During my studies, I wanted to become a member of an international youth organization. This was in early 2009, when I returned to Zagreb after having been in Italy for a while. I had watched a TV Show where a Korean fellow talked about an international organization that brings together young professionals and leaders. It was the first time I had ever heard of the organization named Junior Chamber International (JCI). I then decided to google it to find out more about the organization. The Korean fellow was Mr. Jun Sup Shin, the 2009 JCI President.
I soon realized that JCI Croatia existed in the second half of the 1990s, and that it dissolved in the early 2000s. The organization was very interesting to me, so I decided to contact some members. As JCI Serbia was the closest to Croatia, I contacted them. In conversation with them, we concluded that I could re-establish JCI in Croatia. In 2009, I tried to bring some people together to form JCI Zagreb, but I failed. In the meantime, some things had changed so I gave up on JCI. I was 23 at the time.
Four years later, a friend of mine asked me whether I know anything about JCI. I said I know quite a lot. To my great delight, I decided to join a small group that had an idea of establishing JCI in Croatia. I had given up on JCI, but JCI had not given up on me. With this notion in mind, I chose to dedicate a great deal of time and energy to the founding of the organization. We formed the first JCI Local Organization in the summer of 2013 in Zagreb, and I was elected the JCI Zagreb Local President. Soon after that, we established another Local Organization and the JCI National Organization. Even Madame President Chiara Milani attended the JCI Croatia Founding Assembly in 2013. A month later, at the JCI World Congress in Rio de Janeiro, JCI Croatia was affiliated to JCI as a Potential National Organization.
My JCI journey has developed quite progressively in these five years. I was the 2015 JCI National President, in the year when we celebrated the 100th Anniversary of JCI. In that same year, JCI Croatia became fully affiliated to JCI. The promotion at JCI World Congress in Kanazawa was the pinnacle of three years of work.
The following year, I joined the JCI European Development Council and helped them establish JCI organizations in Albania, Kosovo and Slovenia, countries that are very close to Croatia. I was the 2017 JCI EDC Councillor too. During my time as the NP, we put forward a bid for 2018 EPM to be held in Zagreb, and we won it. For such a young organization it was a big challenge, but we enjoyed it. We organized a superb event in Zagreb, and to my great surprise at the Gala Dinner, I was named the JCI Senator #76830. It was a great honour as Rudolf von Bachellé, 1981-82 Senate President of the Association of JCI Senators in Europe, presented the Senatorship to me.
During all these years, I have developed many of my skills through JCI. With ten years of executive management experience, I started my own business. Since then, two years have passed during which I have been working as a business consultant in strategy and operations.
Senator Marko Ignjátić
This article was originally published on jci-senate.eu in September 2019.