For a Brighter Future
Tuesday, February 18, 2014on
Part three of a four-part series on Young Professionals of Wichita By Suzy Finn Executive Director Suzy Finn (pictured) joined Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) staff in 2013. As an active member of YPW for several years, Finn served as an Ambassador for the organization and a member of the YPW Board of Directors. She has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Marquette University and master’s degree in business administration from Wichita State University. YPW is proud of the fact that we help our members find their place in Wichita. We are even more proud of the difference our members make in the future of Wichita. "I'm involved with YPW because, through the organization, I don't just see changes in Wichita, I can be a part of them,” said Amanda Roth, an employee at Emprise Bank and Mosaic Team Chair. “You gain a lot of insight to the city when you speak to other YPs, and you learn where you can best put your talents to use." To Effect Positive Change for a Brighter Future Our original mission statement didn’t say anything about the difference that a group of 2,200 members could make in the community. In 2012, the YPW Board changed that for two reasons. We knew that we were and had to be about more than just connecting people to each other and the community; we had to be part of creating the future community. And we knew that we were already effecting that change through our programs and people. For example, David Friedberg of Allen, Gibbs & Houlik and the Community Relations Team Chair said, “My team’s goal is to establish YPW’s reputation as a great source for community involvement in Wichita. We want YPW to be recognized as the group local organizations can use as a source to bolster its volunteer base and whose involvement in the community is widespread and significant. Our team is constantly looking for new, engaging ways to make Wichita a better place for all.” Joslyn Kusiak, an attorney at Klenda Austerman, LLC and Nexus Team Chair, added, “Upon first joining YPW I quickly discovered a world of future friends, colleagues, and professional acquaintances. Additionally, I saw the opportunities to easily learn about, connect to, and get involved with the Wichita community. YPW is full of energy and fresh ideas. I believe it’s a strong organization with even stronger potential to make life great for young professionals and for Wichita. I’m honored and thrilled to be a part of it all!" Advocating for Change Each of our action teams makes a difference in the community in some way, whether that is promoting a new business, serving with another nonprofit, or keeping young talent here when they make new social and professional connections. We also know that, with 2,200 members, we can be a voice for change in the city. The 2010 Destination ICT study gave YPW, and several of our partners, ideas for how to make Wichita a destination for young talent. One of the priorities identified was to create Wichita as a more attractive and sustainable place to live, work, and play. A recommendation within that priority was to ensure that future development across Wichita aligns with the spirit and intent of the downtown plan. Through the 2012 Priority Project (a collaboration between YPW, Visioneering, and the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation), citizens of all demographic groups identified as a priority increasing the options for entertainment and families in downtown Wichita. At the end of 2013, the YPW Board of Trustees voted to adopt a new initiative in 2014 that supports both of those findings – advocate for continued downtown revitalization. We’ve already made strides in this area just by making sure our members know about the exciting things happening in the community. After reading the Wichita Business Journal’s year in-review article about downtown activity in 2013, marketing team chair Jessica Williams – an eMarketing specialist at Kwik Shop – shared it via Facebook with the following comment: “Since finding an outlet to be involved in my community, I actually knew of most of these projects and am excited for the future! Thanks Young Professionals of Wichita for allowing me to finally find the excitement and respect for the city I've lived in my entire life.” In November 2013, we worked with the developers of the River Vista project to host a focus group of approximately 60 YPs to give feedback on the project and ensure that downtown development appeals to one of its target audiences. In 2014, we will continue to find new ways to make sure our members know about the developments in downtown and provide opportunities for them to voice their ideas and opinions about how to make downtown, and therefore Wichita, a destination for young talent. Other posts in YPW series: Part 1: "Wichita's Talent Pool - Keeping It Deep" Part 2: "The Diversity Difference"