One of The Network's goals for 2018 is to engage more with the broader Chamber membership, including the Chamber board, and to create a constant feedback loop between young professionals and experienced professionals. Leadership Council put these plans into action as we had our first roundtable meeting with the Chamber board last week.
This was a huge day for The Network as this was the first meeting of its kind, but it will be the first of many such discussions. The Chamber board and Leadership Council plan to meet quarterly this year, and there's no doubt that conversations will continue and relationships will be built outside of the formalized meetings as well.
Chamber Board Chairman; Doug Neff, and Chamber President; Matt Morrow, were among those in attendance, and led the meeting. The energy in the room was one of excitement, anticipation, eagerness to learn, and collaboration. Neff surmized three main goals of these meetings, the first being creating a constant feedback loop between young and experienced professionals. The second: Fostering connections between members on the Chamber board and members on Leadership Council. The last is to increase engagement between YPs and the Chamber. The hope is that all of these goals will allow us to have open and honest discussion about what it's like to live in Springfield as a YP, how we can collaborate to enhance opportunities for young professionals, and how we can all work together to improve Springfield.
Some of the questions discussed were: What are the benefits/challenges of being a young professional in Springfield, and what brought or kept you in Springfield.
As you can imagine, there were several common themes as to what the benefits of being a YP in Springfield are. Several Leadership Council members said this very meeting was a perfect example – young professionals have access to key leaders.
One YP commented, “Who else gets the keys to shape the identity of a mid-size metro? We are the future!” A common shared belief noted was that young professionals are valued and noticed here.
As with any community, with the amazing benefits also come some challenges. One member expressed concern that our benefits and salaries are not competitive enough to attract YPs. Another said they felt Springfield’s best jobs are not posted for outsiders to see.
Our last guided discussion question engaged the whole room by asking, what brought or kept you in Springfield? Several members stated the appeal of raising a family here was what attracted them. Others noted the quality of life and options of things to do are better here than other larger metros. Young and experienced professionals also agreed there are better opportunities for career advancement in Springfield.
So why does all of this matter? Springfield is a community that prides itself on engaging with young professionals and giving them an opportunity to let their voice be heard, and advance their career. It's initiatives like this that prove Springfield truly does value their young professionals and gives them access to key leaders. The Network provides these opportunities for YPs and strives to give them a voice. Young professionals are the future of SGF and it is so important to invest in them.
This is one of many reasons SGF is the place to be for YPs!