 USJCC National Officers and State Presidents

We have a chance to change the face of the world. Let’s make this organization, our organization, the United States Jaycees the organization of choice for today’s young person…and let us not fail in that task!

God bless you all and good luck back home!

May 1, 2009 Posted by | Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycee) Speeches | , , | Leave a comment