Why Give Back?

We all know it’s important to give back to the community. Not only will volunteering your time and resources to local nonprofits help people in need, but volunteering does amazing things for you, as well.  Research has shown that the old adage, “it’s better to give than to receive” is true after all.

A Gallup survey on volunteering in the U.S.A. found that 52% of volunteers do it because they like doing something useful and helping others. Here are some personal benefits to serving your local community:

  • Learn a new trade:  Volunteering provides new experiences/opportunities for you to grow. Both personally and professionally, you will learn new trades when you volunteer for local organizations. Maybe you’ll find that you’re a great handyman and craftsmanship will become your new hobby.
  •  You’ll meet new people. Your social circle will grow leaps and bounds by volunteering on a regular basis. You’ll meet other like-minded citizens who want to do good in their community. Perhaps one of these new connections will serve you well in the workforce.
  • Boost your self-esteem: Many volunteers experience a sense of increased self-esteem and greater self-worth. Helping others makes you feel good about yourself, because you’re doing something for someone that they couldn’t do for themselves.

There are plenty of opportunities to serve in the St. Louis community. Tell us how you’re giving back this Thanksgiving season.


YPN Member Supports Local Veterans

YPN member, Salim Awad, is an Immigration Attorney and Founding Member of McQueen Awad LLC. He is also CEO of Barracuda Trading Company LLC. However, his most important job might have been the seven years he spent in the United States Army.



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The RBC and the YPN thanks Salim for his service and commitment to supporting our local Veteran’s.

As an attorney and business owner, how does your company currently serve Veterans?
As private owned businesses, we work closely with the VRBC – Veterans Business Resource Center – to help service members leaving the military start and grow their own businesses. We do this by providing training, counseling and advice. I serve as the VRBC’s Vice-Chairman of the Board.

In what ways can other young professionals serve our local Veterans?
Give your time and professional expertise to veterans’ start-ups. Support the hiring of veterans in your organization.

Why is it important for local businesses to hire Veterans?
Veteran hiring represents an important part of our social contract as Americans. Also, hiring a veteran is an excellent business proposition. Veterans bring a great attitude and work ethic to anything they do. In addition, veterans generally have great leadership skills and understand the importance of mission and purpose in their assigned duties.

Finally, what does Veteran’s Day mean to you?
Veteran’s Day is an opportunity to stop and reflect about what we are willing to give up to protect our country, and to show our gratitude to all those who have made tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedom and way of life.

The RBC talks to Executive Director of the Veterans Business Resource Center



YPN member, Darcella Craven, is the Executive Director of the Veterans Business Resource Center (VBRC). We had the opportunity to talk to Darcella about the VBRC’s mission and what Veteran’s Day means to her.

Happy Veteran’s Day!

“Veterans are only 6% of the overall population, approximately 1 – 2% of all households are directly impacted by someone who is in the service.  Veteran’s Day is a time when all of us can come together, even for one day, and say thank you to those who have served, still serve and will serve because they believe in our inalienable rights.”

  • Tell me a little bit about your company, the Veterans Business Resource

The VBRC is a nonprofit economic development agency started in 2004 with a mission to assist military members, veterans, National Guard, Reservist and their immediate families with startup and expansion of small business in MO, KS, IA, NE and southern IL. We transition military skills into small business success.

discussing meaning at B2B

  • What types of training and resources do you offer to Veterans?

We have a 5-phase process that assesses where the client is in his or her small business dream.  Our process helps move a person from the “pillow entrepreneur” still thinking about small business all the way through opening the doors or assessment of expansion needs.  We host a 3-week Bootstrap business plan training; webinars on topics such as assessing your business idea, how not to mess up government contracting and creating an exit strategy to name a few; and we provide one-on-one consulting to second stage small businesses which include mentoring.  Veterans that work with us set up their companies from the very beginning with solid business models that include incorporating many values developed while serving such as discipline, adaptability, perseverance and dedication to seeing things done well the first time. They also build in a community give back into their model from the beginning.

  • Why is it important for local businesses to hire Veterans?

Our men and women have served their country honorably and they want to continue to do so now that they have left the service.  Doing business with them is an opportunity for those who support the military to help them to continue to serve our country through economic empowerment and development. For those who have contracts with government agencies or who wish to procure contracts, have an additional incentive to work with Veterans  because they understand the government structure and processes.  The learning curve for working within those boundaries is much shorter.

  • Finally, what does Veteran’s Day mean to you?

