A student's journey with the JCCM
By Stephann J. Sahmkow, Development Committee
Montreal, Quebec's financial and commercial center has become in recent years a focal point for overseas students seeking to enroll in the island's prestigious universities. It’s the 2nd ranked city in the world for students to live in. Canada, a politically and financially stable nation also motivates some of these students to look into their professional prospects after they have graduated. However, most international students and non-Canadian-born individuals usually experience a cultural barrier or a networking challenge when they seek to pursue jobs in their areas of study.
As a non-Canadian-born that has engaged successfully in Montreal's job market and cultural life, I would like to talk about how my involvement with the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Montreal (JCCM) has contributed to my successful professional path.
The Junior Chamber of Commerce of Montreal, the biggest in the world, with 1,600 members, is a very active and lively organization for individuals aged 18 to 40 years old. The JCCM's main focus is to form, develop and connect young Montrealers who seek to grow their professional network. To do so, their activities are focused into 4 main categories: networking, conferences, skill development, and competitions.
The JCCM offers over 70 events each year for people to network together, of which activities such as their 6@8 are the most popular. However, the organization also offers breakfast activities, lunch, and orientation sessions. In such activities, I myself have met representatives from some of the best organisations in Montreal and Quebec. This experience has not only developed my professional network but has given me the opportunity to learn from those who are successful in their respective fields.
The JCCM offers specific skill development programs, focused on management skills, leadership development, administrative governance and on how to be a successful entrepreneur. Depending on the program, the workshops can take place over a few days or several months. They also offer a mentorship program to help you connect with an experienced professional that will help guide you through your professional objectives.
Each year the JCCM hosts an annual competition called Arista, shining light on the province’s most promising young entrepreneurs and professionals throughout nine different categories, providing visibility for their projects to the entire community, including the prominent sponsors and partners associated with the event.
In summary, after having experienced a bit of each activity, I can say that I not only better understand the job market in Montreal, but also the people who are behind it and their mindset for success. The JCCM has also been a great platform to present my own business ideas and to find like-minded mentors for my future. Overall, having only resided in Canada for about 4 years, I believe that the experience of being part of the JCCM is a very positive one even for those that are not long time Canadians or Montrealers, as for those that are, it is definitely a must if you wish to come into contact with Montreal’s business community.