by Mike Siegel, Texas Care Alliance
Walking into a room of 80+ young professionals eager to earn a seat on a nonprofit board was a daunting experience, to say the least. After hearing from five different leaders of local nonprofits, each as passionate about his or her cause as the next, I knew I found my calling with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). As the North Texas Board Chair described NKF’s mission to provide education, awareness and prevention of kidney disease, which aligns well with my day job, I began to think that maybe I could offer something to the NKF Board. Suddenly, the prospect of applying to a nonprofit board seat, along with so many others and with no such experience, didn’t seem so intimidating.
The process included a written application through the DRC Young Professionals and interviews with the local NKF Director as well as its Board Chair. Shortly thereafter, I was surprised and excited when I was ultimately offered a seat on the North Texas Board of NKF. Being new to board service and younger than most board members is yet another uncomfortable position. However, it is my hope that those currently considering applying to the Get On Board program will encounter a similarly welcoming environment as the one I’ve been afforded at NKF. Regardless, new board members should make the effort to get to know their peers and the staff they support.
The opportunity to serve on a nonprofit board can be as rewarding as you choose to make it. While you may not be in the position to financially contribute at the level of some board members, you can challenge yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone and consciously trying to improve your networking and fundraising skills. Moreover, I have been able to volunteer at local fundraising and education events that allow for direct interaction with the communities we aim to serve. With less than a year of board service, I have met and worked with some truly amazing people in Dallas who continue to inspire me to serve our community. The opportunity to support your organization’s mission is all the reason you need to devote your time and energy toward being an effective board member.
If there is any advice I can offer to future nonprofit board members, it is:
The Get on Board event is Thursday, May 17th and is open to all DRC Young Professionals members. The event allows you the opportunity to network with nonprofit executives and learn more about what it means to serve on a nonprofit board as well as explanation on the process of attaining a board seat. To register, please click here.
There will also be a table set up at the DRC YP + Say Yes To Dallas Happy Hour on Thursday, April 26th. Please stop by to learn more.
by Nikki Canga, Zerorisk HR
On March 28, the LEAD YP class had the opportunity to hear successful Dallas business owners give advice, impart wisdom, and inspire action to help young professionals developing their own career path plans. In attendance were Brittani Rettig, founder and Chief GRIT Office of GRIT Fitness; Kenni Driver, CEO and CMO of Marketing Uplift; and Mike Poskey, President and CEO of ZERORISK HR. The panel shared stories of successes and failures, and gave the class knowledge and encouragement to help them in their own career progression. Although the panel members all came from very different backgrounds and work in very different industries, they all stressed the importance of pursuing a career that energizes, the importance of emotional intelligence, and commitment to learning and growing.
Follow What Energizes You
Energy and passion are key ingredients to career progression. Brittani put it best when she said, “follow what energizes you.” When you are passionate about a path you follow, it will give you energy, which in turn will give you natural motivation. Figure out what gives you passion and energy, and then set your goals around it.
Emotional Intelligence is One of the Best Skills You Can Have
Of the competencies that correlate to workplace success, 80 percent are based on emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is your ability to connect with people, recognize the moods and feelings of the people around you as well as your own, and your ability to regulate your own feelings and emotions. This skill will take you far in your career and individuals with high emotional intelligence have higher levels of self-awareness and excel at relationship building. Learning how to work with people and being aware of how your verbal and non-verbal communication influences those around you is a skill all great leaders possess.
Never Stop Learning
Learning new things and pushing yourself to do something that makes you uncomfortable is a practice you should start today. No matter what your ultimate career goal, at some point along the way, you will be faced with a situation that scares you and pushes you. Practice this today to help you in the future.
Each of the panelists shared with the class what they do to keep learning and growing in their careers.
by Josh Webb, Southwest Airlines
February 28, LEAD YP members had the opportunity to sit down with Tony Bridwell, Chief People Officer at Ryan, Inc. In this role, Bridwell is in charge of leading, enhancing and communicating the culture of Ryan, Inc., to help attract top talent in the Dallas Region.
This year’s class was tasked with reading and discussing Bridwell’s book “The Newsmaker: A Leadership Story of Love and Honor.” The class held discussions on who was the best character and why as well as how the decisions of one person can have a lasting impact on those around him or her. Bridwell emphasized that people learn through stories and the importance of realizing how our decisions as leaders can and will impact those around us.
Following the book discussion, Bridwell led a session on leadership and culture. He posed a question to the class asking if culture is more important than strategy in business. As it turns out, culture was deemed significantly more vital than strategy in developing a good work environment.