Having lived outside of the United States at a young age I experienced first-hand that the rights we take for granted are not available to everyone in the world. While our country has its share of issues to be sure, we are in a space where we can come together with our difference and figure out how to make things work. I experienced that while serving with people who had completely different viewpoints on everything from religion to weather.  I was in a combat communication role while serving in the late 80s and early 90s when women were still being pushed towards administrative positions in the service.  There were men who believed that as a woman I should not even be in the military let alone training in an artillery unit and were not afraid to tell me so.  But when push came to shove we were one color …green, one gender … soldier, and one unit… Army.  That is how we operate at the center.

Happy Hour for YPN Members and Sports Commission Associates

ImageThe Musial Awards will be held at the Peabody Opera House on Nov. 9. Formerly the National Sportsmanship Awards, the Sports Commission’s gala event celebrating the greatest moments of sportsmanship has been renamed in honor of Stan the Man – a fitting tribute to our beloved St. Louis sports icon who embodied class and character.

The Sports Commission is organizing a post-show gathering for members of the Associates and the Regional Business Council’s YPN group.  This will take place immediately following the Musial Awards at Joe Buck’s downtown (within walking distance of Peabody Opera House).  For $35 per person, Associates and their guests can obtain a ticket to the Musial Awards at 6:45 p.m. and a pass to the post-show gathering that will include complimentary food and drinks.

To obtain tickets, please complete the form or purchase them online by clicking here.

We had a chance to talk to YPN member, Joe Mark, about his involvement with the St. Louis Sports Commission Associates. 

  • What is your involvement with the St. Louis Sports Commission/Musial Awards? I am on the board for the Sports Commission Associates. The associates group is the young professional’s arm of the St. Louis Sports Commission. I am helping this year with the Musial Awards.


  • Did the YPN help connect you with the St. Louis Sports Commission? Absolutely. I was introduced to the Sports Commission because of my involvement with the YPN. I was told that the Sports Commission Associates board was looking for some new members and I jumped at the opportunity. 


  • What other organizations are you involved with? I serve as Vice President for the Young Variety of St. Louis, YPN Steering Committee and Leadership 100, Membership Chair for the St Louis Sports Commission Associates and a member of the NAACP.


  • The Musial awards are all about exemplifying good sportsmanship… how can young professionals bring that type of attitude to the office? I think it can be summed up simply by saying “treat others how you would want to be treated”. Always take a moment to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and act appropriately. Competition can present itself in many facets of our daily lives, we can use that competition to drive a wedge between us and others or we can harness that energy and use it drive everyone forward together. 


  • What else do you want to share about the Musial Awards and the YPN? I think there are a lot of similarities between what the Musial Awards stand for and the actions of the YPN and its members. The Musial Awards showcases those who compete with class, excellence, humility, and generosity. There is no doubt that YPN members strive every day to exemplify these same traits in our professional and personal lives. 

Mentor Network Reception Recap

Last week, the RBC hosted its annual Mentor Network Reception at Enterprise Holding’s Corporate Office. The Mentor Network Program includes 136 students from the region’s leading colleges and universities, and for the first time ever, 11 international students.  The program matches diverse university students with prominent business leaders.

“The Mentor Network is a great program for students to connect with top-level business leaders in the region,” said Kathy Osborn, Executive Director of the RBC. “This is a chance for students to have direct access to CEO’s to learn valuable experiences and expand their networking opportunities. At the same time, these business leaders can invest in the students, helping to maintain bright new young professionals in the St. Louis region.”

“We applaud the efforts of the RBC’s Mentor Network Program that identifies high potential college students from business and engineering programs and matches them with an executive mentor from a local company to help develop young talent and connect these future employees to the regional business community,” said Chrissy Taylor-Broughton, Senior Vice President of North American Operations for Enterprise Holdings. “We also commend the work of the RBC’s Young Professionals Network to develop a more diverse workforce for a more competitive business community. Our community is becoming a rich tapestry of ethnic groups. We need to reach out to new arrivals to make them feel welcome – and to take advantage of their knowledge and skills.”


(left to right) Mentor Network Student participant Monique Gilliam of Washington University poses with Arvetta Powell from Build-A-Bear Workshop and YPN Member Keisha Mabry, Dot Foods


Students discuss job opportunities with an recruiter from RBC company, Kwame Building Group.


YPN Member Sameer Andi, MasterCard addresses a small group of students during the executive discussions.


YPN Member Adrienne Ford, BJC co-facilitated a small group with RBC member Dean Mueller of Cassidy Turley.


Students from UMSL.