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Past President’s Interview: The ever-effervescent Amy Jackson (2008-9) on why she had to be President at London Corinthians

October 4, 2012

Q: During your time as President did anything memorable take place during meetings or otherwise?
A: My most vivid Christmas party memory will always be Mrs Claus topics! My favourite Roast  moment was without doubt Gosia’s vodka fuelled chaos.
We also held an incredible Impromptu Speaking workshop run by Bill Russell – he inspired members to be confident, have a go at topics & filled them with magic tips on how to improve – priceless!

Q: Will you describe the best speech you heard during your Presidency? What made it so good?
A: There are so many Corinthians speeches that stick with me – what I loved most in my year of presidency was watching the enormous growth of some of our members, from shy souls creeping in the door to spreading their arms and stretching their stories to the world! Karen Booth’s amazing transformation during that year really sticks in my mind – a woman with a wonderful gift to tell a story, filled with gloriously vivid language & a very sharp wit, but to start with her nerves had her stuck to the spot and her eyes above us. During that year I watched her transform to a woman with a voice who could confidently share her story, make us laugh and inspire an audience – such a delight!

Q: What made you decide to become President? How did it come about?
A: If I’m honest I wanted to be president after the very Corinthians meeting I went to in 2002! It was Jeremy Mitchell – he made it look so easy and like such an ENORMOUS amount of fun! At that stage I was a cocky kid who had no idea how to use properly use my skills, but an inordinate amount of enthusiasm for being on stage and for the energy created at Corinthians. I was patchy in my commitment to the club until Gilly Cutts asked me if I would like to become Segeant-at-Arms towards the end of Graham Price’s presidency. I loved being involved in the committee, and completely committed to the club – only missed a meeting if I absolutely had to, and my skills blossomed as a result! I became so much more confident, engaged and interested in more than my own speaking skills – taking on VPM during Trudy Lloyd’s presidency I realised the true endless fountain of growth for me was in helping others to develop their skills. I started to build my evaluation skills, my mentoring skills and never looked back! I had a ridiculous amount of fun on Gosia Gorna’s committee and learned how to use my intuition in leadership. I worked hard and totally devoted myself to creating incredible programmes as VPE during Kim Horner’s year – I honed my negotiation skills, my dogged determination to fill every last slot even up to last minute changes and my impromptu skills improved drastically that year as I took on whatever roles were needed at the last minute – extraordinarily good experience! So where next? As a heavily pregnant VPE, I had to say yes, and my Presidency was a year where Toastmasters provided an intellectual retreat during my first year of motherhood!

Q: Who are the people who most came to mind when you reflect back on your presidency?
A:There were many. Vaughan Evans – the man who just keeps on coming & gives you the best experience to help you build your skills at managing audience heckling (except Jeremy Mitchell when he turns up!). Vaughan has been the continuing soul of Corinthians for me, and his constant enthusiasm for the potential of every new guest and member who walks through the door is truly inspiring, and a fundamental belief that drives our club. Trudy Lloyd who’s commitment to achieving her goals was truly inspiring to witness. Gosia Gorna have us all a lighter heart & a new perspective of the world. The most colourful Corinthian will always be Esther de Angelis. Bill Russell, the voice, the tears, the power of potential. Adam Ginalski – the most gentle giant I have ever known, inspiring man with a gift for sharing exactly the right feedback at exactly the right moments in my journey. Gilly Cutts – what can I say, what a woman! My heart fills with joy just to think of her! Ian Millen the Commander who keeps winning Table Topics with the same speech 😉 And of course Adrian Barrett – the pedant of Corinthians, without whom none of us would be as polished today as we are. My life is richer, my soul happier and my voice phenomenally stronger in every way, from the gift of being a proud Corinthian.

Q: What have you taken away with you from your time as President? Did you achieve your goals?
A: I think all that I take away from Corinthians is from not just my presidency, but from the building of skills and experiences over the years I have served our club’s membership. My presidency year brought all those skills together and built my confidence to deal with anything life throws at me, in a calm and negotiating way! I gained a level of professionalism that I think is particular to Corinthians – we expect a lot of our presidents, and that makes us genuinely grow as people and leaders. I gained the confidence to lead meetings with pizzazz and I can plan my contribution to any formal meeting in a fraction of the time that I used to be able to – keeping yourself fresh, interesting and inspiring as the opener of the meeting week after week really helped me think in a more strategic way about how I speak and certainly made me faster at planning! I achieved President’s Distinguished Club in my year so we definitely achieved our goals as a club. Personally as I looked out on an overflowing room of people who were enthusiastic, excited, learning, increasing their confidence and becoming future leaders, I knew on my last night that I had achieved my personal goals – a buzzing Corinthians! I floated home!

Q: Is there any advice you would give to future Presidents with the benefit of hindsight?

A: My advice to future presidents is to remember the prescious creation that you hold in your hands. As a club we have profoundly influenced so many lives over the years through the nurturing, educational, and most importantly, FUN, environment that we have created. It takes energy, authenticity and a genuine belief in the potential of our members and our shared capacity to help them achieve that. If you can hold on to that belief, be yourself, and have a lot of fun doing it, you will keep the Corinthians buzz alive and well and we will all continue to grow under your leadership. You, our future presidents, more that anyone!

Amy Jackson, Past Corinthians President 2008-9

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Working or living in the LondonVictoria area? Want to know more about becoming a better public speaker? Visit London Corinthians on the 2nd, 4th and 5th Thursdays @ 7.30pm.

Find out more about us on our website: http://www.londoncorinthians.co.uk/.

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