“Culture drives everything in business,” Bridwell said. “You’ll manage your culture, or your culture will manage you.”
After stressing the importance of creating a thriving culture, Bridwell noted accountability is another trait good leaders posses. People typically have a negative connotation with “accountability.” However, the negative connotation only exists because people don’t know how to accurately define it. Bridwell explained that to be accountable, one must be able to focus on what is in his or her control, creating ownership of his or her own actions.
Bridwell also touched on the three types of accountability personalities:
The second half of the class focused on mentor/mentee relationships, featuring panelists Bridwell; Jason Hammon, Senior Vice President of Private Banking Team Leader at the Bank of Texas; and Ben Halliday, Vice President of Commercial Banking at JP Morgan Chase. YPer’s gained insight on how to create and maintain a good mentor/mentee relationship. The golden rule to a good relationship is to be active; the relationship will not build on its own and it cannot be forced. It’s up to us as young professionals to make the mentor/mentee relationship flourish.
The panel also emphasized that even if we have mentors, we too can be mentors to others. Whether we mentor someone on the same level as us or younger, we all have the opportunity to help and learn from others. We can learn from a mentor, but we can learn even more by mentoring someone else.
by Mike Siegel, Texas Care Alliance
On November 9, YP descended upon City Hall to gain a better understanding of how our local government works. Timing the visit to within 36 hours of passing a $1.025 billion city bond seemed to be an excellent strategy as each department was eager to host us and discuss their key initiatives.
Council Member Jennifer Staubach Gates greeted our group and provided background on herself and our city government. She also discussed the growing economy in Dallas and the associated demographic shifts that are occurring. Council Member Gates concluded by highlighting the challenges of representing a diverse constituency with diverging opinions on future plans for District 13.
We proceeded to observe a City Plan Commission meeting, which primarily discussed requests for zoning changes or new business permits throughout Dallas. Thanks to our host for the day, YPer David Nevarez, we even got a shout-out from the Chair of the Commission at the start of the proceedings. With small business owners and local residents in attendance to plead their cases, it was exciting and encouraging to see local democracy in action. The key takeaways: there are more bars coming to Deep Ellum, and don’t try to open a bail bonds service in a residential neighborhood.
We then had the privilege to meet the staff who works with the plan Commissioners. They shared their perspective on the Plan Commission’s accomplishments, such as widening sidewalks to help make Lower Greenville more pedestrian friendly and the destination it is today. The team also discussed its “Neighborhood Plus” program to help revitalize parts of south and east Dallas.
Our group met briefly with Parks & Recreation and was excited to hear the plans to connect the 50+ miles of trails in metropolitan Dallas, as well as the long-awaited Oak Cliff deck park adjacent to the Dallas Zoo.
We then headed down to the basement of City Hall, which is apparently the safest place to be in the event of apocalypse, to see the 311 and 911 centers in action. While much of the publicized staffing shortages of last year have been alleviated, it was no less impressive to observe the staff handle such difficult calls on a routine basis.
We wrapped up our day with a stop at the Transportation Management Center. The team demonstrated its power to adjust traffic signals to better control flow and showed us the feeds of the cameras they have observing traffic patterns throughout the city. If you want a quicker commute, talk to these guys.
For more photos of our day, please click here.
by Amie Kromis, Skanska
The LEAD YP class was honored to have Tony Bridwell, an industry trailblazer with nearly three decades of executive leadership experience, speak about leadership as well as his new book, “The Newsmaker: A Leadership Story of Honor and Love.”
Fun fact: the book is designed to be a three-hour read, perfect for a flight from Dallas to New York.
Bridwell outlined how we each have the power to create significant or adverse experiences based on our reactions and decisions. While researching his book, Bridwell realized he needed an understanding of what love looks like from a leadership standpoint. He wanted his characters to explore love and leadership and the controversy that usually results when they’re combined.
It’s estimated adults make more than 35,000 daily decisions, consciously and unconsciously. Through those decisions and experiences, we form biases that influence our values and beliefs. Essentially, how we think determines and drives behavior. However, if an outcome isn’t working, we always want to change the behavior when we should instead change our thinking or bias. We often don’t think, we just do. Bridwell challenged the LEAD YP class to identify our biases in order to shape our perspectives.
Just as Bridwell challenged us to review our thought patterns to change an outcome, I want to challenge you to do the same and lead from love. Whether that’s gaining more empathy or becoming more vulnerable, do something to move your leadership experience from adverse effects to significant impacts.
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