In 2008, a small group of motivated and talented St. Louis college graduates of the RBC’s Mentor Network program were looking for a way to get involved with the city’s diverse network of business and community leaders. While making connections and exchanging business cards was one important piece to this idea of deliberate involvement, to attract and retain young talent in the region would demand more than building strictly professional relationships. The Young Professionals Network was hence established to provide a forum for young leaders in the St. Louis community to engage with each other socially, as well as having a shared passion for making the community they work in a better place to live. These leaders believed that providing young professionals in St. Louis with unique opportunities for networking, professional development and community involvement would only enhance the business and social climate in the region.
Today, members have the opportunity to attend social, philanthropic, cultural and professional development opportunities throughout the year. Some of St. Louis’ most creative minds are part of the RBC’s Young Professionals Network Leadership 100, a group of 100 upper-echelon leaders that not only commit to being positive representatives of their companies, but of the St. Louis region and the YPN brand. Leadership 100 members receive numerous benefits of membership, including targeted leadership development opportunities, special invitations to events with major business and civic leaders and elected officials, as well as connections to non-profit boards of local organizations doing good for the community.
We asked a few of our Leadership 100 members to share their thoughts on what the program has done for them, not only from a professional standpoint, but from a personal one as well. Here’s what they had to say:
Sarajeni Hammond is the Talent Management Leader of Global Supply Chain for Monsanto. As active member of the YPN Leadership 100, she has taken full advantage of the leadership group’s networking possibilities.
“Because of the Young Professionals Network, I have participated in unique professional development opportunities throughout the year, like a conversation with the President at Webster University that encouraged me to step up and go for the next challenge in my professional life by leaving a very good job and joining Monsanto. In addition, I was named to the FOCUS St. Louis board where I am proud to support the development of others.”
Jason Pierce, an architect for HOK, echoes Hammond’s thoughts on getting involved outside of your own personal network.
“The YPN Leadership 100 will give you the necessary push to get your head out of your computer monitor and your smartphone and get out there in the community and learn all you can about other industries and help you build your network. Most, if not all of us, are really in the people business, and the only way to grow is become better at interacting and connecting with others. YPN has the resources and opportunities to make this help you kick start your professional connectivity.”
SiSi Beltrán Martí works at Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. as the Senior Manager of International Bear Marketing. For SiSi, the variety of programming and exposure to different cultural and professional institutions are what drives her to stay committed to this wonderful program. She encourages young leaders:
“Don’t wait! YPN Leadership 100 is an incredible gateway and can only help you – both in your professional development as well as your civic involvement. I’ve formed strong relationship with other members that have allowed us to collaborate on different projects to help our community.”
To apply for this year’s cohort of the YPN Leadership 100, click here.
For more information about the Young Professionals Network, click here.