Fellows Program with Lethia Owens Helps Participants Boost Their Brands

RBC YPN Fellows session with Lethia Owens

Participants apply Lethia Owens’ branding tips during a leadership development session.

Stepping into a short work week can be difficult, but we’ve got a few tips for boosting your brand’s creativity that just may kick-start your Tuesday!

The Young Professionals Network recently continued its popular “Fellows-lite” leadership training series with the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative. On May 10, personal branding strategist and professional speaker Lethia Owens led “Executive Presence: Strategies for Building an Influential Leadership Brand” and shared many tips for enhancing personal and professional brands.

Some nuggets from Lethia’s address: Continue reading


10 Pieces of Advice for Graduates — and for Everybody

Tony Thompson, RBC

Tony Thompson receives honors after addressing Maryville University’s graduating class.

Regional Business Council leaders find wisdom in so many of their experiences. RBC member Tony Thompson, president and CEO of Kwame Building Group, recently shared some things he’s learned over the years with the graduates of Maryville University at their commencement exercises.

Tony tailored his remarks to the grads, but we think his advice applies to plenty of other life situations, too. Below, read Tony’s top ten pieces of advice. Continue reading

Meet the YPN Leadership 100: Nate Johnson

Nate Johnson

Nate Johnson will lead you to your perfect home in St. Louis.

Some of the St. Louis region’s most creative minds are part of the RBC’s Young Professionals Network Leadership 100. But who are they and how are they helping to shape a stronger St. Louis?

That’s what we’re addressing in our blog series, “Meet the YPN Leadership 100,” where we introduce you to members of our YPN community who are providing exceptional leadership, service, culture and innovation to our area.

Today’s featured YPN Leadership 100 member is Nate Johnson, president and broker of Real Estate Solutions, a full service residential real estate brokerage with a commitment to helping clients achieve their real estate goals. Nate earned his Missouri real estate license from the American School of Real Estate and has been a member of St. Louis Association of REALTORS since 1999, serving as president in 2011. He is involved with 100 Black Men of St. Louis, the St. Louis Crisis Nursery, Boys Hope/Girls Hope and other organizations.

Learn more about Nate in our Q&A below! Continue reading

YPN Members Enthusiastic About Imagination Library

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Just one week after the project’s kick-off event, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library already is receiving enthusiastic support from members of the Young Professionals Network.

The first 25 donations to the project totaled more than $1,700 — enough to provide 64 children with a year’s worth of books, or to provide nearly 13 kids with five years of monthly books. We’re on our way to reaching YPN’s goal of providing 100 kids with five years’ worth of reading materials (and you can still help)! Continue reading

Good News Tuesday… er, Wednesday

good news tuesday

What’s your good news?
By richkidsunite, via Creative Commons

In our Good News Tuesday post on the first Tuesday of each month, we highlight some of the accomplishments that members of our Young Professionals Network share with us.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “But… today is Wednesday.” It’s true, it’s true. Yesterday, we were still on cloud nine after Monday night’s excellent kick-off event to our Imagination Library service project and we forgot to post this month’s good news. We hope you understand!

This month, we’d like to offer congratulations to these members of the RBC/YPN community:

New jobs:

  • Bobby Torgoley, Counsel, Mallinckrodt
  • Alisha Hill, Recruiter, Scottrade


  • Kewana Regans, UMB branch manager at Brentwood Promenade.
  • Henry Johnson III,  Assistant Vice President at Morgan Stanley.
  • Clarissa Okpaleke, University Relationship Specialist at Monsanto, has received additional responsibilities managing more external relationships.

Achievements and Recognition:

  • Darryl Tyler received an achievement award from PNC for outstanding results in his line of business.
  • Preston Davis is the recipient of a Consortium Fellowship and will begin the MBA program at Washington University Olin Business School in the fall.
  • Kimmie Weeden is getting an MBA at Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University.


  • Henry Johnson III and his wife welcomed their second child, a healthy baby girl, on April 8.

We’d love for you to be part of Good News Tuesday, too. Tell us when you’ve been promoted, if you’ve landed a brand new position or if you’ve launched another company. You can even announce your new baby, your volunteer efforts or your speaking engagements. Simply email the news to ypn@stlrbc.org by the last Tuesday of the month, and we’ll consider it for publication. Here’s a tentative schedule:

  • News received by May 28 is published June 4.

  • News received by June 25 is published July 2.

  • News received by July 30 is published August 6.

Be sure to include full information, including pertinent names, titles, companies/organizations and contact information.

We’re proud of how hard our YPN members work to make St. Louis a better place to thrive, and we’re excited to sound the trumpets in congratulations. Join me in offering best wishes to this month’s YPN members, and don’t forget to share your own good news by emailing ypn@stlrbc.org!


YPN Chooses Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for 2013 Service Project

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”

There’s no question that a book can open so many doors for a child. Early-childhood reading stimulates the imagination, encourages cultural exploration and contributes to better grades. Happy, well-read children indeed help communities to thrive as they later become successful teenagers and adults.

That’s why the Young Professionals Network has selected Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library as its service project for 2013. The project kicks off with a special event at 5 p.m. tonight, May 6, at Missouri Athletic Club West, 1777 Des Peres Road, Town & Country. Learn more and RSVP on Facebook.

The Imagination Library is a non-profit organization that promotes early childhood literacy by providing age-appropriate books to children from birth to age five. Country music star Dolly Parton launched the Imagination Library in Tennessee to guarantee low-income children access to books and to inspire families to read to their children. The United Way of Greater St. Louis continues to expand the Imagination Library’s reach by bringing the program to the St. Louis area.

An advocate for literacy programs, YPN has identified three ways members (and their friends and families!) can get involved:

Donate: YPN members can offer solid foundation for reading and learning by providing funds for monthly books. A donation of just $136 will provide 60 books (one per month) to a child for five years, or a donation of just $27 will provide 12 books over the course of a year. Make a donation now!

Volunteer: Reading to children has a positive impact on their development and happiness. You can volunteer to read at participating child centers.

Share: Spread your support of the Imagination Library through your favorite social media channels. YPN will regularly post updates about the project on Facebook and LinkedIn, and we encourage you to share those photos, statuses and donation requests with your friends and colleagues.

We’re excited about the possibilities that the Imagination Library could hold for St. Louis children, and we hope you’ll join us at our kick-off event this evening. We’ll be sharing a lot of information about how to get involved, and we’ll continue to offer information right here on our blog.

Let us know in the comments which books influenced your childhood and teenage years!