By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – Stevenson Van Derodar is undoubtedly among the young and dynamic Filipino leaders in the East Coast who has consistently created positive leadership growth in the community. In this interview, he delves into the vigor of JCI as an organization of young professionals.
1. It is the second year that the Icons of Impact is revived by JCI, right? Why have you decided to revive this project in JCI?
It was part of the vision in last year’s administration under the banner “The Heart of Impact,” with which I served as president. Icons of Impact was then named “Distinguished Service Awards” which started in 1972 and was last held in 2009. Over the years, it was a constant connection of the chapter to the community where we also get to update the community leaders on our projects throughout the year and where we can ink partnerships and gather support.
I personally made it a goal to revive it in 2016 seeing that it has so much impact for our community. It has a great marketing appeal for our organization and the program seeks to recognize leaders who embody the Jaycees Creed for “Service to Humanity.” In addition, it is a great avenue to bring together the leaders of our community as individuals with common pursuits for excellence.
- In the previous years, what has JCI activities and programs been focused with? What impact have these programs done to communities and individuals?
For the general public’s understanding, Junior Chamber International is a worldwide organization present in more than 100 countries with more than 200,000 members. We provide development opportunities that develop personal and leadership skills, which include personal training, business, and community development. We also strongly support internationalism and cross-cultural understanding.
Recently, we have had projects focused on building business, community engagement, networking, etc and its impact is always about empowering individuals for personal enrichment and selfless contribution to local communities.
This organization, being more than 100 years old, is the same organization where past US presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush were members. Similarly, Sonny Belmonte, Juan Ponce Enrile, Joseph Estrada were members from the Philippines.
In Denmark, there was Prince Joachim Holger Waldemar and in France, Pres. Chirac Jacques, and many more.
3. For you, what is the most challenging part of running an organization, like JCI?
I have seen members come and go. This is an organization for 18-40 year olds, where you can optimize leadership opportunities. The hardest challenge is when members are confronted with personal and work challenges and ultimately limit their engagement and participation.
Every year, a new local chapter president with the board of officers will run the chapter affairs for a year and is as well faced with similar challenges.
4. How do you balance your time for your civic responsibilities and work and personal life?
I personally tend to prioritize. I set time for civic, business and personal affairs. When it comes to work, I make it a top priority but I also do not decline to opportunities if I can make arrangements.
5. As a leader, what is a major project that you and your team is envisioning in the next term or immediate future?
I am pleased to inform our JCI New York State members across New York State and the community that I am the President-elect in JCI New York State for 2018.
Among many of the plans are to increase membership by creating new chapters, stabilize chapters across the state with great programming, improve on brand awareness and visibility, partnerships with governmental projects and collaborations with NGOs, Institutionalizing JCI New York State Trainings, revival of the Search for Outstanding Young New Yorkers and the holding of the Outstanding New Yorkers.
I would like to make a focus also on entrepreneurship, preparing resources and assisting small businesses of our community members. Interestingly, I will be working under the theme “Nothing is Impossible, Excelsior” in 2018.