Meet the Most Outstanding New Member
Meet the Most Outstanding New Member
Tara McGinley on challenges, community-related projects and having fun in JCI: "I am procrastinating less, and I have a motto now which is to do the things that scare you."
By Katre Laan
"Eventful, eye-opening, positively challenging, exciting... because a lot happened at once," says Tara McGinley, when describing her first year in JCI Dublin after being awarded the Most Outstanding New Member title in JCI Europe. Her short journey in JCI so far could be likened to a rollercoaster. With active participation in local community projects in Dublin, and just a month into her first encounter with JCI, placed unexpectedly in a lead role in the debating contest in the European Conference in 2019, she says she planned to go with the flow - "I am new to this, but this seems really fun!" - as she joined her boyfriend on a last-minute decision trip to Lyon in May 2019. Tara McGinley is a cheerful woman in her late twenties. Her distinctive Irish accent and chatty presence makes it a pleasure to listen to her. In August 2017, she and her boyfriend moved back to her home country from London. "I had friends here. But my boyfriend was new to the country, new to the city. He wanted to make new friends and network, and develop himself, so he found JCI," she says. After crashing a few JCI Dublin social events, it was the little nudge from her boyfriend and the people in the Local Organization that sparked her interest to get involved. "I really like volunteering. I came out from the community point of view. I liked that there was a whole pillar dedicated to the community," says Tara McGinley. With a professional career in HR, it comes as no surprise that she is interested in helping people around her. "I am an extroverted introvert. I need time away from people to recharge," she says and continues: "But I also take the enjoyment from the buzz of being with people. I will be exhausted afterwards, but I enjoy it, and it leaves me happy." She says that JCI attracted her with its socially active network to “be part of something with cool people, learn a little bit, and do something positive". Since she joined JCI Dublin, Tara has demonstrated commitment to tackling the problems of sustainability and the overuse of plastic that her home town is facing. With a mission to give back to the community, the flow of activities reached Tara organically; one of them was the opportunity to go to the European Conference in Lyon and face her fear of public speaking. The things that scare For someone who comes across as very confident, it's hard to believe that she could get terrified being the centre of attention. “Actually I am really scared of public speaking. I don't like doing it. I don't like talking in front of people. So it was one of those, ‘I don't want to do this, but if I do it, I will learn and help people out’ things,” she says.
For her, the best part about JCI is that if you are in a room with five JCI people, they will all boost your confidence and help you achieve your goals.
After less than a year of being in the organization, she faced the decision of whether to apply for a Community Director role on the local board.
“Maybe it's too soon”, she contemplated: “But I felt like I would be giving up an opportunity if I didn't go for it. It did resonate with me”. It was the support and a friendly hint from a senior member that prompted her to put her name forward and convince others that she was the right person for the position. As we speak, I am curious to find out her key to success. “I am a terrible procrastinator. So I end up having a lot of personal time.” Deadlines have helped her to do the things that scare her. When she was preparing for the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Awards and going through the list of things that could go wrong, she motivated herself to do the thing that scared her the most — "otherwise you will put it off", she advised: “If you get it done quickly, you will have the time to watch a movie and cuddle on the sofa in the evening.” She recently participated in a membership call discussing what the members wanted. "I know that some JCIs focus on one particular pillar; however, we are quite active in all four." Develop in whichever way you When introducing JCI, she would ask the new person whether they want to make money, or lead to volunteering, and, based on the reply, she would tell them about that fantastic pillar that applies to them. The organization will help you develop in whichever way you want, and we will help you grow it whichever way you want. “And you get to meet great people,” she says. If she were to give a piece of advice to a new person in JCI, she would encourage the person to attend international events. “There is something unifying about international events. And you can see what other people are doing. Even if you don't know what you should be doing, it's fantastic to see what other people have done.” Whether it was the preparation for the Irish Night in Lyon or Tallinn, “it wasn't hard work at all. It was just fun.” Tara embodies a joyful spirit. She says she likes having security, and part of that is having a community like JCI. As for overcoming her fears, she says: “If you do something and it doesn't work out, it's not the end of the world. There is no harm in trying and putting yourself out there.”