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November 12, 2012

How D.I. Sees It

Uninspired by YPW? Read on

Heather Bohrer

by Dennis I. Clary,
2013 Chair of the Board of Trustees

Why does YPW exist? To attract and retain diverse young talent. 

How does YPW do this? Through professional and social immersion. 
What does YPW do? Promotes the Wichita community.
Woven together, these answers yield the current YPW Mission Statement: To attract and retain diverse young talent through professional and social immersion in the Wichita community.
A noble cause to be sure, but stated in a way that is about as inspiring as your boss asking if you saw the memo to put new cover sheets on your TPS reports. So, why is inspiration important?…    
Recently, a video from optimist and author, Simon Sinek, was brought to my attention by fellow YPW volunteer, Walker Schwartz. Simon has coded a biological communication pattern called The Golden Circle that states, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”  Simple. True. Brilliant. If we apply this viewpoint to traditional YPW programming, it suggests that young professionals will never “buy-in” to our community because of what we do — promote Wichita. Or even how we do it — by hosting a mingle, blood drive, lunch and learn or dine around, etc. Indeed, YPW has offered a wide array of robust event programming targeted at professional development and social interaction over the lifespan of our organization. The value of these events for regional young professionals is not to go understated. They have been, and continue to be, vitally important. They serve as the way YPW currently demonstrates the importance of attraction and retention — by showcasing a myriad of wonderful ways young professionals can work, play and live in Wichita. 
Although these events are undeniably important, they do little to arouse great enthusiasm among young professionals and differentiate Wichita from any other metropolis. Rather, to truly “buy-in” to our community, young professionals need to be inspired by a shared belief of why we do these things. We do them because young professionals believe in challenging the status quo — because “that’s the way things have always been done” does not necessarily mean that is the way they should continue to be. We do them because young professionals believe we are accountable for the promise of a brighter future for us and our children. That is why attracting and retaining diverse young talent is critically important to Wichita. I believe that YPW has reached an inflection point. It is time we double our efforts to re-communicate the why behind the why — to inspire ourselves and to inspire others to join our movement. 
I mention all of the above to offer, that in addition to the strategic elements of professional and social immersion, that YPW begin to consider other elements to further our mission.  These elements should serve to infuse some much needed inspiration and reaffirm a belief that is absolutely essential to our success — that young professionals do have the ability to affect change in our community. 
For the purposes of today’s blog, I suggest the element of advocacy — defined as the act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy. It is for this reason that I am proud to announce the launch of a new YPW series entitled, “A Seat at the Table.” The “Seat at the Table” series will provide young professionals with intimate access to our local elected officials on the Wichita City Council and the Sedgwick County Board of Commissioners on an every other month rotation. The series begins Thursday, November 15th with Vice Mayor Janet Miller. 

Voting is a civic responsibility, a tenet of the democratic process and a nod of respect to the many who sacrificed so that we could attain such a liberty — a liberty many are still fighting for worldwide. I see this new series as merely an extension of that civic responsibility and I urge you to take advantage of the opportunities it affords. YPW has created this mechanism to provide you, the individual YP, an opportunity to advocate for change. Given this direct channel to our local elected officials, you have the opportunity to advise them of your desires, share your feedback regarding their decisions and influence their way forward. If the “Seat at the Table” series is the metaphoric equivalent of YPW “putting a toe in the water” as it relates to advocacy, then I ask you to ponder the immense potential of what we can accomplish if we “dive in” by coming together and combining our individual voices. This immense potential just happens to exist in a gem of a town we call Wichita, Kansas.


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