by Virginia A. Mudge, Dallas Opera
On March 28, the YP Women’s Network facilitated an exclusive roundtable discussion between YP members and successful female executives in Dallas. The event featured four distinctive leaders: Jamie Lavin, Executive Director of JPMorgan Private Bank; Sara Madsen Miller, COO and Co-Founder of 1820 Productions; Holly Reed, Managing Partner of Texas Central; and Dev Rastogi, Managing Director of Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam. This intimate discussion offered an invaluable opportunity for attendees to gain insight into the challenges and choices they may face as future leaders as well as a chance to network with other bright young minds.
Hosted by The Dallas Opera, the evening began with a wine and hors d’oeuvres mixer in the beautiful Winspear Opera House. Attendees then broke into small groups and had 15 minutes with each of the speakers to hear more about their journey to leadership and to have some quality Q&A time; the Women’s Network Committee referred to it as “speed dating” for women’s empowerment. The great benefit of the format was that each small group had different questions and interests, allowing each session to gain something different from each of the speakers. Instead of a one-way presentation, attendees were able to participate in very organic and intuitive conversations.
The overarching theme was each speaker’s experiences as a woman in male-dominated fields, but topics ranged from the importance of continuous growth and development, to the significance of cultivating a personal brand, to the necessity of women leaders advocating for and lifting up other women leaders. Each speaker noted the life-long impact of creating and engaging in a network of like-minded leaders, and the advice offered by the speakers was immediately applicable and practicable in attendees’ current careers.
The objective of the event was to inspire and empower future female leaders, and based on the feedback from attendees, it was a great success.
by Calvin Curry, YP Impact Co-Lead, Texas Health Resources
On Friday, March 24th, the YP Impact mentors convened for a collaborative workshop to engage our fellow members, learn more about our partner school, and develop our mentoring skill set. Two Learning Specialists from Friends of Wednesday’s Child, Alana Jones and Bailey Huddleston, guided our session and provided insight into working with youth in the community.
The workshop was held at Dallas ISD’s Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA) in the Flex Space in the sophomore hall. The YP Impact program currently works exclusively with this dynamic high school, currently in its second year of existence. Meeting in this unique space provided YP mentors a better understanding of the school and its mission.
The session began with an introduction from the YP Impact Co-Leads, David Lam and myself, and a short synopsis of the program. Michelle Reyes, IDEA’s Community Liaison, followed with a tour of the building, shared a brief history of the school as it exists today, and detailed how it hopes to grow in the coming years.
Upon returning to the Flex Space, the YP Impact mentors and our guests enjoyed fellowship over a Chick- Fil-A dinner. We then began our workshop activities by breaking up into teams and discussing how we would each handle a prompted “mentee persona” that could be particularly challenging to new mentors. The personas included “The Dreamer,” “The Over-Extender,” and “The Uninspired.” After scenario discussions, David Lam gave insight into how these are particularly relevant to our situation.
The next section of the workshop was an educational presentation by Friends of Wednesday’s Child, detailing tools and thought processes we can implement to build an effective mentoring relationship with lasting outcomes. Alana and Bailey demonstrated how to establish rapport with our mentees, age-appropriate activities and expectations, and goal setting. This was followed by a question and answer session where we were able to connect their insights to our situations at IDEA.
The event wrapped up with a YP group discussion for ideas on future work sessions, suggestions on how YP Impact can build strategic ties with the school and DISD, and upcoming events as the school year comes to a close.
The night was a great opportunity to catch up with our existing mentors and welcome new ones, engage in healthy discussion, and build our skills to ensure we are becoming the most effective mentors we can be. We look forward to upcoming events and building lasting relationships with our students, the school, and our fellow mentors!
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by Julie Goodman, Goodman Global Consulting
I’m 32 years old and serve on the board of directors for 5 organizations. It all started with an event held by the Dallas Regional Chamber Young Professional’s group called “Get on Board,” where I learned that nonprofits are interested in adding young professionals to their boards. While each of the boards operates a little differently, I’ve discovered a few key factors that have been successful across the spectrum.
Offer to Help
Most boards have different committees and you can express interest in ones with which you’d like to get involved. Joining committees is a great way to learn more about the organization and get to know fellow board members. It can also be used as an opportunity to develop your own skills if you are interested in refining aspects of your professional life. Many nonprofit organizations host events and ask for volunteers to help with anything from logistics, being a judge for a competition, or registrations. For me, volunteering and joining committees have shown these boards that I am dedicated to the organization, resulting in more opportunities for me to get involved. I was asked to be the Chair of the Annual Meeting for one nonprofit board this year because of my new and different ideas.
