Hello, members! October marks a lot of change for our community. Cooler weather is on the horizon, school is back in full swing, fall sports may determine many of our young professional’s schedules, and your Abilene Young Professional (AYP) Steering Committee has a change in command.
First off, a big thank you to our outgoing Chair, Alex Russell, (Oddly Natural) for her hard work over the last year. Alex has brought a tremendous amount of vision, energy and leadership to AYP and Abilene is better for it. I’m honored to serve in this capacity alongside her and the other 14 individuals who make up the Steering Committee.
Over the past three years, AYP has grown from an ambitious idea in 2014 into a group of 535 members with a calendar full of networking opportunities and numerous programs that plug young professionals into the heart of Abilene’s civic and business communities. In just the last year, we have launched several new initiatives that are already making a positive mark. Get on Board initiative launched in December 2016 has so far placed over 15 young professionals on community and non-profit boards (shameless plug - there are several current board openings, so check it out HERE).
We also co-hosted the first-ever Dyess Abilene Strong event this past May where AYP members teamed up with Airmen and competed to win prizes. We will continue to recognize and value our relationship with our friends at Dyess Air Force Base! As well, in an effort to engage and retain the talent on our college campuses we recently launched Campus Connect, a program in which participants from each of Abilene’s universities have been paired with an AYP member in a career field that the participant is interested in pursuing (another shameless plug – check out this LINK to get on the waiting list for Spring 2018).
And finally, in September we rolled out our first Community Art Initiative – Key City Keys – a colorful, functioning piano at Vera Hall Minter Memorial Park as a thank you to the City of Abilene, which has been so incredibly supportive of AYP since inception. (Thanks to the Trey Todd family and Stephanie Prosser for helping with this initiative!)
But, we’re not done yet! In order to fulfill our mission - to attract, retain, and engage young professionals in Abilene - we MUST ensure that we are delivering value to you, our members, and we have several things in the works that are aimed at doing just that!
Over the coming months we are going to ask for a lot of your feedback, and I personally request that you’ll take the time to give us candid, honest and creative answers that will help us continue to grow and shape AYP into something that provides great value to Abilene and to YOU. We are working hard on new professional development initiatives, as well as new resources that will allow you to better market yourself to the AYP network at-large. Again, this is all in an effort to provide an even more valuable AYP membership to you.
I’d also like to say a big thank you to all of our AYP sponsors. There wouldn’t be AYP without your support. I can’t tell you how proud and excited I am to serve as AYP Chair for the upcoming year and I look forward to seeing you all at our next AYP After Five event sponsored by Condley and Company, LLP on Nov. 2nd at Crû Bar and Event Venue.