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2015 Chair - Laura Bernstorf Young Professionals of Wichita

July 30, 2015

ypw success story: laura bernstorf


Meg Foreman - YPW Program & Marketing Manager

As YPW celebrates 10 years of uniting young professionals in 2015 we’re taking a look into the success stories our past board of trustees chairs. What is a YPW success story? It varies, depending on the individuals’ initial reasons for involvement! Read more from our 2015 board of trustees chair, Laura Bernstorf, below.

Employer: Airbus Americas Engineering

Years Active in YPW: 5 years (since 2011)

Laura Bernstorf is the current YPW Board of Trustees Chair. She started out as an Ambassador 2011, joined the YPW Board as the Secretary in 2013 while continuing to serve as an Ambassador, and then was elected to the Board Chair-Elect position in 2014. In this role, she represents YPW on the Wichita Metro Chamber Board of Directors and serves as the Vice Chair – YPW on the Chamber Executive Committee.

What brought you to Wichita, or made you stay?

I’m originally from Wichita, and while studying engineering at Wichita State, had the opportunity to intern at Beechcraft. That led to a good job with good pay in the city after graduation, which kept me here. Since then, the industry connections I’ve made, including friends from college in the aviation industry here, have kept me interested in staying here.

How did you learn about YPW?

While I was at Beechcraft, the company was a corporate investor, so I had been on the mailing list for a long time. When I changed jobs to start working at Airbus, Crystal Hough (a previous board chair) mentioned that I should get involved.

What was attending your first YPW event like?

I think my first event was a mingle at Fox & Hound. I was just starting the new job and wanting to expand my connections. While there I ran into Suzy Finn, who I had known since we were kids, and she convinced me to consider becoming an action team volunteer.

What were your goals for getting involved in YPW? And how did you accomplish those goals?

I got involved to expand my connections to people beyond those in my industry or who I had known since middle school. I also wanted to be able to share my appreciation for Wichita. Since I grew up here and know and appreciate the cool things about the city, I want to be able to connect people to those and share experiences with them. So I joined the Ambassadors team to meet more people and at the same time share my passion for the city.

What was your favorite YPW experience?

The experiences after being on the Chamber Chairman’s lunch panel have been my favorite so far. I appreciate the exposure that helped bring to YPW and the opportunities it opened for us to talk about YPW and start conversations with other groups in the community.

What skills have you gained from being a part of YPW?

The top three are probably leadership, time management, and public speaking skills. I’ve also learned to balance between work, meetings, and other community groups. Particularly in the past year, it’s helped me learn how to identify potential partners for projects and activities and see where there might be mutually beneficial purposes for two community groups.

How have those skills transferred to your professional career?

I think I’ve brought a lot of my program management skills into working with YPW, and in return, I’ve gained confidence in my public speaking and ability to lead groups in the workplace.

What advice would you give to new members to make the most out of their YPW membership?

Attend anything you can to develop relationships. You never know when those network contacts can benefit you and give you options for resources in the community. It also helps you become more valuable because you have more connections to opportunities personally and professionally.

Other thoughts:

Share what you love about Wichita. Since publishing the guest column in the Eagle’s Progress Edition, I’ve had people come up to me and share what they did. I encourage you – now go share that with even more people so we can create a community of people who love Wichita and are excited about sharing that with others.

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