News — December 07, 2002

"Every Member Matters to JCI"

Bruce Rector, elected 2003 JCI President in Las Vegas, delivered a moving speech at his Inauguration Ceremony. He stressed the importance of each member?s contribution to the organization. ?Every member matters to JCI,? he proclaimed. In case you missed his speech, here it is:
First I want to thank President Salvi Battle. President Salvi has sacrificed much this year. He has poured his heart and soul into the job of JCI President. He and his team this year have not always agreed on every issue but no one has ever questioned his sincerity or love for our organization. No one cares more passionately and deeply about the future of JCI than President Salvi. President Salvi, thank you for your leadership. God has blessed me in many ways. There is not a day that goes by that I don?t thank God for the love, support and joy that my wife Tabitha and my son Trevor bring to my life. Thank you for being there for me and allowing me to take some of our time together and share it with this great organization. Tabitha has put up with me saying for each of the last 12 years that this year will be my last year as a JCI officer. And my son Trevor, who was blowing lots of kisses from the stage a minute ago after we told him that he would get ice cream if he would do it, misses me when I?m away traveling for JCI. Thank you Tabitha and Trevor for supporting me. I love you both very much. A lot has just changed in my life by taking the oath of office just now. Not only Members but also the World will look at me differently for the next year. In all of my official duties as JCI President, I will conduct myself at the level of professionalism, dignity and respect consistent with the office to which you have now entrusted me. But I ask you, as JCI members and as my Partners for JCI action, to remember in 2003 that some things will not change. I will still take out the rubbish when I am home. I?ll still be crawling around on the living room floor from time to time pretending to be a horse while my two year old son rides on my back. I?ll still be an ordinary member and person in many ways although I?ll be striving to extraordinary things. In that respect, you and I have a lot in common, even though I have just taken the oath of office to be 2003 JCI President. We all have great dreams for the future, but we also share many frustrations and challenges in our personal lives. Even though we have different responsibilities for JCI, we are all human. I have been asked what it is that I think can accomplish in 2003 that will make me feel like I have been successful as a JCI President. I have been thinking about that question over the past couple of days and I believe that I will judge my success as by whether or not I was able to break through boundaries. Breaking through the boundary that causes us to think that you have to be wearing an official JCI name badge to generate a good idea and instead to create a feeling that every member matters to JCI and that the best ideas can come from anyone in our organization regardless of their rank, position, or level of experience in JCI. Breaking through the boundary of external communication of our JCI image by using my position and office to travel to meetings of organizations outside the boundary of our organization. And finally, to break the boundary that is too often formed by this podium and this chain of office and to get out to meet with young members, get to know them on a personal level and encourage them. Breaking this boundary may be the most important goal for me. On Tuesday, Stephen Covey spoke of the importance of affirmation and encouragement. Those words by Dr. Covey are dear to me because I am here today thanks to my employer who encouraged me to join in 1990. And then each year, including this one, I chose to seek my next JCI office only after someone affirmed me and gave me encouragement to seek it. Today, I stand before you as a successful example of how ordinary JCI members can accomplish extraordinary things if we will only affirm and encourage them. But I fear that we are missing too many opportunities to involve more young leaders and Entrepreneurs because they are not getting that encouragement. Now that I have taken the oath of office, I am not the 2003 JCI World President. I am your 2003 JCI World President. I am your President whether you are black, white, brown or yellow. I am your President whether you are male or female. I am your President whether you are young or old, wealthy or poor, or joined JCI twenty years ago or today. At the end of my year as Executive Vice-President of JCI in 1999, one of my assigned JCI Vice-Presidents, Makoto Igarashi from Japan, wrote the following note: ?I enjoyed the year greatly. Learning by doing, receiving by giving...? What Makoto wrote to me is true as I begin my work as JCI World President, I?ll be learning by listening to your ideas. I?ll be receiving by giving because with each moment I give to JCI, you inspire me with your handshakes, your creative ideas and, most of all, your smiles. We have honored several JCI heroes tonight such as Farrah Andres from the Philippines, Catherine Frebonne from Cote d?Ivoire, and Isabelle Gille from France. We have big challenges as an organization but members like these and thousands others around the world have already begun to do the work that will take JCI higher and further than ever before. I believe in this because I believe in them. I believe in the strength of their hearts, and their minds. I believe in the commitment that each one of you brings to the work you are doing not only for JCI, but for yourselves, your communities and your countries. Let us go forward from Las Vegas into 2003, not as JCI World President and JCI members but as partners, JCI Partners in Action as we work together, side by side, shoulder to shoulder and arm in arm through the challenging but promising days ahead. So that we may leave Las Vegas and head towards Copenhagen as an organization still in its youth and powerful in its purpose. Merci, gracias, aregato. Thank you for your support and the opportunity to work as your JCI Partner in 2003.
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