JCI New Jersey, Derodar win top national awards

JCI New Jersey 2020 Leadership Team (left to right): Vivian Velasco, Arman David, Joyce Andes-David, Steve Van Derodar, Maria Nucum, and Jane Amend at the JCI USA Annual Meeting in Billings, Montana. | Contributed Photo

NEW JERSEY – The JCI New Jersey is on a roll – there seems to be no stopping their momentum in reaching their potential to greater heights. Through its 2020 theme, One Vision, One Impact, One Future, it has invigorated them and resulted in an unprecedented feat that has never been bestowed on them since its founding 75 years ago. And, at a time when most community organizations have been shuttered — left to inactivity — during an unprecedented time such as 2020.

Stevenson Derodar

At the JCI-USA year-end annual meeting in Billings, Montana, the JCI New Jersey romped away with several top awards that recognized the accomplishments of the state organization, from the state president to a local chapter member. Stevenson Derodar received two coveted awards to a state president, namely, the Allen Whitfield Memorial Award for Outstanding State President and the Clayton Frost Memorial Award for the Most Outstanding State President in the nation. These two highest awards are rarely given to the same person in the same year.

“No single organization would say that 2020 was an easy year. It could be described as the most catastrophic year for all. While we all experienced the same, JCI New Jersey reacted to it with adjustments and adaptations to the crisis employing innovative ideas to be able to deliver its impact and continue to provide development opportunities to our members,” Derodar told the Philippine Daily Mirror. “True to our plan of action, JCI New Jersey was mobilized to make the importance and relevance of the organization known to its communities.”

Besides the two awards, JCI New Jersey also bagged other top awards such as the Andrew G. Mungenast Founder’s Plaque for the most number of chapters added and the Top Growth State Organization for having the highest number of members added by percentile. In addition, it was also named as the Best State Growth & Development Program (Steve Little Program): Power Week Series, and received its Civic Leadership Certification 100% Efficiency.

Individual members were also recognized. Stevenson Van Derodar (JCI North Jersey) and John Milton Dumol (JCI Jersey City) were named Top Recruiters. Former state president Maria Nucum (JCI Philippine-American NJ Jaycees) received her 10th Degree Jaycee, the highest recognition for the membership involvement program. Angel Ram of JCI North Jersey was awarded the Armbruster Memorial Award as an Outstanding 2 Plus Year Member. The Andrew and Charlotte Mungenast Memorial Award for Outstanding Family went to the Andes-David Family, and Mars Derodar, the mother of Steven, was accorded the Outstanding (Special) Partner Award.

For chapter award, JCI North Jersey was recognized for its Sing for Hope project.

JCI New Jersey Revival

Since its revival in 2015, after a long period of inactivity, JCI New Jersey had etched its mark in the state and the local communities it serves, led by 2016 state president Ria Serrano. She took the cudgels to actively recruit, establish a local chapter, train members and promote the organization. As local president of JCI North Jersey in 2015, JCI World President Ismael Heznadar and JCI USA President Jennifer Ray, including then-President of the City Council of Jersey City Rolando Lavarro Jr. and other Fil-Am Jersey City officials, participated in a town hall community forum. It was a “first” for JCI New Jersey to have run such a historical project.

Serrano founded JCI North Jersey after her stint with the JCI Philippine New York as vice president for membership services. Through the years, her vision for a viable state organization caught fire and established JCI New Jersey’s footprint on national and regional levels.

Performing beyond capacity level

Since 2016, JCI New Jersey has produced two national vice presidents, Serrano and Joyce Andes-David, and a list of outstanding members to become state presidents – Serrano, Maricar Taino, Andes-David, Maria Nucum, and Derodar, each one of them performing at beyond capacity level and contributing to JCI New Jersey’s overall success. Serrano and Derodar came from JCI Philippine New York, the 58-year-old chapter in New York state. They used their experience in that chapter to help build JCI New Jersey.

Derodar joined the JCI North Jersey shortly after serving the JCI New York as state president. He was tapped at the beginning of 2020 to continue the term of Shari Guirao after she relinquished the duties of her office due to personal reasons.

In 2020, “with partnerships, we have leveraed our resources and provided impact to the communiies and our membership,” Derodar said. During his term, they partnered with the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) to promote and participate in 11 Economic Entrepreneurial Empower Classes, charted a new chapter, held two major virtual conferences, and broadcast the 75th Installation of Officers worldwide with 7,000 views and more than 2,500 engagements. JCI New Jersey also introduced digital membership, innovative programming, which included Power-Week and Membership-Experience Week featuring individual development, business, and membership-related topics.

“The success of JCI New Jersey is attributed to a positive, transparent and collaborative partnership with its members, local chapter leaders, and community along with a solidified written plan of action and clear goals,” Derodar told the Philippine Daily Mirror. “The state established its initial plan of action pre-pandemic and quickly re-assessed it once the pandemic started. The commitment of each stakeholder was critical in ensuring continued progress towards the organization’s primary focus.”

One Vision, One Impact, One Future

Derodar added that JCI New Jersey partnered with local chapters to strengthen the state’s local programming and increase membership activation and recruitment. “The state benefitted from the cooperation of its stakeholders,” he said.

“Looking back, it is an honor for the state to have survived the crises, ending strong with +30 growth in membership and high retention rate,” he added. “We all go back to our theme, One Vision, One Impact, One Future, which was our main motivation for the year.”

JCI New Jersey is part of a nationwide membership-based nonprofit organization of young active citizens ages 18 to 40 dedicated to creating positive change. Through projects in more than 500 communities, members seek targeted solutions to local problems to create a sustainable global impact.

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