Speak with Confidence
I was nervous about speaking up during my first few board meetings. While it’s beneficial to observe how the board operates at the beginning, you were asked to join because the organization values your opinion and input. While the organization may have already tried things you’ve suggested, you may have a different perspective on how to approach it. Many nonprofits today struggle to get more young professionals involved. My participant has added value as I am typically the youngest on the board.
Find an Advocate
I’ve been so amazed with all of the impressive people I’ve met as a result of my board participation. Other board members are typically much farther along in their careers and hold high-level positions within their organizations. I invite other board members to coffee or lunch to learn more about them and their industry. Although most have busy schedules, I’ve found many will go out of their way to meet with you. Eventually, you will find certain advocates you connect with who can help support your ideas and recommend you future open positions within the board. Serving on boards has also provided many opportunities for me to meet and dine with distinguished speakers that have flown in from around the world — I even introduced the first Muslim woman Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Discover your Niche
As a young professional, there are several areas where you may have a unique advantage or insight to add value to the group. Younger people are typically more up to speed with new technologies and social media, which is a big need in many nonprofits. Additionally, you can bring in fresh perspectives on strategy or marketing ideas. Finding people I connect with and areas where I can contribute has made a large impact in my professional life. In addition to developing new skill sets, I’ve also built relationships with people across various industries that have led to business opportunities and lasting friendships.
I hope you will be able to join us for the next Get on Board event on May 11th at 7:30 AM at the Dallas Regional Chamber. Take advantage of this opportunity to hear from nonprofits that are interested in adding a young professional to their board of directors. See you there!
by Brent Hockaday, Bell Nunnally
Passion, drive, and a commitment to excellence are some of the qualities ambitious young professionals use to guide the trajectory of their careers. On March 22, the 2017 LEAD YP class enjoyed the great opportunity to hear first hand how three business leaders in the Dallas community used these qualities to reach the professional heights they have achieved in their respective industries.
Panelists Ryan Suchala, Dallas Market President for Bank of Texas, Jason Freeman, J.D., Managing Member of Freeman Law, and Kim Follis, CPC, CTS, Vice President of Delta Dallas, shared the events that shaped their professional paths. Topics ranged from early mistakes to the value of mentorship and professional guidance. The common message conveyed by all three business leaders was that there are no quick and easy roads to becoming effective leaders. Effective leadership takes years of hard work, dedication, patience, and — perhaps most importantly — a never-ending willingness to learn. To maintain this focus, a professional — and a person for that matter — cannot accept a feeling of complacency or the fleeting idea of having “made it.” The panelists described how they approach each work day as a new challenge, aiming to expend as much grit and effort as the prior day.
The LEAD YP class walked away with a greater perspective and appreciation of how these Dallas business leaders faced and overcame challenges. Lead YP participants are grateful to Preston Hollow Catering for providing a delicious spread for the event.
by Craig Smith, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate
Beep! Beep! Beep!
I looked over and the clock read 4:45 AM. It was finally here! The day I had been telling my family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors about for the past week; it was the day that the Dallas Regional Chamber and its Young Professionals program was headed to Austin to advocate for the high-speed rail (between Houston and Dallas) and pre-Kindergarten care for our youngest citizens.
The four-hour trip to Austin flew by as the group swapped stories and studied the advocacy materials provided by our fearless leaders. As we pulled up to the Capitol, the mood quickly began to buzz with anticipation. The chartered bus door opened once more and we divided into two groups, each group assigned to distinct House Representatives as well as State Senators.
Remaining mindful not to wander too far from the group, the great expanse of the southern entry hall drew me into the main commons. The sheer volume of space has inspired many of Texas’ great leaders and undoubtedly will continue to do so.
The first meeting of the day was with House Representative Rafael Anchia. He welcomed my group of 10 into his office even though there was hardly enough room for him to squeeze past us and nestle into his chair. Rep. Anchia was gracious, to the point, and has a no-holds-barred attitude towards receiving and answering questions, and listening to perspective from our group.
Our busy but productive day also included visits with Rep.Victoria Neave, Rep. Pat Fallon, Rep. Linda Koop, and Rep. Jason Villalba. As the sun waned past its high point in the clear Austin sky, the two groups reconvened for the final two meetings of the day. Senator Van Taylor and Representative Johnson’s offices were both on the bigger side and the entire group circled around to ask the ‘big’ questions.
Once all meetings concluded, YP took a short trip down to the Driskill Hotel attended the DRC’s meet-and-greet for the Austin Fly-In. With every available elected official from North Texas present, the call to reconvene at the charter bus came all too soon.
It was now 8:45 PM. The blacked-out bus doors swung shut, and a calm sense of accomplishment overcame the cabin. It had been a mere 16 hours since the alarm sounded, but we met with seven elected officials, made a bus full of new friends, had conversations we will remember for a lifetime, and walked the halls of Texas history.
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