Name: Alex Bell
Title: President, Waco YPs;
Assistant District Attorney
During the last year, it has been my pleasure to serve as the president of the Waco Young Professionals Board of Directors. I have had the opportunity to meet new young professionals moving into our community on a regular basis who are excited and invested in Greater Waco’s future. As I reflect on my year as president, I am both pleased with our successes and excited for the future.
We had a great year in 2012. For the first time, the YPs fielded a fund-raising team for the Chamber’s Total Resources Campaign. We’ve also seen great support for the YP program from our annual sponsors, ExtracoBanks, Baylor University, McLennan Community College and Providence Healthcare Network, as well as new sponsors like L-3 Platform Integration. This year also saw our first networking social between YPs and the Chamber Board members, a wonderful event that we hope to make into an annual affair. While we have had a great year, two changes for the YPs next year have me excited for the future:
1) The Young Professionals Summit
What I am most excited about is our first foray into regional leadership—the YP summit planned for May 17, 2013. The goal of the summit is to bring together young professionals from the Central Texas area, including Temple, Belton, Killeen and Hillsboro to strengthen the bonds of our regional economic network. Our keynote speaker is Evan Smith of TexasTribune.org. Panel discussions will involve industry experts, and educational programs will span the day-long summit at the Waco Convention Center.
In order to make this a successful event, we need your support! Please encourage your young professionals to attend the day-long summit. They will return to you educated on regional economic issues after meeting their peers from the surrounding areas. The investment you make by providing them with the time to attend the summit will definitely be worthwhile.
2) A new regular meeting time
It is never easy to decide how to best serve our membership—or when to do it. The demands of a young career preclude a wide consensus on the best time or day to meet. We have worked to provide a full schedule of events, including lunch, after work and evening programs, so that all young professionals have a chance to participate and benefit from the program. From our evening meetings, to our popular professional development lunches and networking socials, we have seen attendance rise this year. We hope to continue this strong trend into the next YP year.
In response to a survey of our membership, our regular meetings will now be during the lunch hour. We are making efforts to get this message out early and often, so the YPs can hit the ground running in January. What I would like to ask of all Chamber members is that you encourage your young professionals to attend our regular monthly lunch meetings and that you make the minor accommodations it would take for them to attend. In return, we will provide educational and networking opportunities that will put them at the heart of Waco’s business community.
As I hand the reins over to next year’s president, Marilee Marks Kahler, I know the group is in great hands. Marilee is a great leader who understands young professionals and the local community and shares our collective vision of what our future as Greater Waco can be. If the young professionals are any indication of what our future as a community holds, then as they say… the best is yet to come.