Meet the YPN Leadership 100: Matthew Nelson

Matthew Nelson with County Executive Dooley, former RBC Member Mark Burkhart and RBC Member Tony Thompson.

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 shape a stronger St. Louis?

Today’s featured YPN Leadership 100 member is Matthew Nelson, IT security analyst at Express Scripts Inc.

 Learn more about Matthew in our Q&A below!

  1. You wear many hats. How would you introduce yourself to a new YPN member?

I like to keep introductions pretty simple. To a new YPN member, after I welcome them, I would say that I’m in IT and I’m involved with a few community organizations. I am more interested in getting to know a new fellow member than talking about myself.

  1. What do you enjoy about belonging to the YPN? 

Kathy Osborn, Steven Harris, and the YPN steering committee have done a fantastic job providing not only premier networking opportunities at unique venues, but also development opportunities that are critical for career growth.

  1. Describe a favorite project that you’re currently working on. 

I have recently taken on a new role in Digital Forensics and Incident Response at Express Scripts.  I am really enjoying learning the methodologies for incident response as well as techniques that hackers use to harm organizations and steal data.  It’s extremely technical and I’m spending a lot of my time getting up to speed.

  1. Why should someone base their business in St. Louis? 

While I’m not a business owner, I do recognize that St. Louis is a great town to live in.  I’ve visited bigger cities and prefer the wide-open feel of St. Louis, as opposed to the congested nature of other cities. St. Louis has great food and many options for entertainment.

  1. What are your first three stops when an out-of-town friend visits? 

The Saint Louis Zoo and Grant’s Farm are fabulous to visit during the day. The Delmar loop is my all-time favorite for people watching and hanging out at night.

  1. What’s one St. Louis tradition that everyone must experience? 

Everyone should take a trip to the top of the Arch at least once.

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The Importance of Professional Development

TK.Facenhe RBC launched the Young Professionals Network to attract and retain young, ethnically diverse talent to the region and to give future leaders unique opportunities for networking, professional development, and community involvement.

With that mission in mind YPN Leadership 100 member Kelly Facen, shared her views about the importance of professional development. Kelly is the Marketing Coordinator for Kwame Building Group, Inc. and she understands the significance of professional development throughout one’s career.

  1. In your opinion, why is it important to seek professional development opportunities?

Professional development opportunities encourage career growth and networking. Without professional development opportunities, one can become complacent and miss a multitude of wide open doors.

  1. How do networking events aid in career development of young professionals?

Networking is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization. Networking events can help you meet the right people at the right time. You never know if that “right person” will come around to help advance to the next chapter of your career.

  1. Outside of networking events, what additional professional development opportunities are available for YPNs?

There are many opportunities to serve as a mentor to younger individuals, specifically  students at regional universities, who seek guidance from someone other than their peers and parents. There are also community involvement opportunities, such as serving on non-profit boards, which can expand your network of beneficial relationships.

  1. We live in a world where social media is constantly changing. Would you suggest using social media to network and find professional development opportunities in the community?

Social media is another form of marketing and networking, but it certainly doesn’t replace in-person communication. Although the millennial generation has been raised on technology, not everyone has become accustomed to the evolving world of social media. I see the benefits of social media, but there is nothing like a firm handshake and face-to-face conversation to start a relationship and spark opportunities.

  1. Do you have anything more you would like to share?

Networking is very important; without it, you could miss valuable opportunities.  I am 100% positive that neither Kwame Building Group, Inc. nor I would be where we are today without networking. “It’s not what you know, but who you know” has proven itself to be a true statement.

Good News Tuesday

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

This month, we congratulate these members of the RBC/YPN community:

New Jobs

  • Todd Stadnik, Compliance Consultant, Wells Fargo Advisors
  • Eydi Cavalieri Arriojas, Human Resources Coordinator, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
  • Tasha Turner, Senior Analytical Chemist, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

We’re proud of how hard our YPN members work to make St. Louis a better place to thrive. Join us in offering best wishes to this month’s YPN members.

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

Music, Art, and Culture in St. Louis

Recently, young professionals attended a YPN exclusive event at the newly opened KDHX Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media building in Grand Center. YPNs enjoyed an evening of conversation with RBC members Michael Staenberg and John Ferring that centered around philanthropy in our region. Read more on Staenberg and Ferring’s philanthropic achievements here.

KDHX_flyer_4x6 - buildingYPNs were excited for the unique opportunity to visit one of the most high-tech performance venues in the region. Located at 3524 Washington Avenue in Grand Center, the KDHX Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media is an arts destination with a café and music venue for the entire community to enjoy. Audiences can enjoy concerts, film series, and thought-provoking sessions on music and art. Down the street, the Folk School of KDHX offers music classes, workshops and more.

In an increasingly commercial world, KDHX is a non-profit arts organization celebrating over 25 years of independent music, art and culture in St. Louis. The Folk School, The Stage, the Magnolia Café, KDHX.org, and 88.1 FM all work together to form a flourishing arts destination committed to building community through media.

We had the opportunity to speak with KDHX staff member Kelly Wells, to discuss music, art, and culture in St. Louis.

  1. Celebrating over 25 years of independent music, art, and culture is impressive. Can you tell us about the history of KDHX?

 What KDHX does is pretty rare. Back in 1987, some hippies, societal outcasts and aggressively insubordinate troublemakers all came together with an insane idea: “Why don’t we do radio the way it’s supposed to be done: with real DJs playing music you’ll never hear anywhere else. And why don’t we do it without any commercials.” We’ve carried on that spirit while getting better each year at what we now do best: delivering quality, independent arts and music programming that competes on the national stage.

 Because of this hard work from volunteers and grassroots listener support, KDHX is now a St. Louis institution — promoting music, art, talent, and big ideas from the little guys.

  1. As a non-profit organization, you work with a diverse group of professional staff and volunteers. Why is diversity important to the organization?

Diversity is at the very heart of KDHX.  Our mission of building community through media creates a foundation of outreach and inclusiveness.  We like to say that “KDHX is for you” meaning that we’ve got something for everyone and that’s very important to us. Diversity is something we strive for, talk about, and keep at the forefront of our plans and vision. KDHX has always been the sum of its parts and it takes all the parts to keep KDHX strong: listeners, supporters, volunteers, and staff all function as part of the whole creating a community that is rare and unique.

3. Volunteers play a vital role in the continuation and success of KDHX. How can YPN members get involved?

Volunteers do play a crucial role at KDHX.  With only 14 staff members, volunteers make things happen that we could never accomplish on our own.  Volunteers do everything from programming on air content (all our DJs are volunteers), to helping at events, stuffing envelopes, answering phones during our donor drives, producing live video, concert reviews, concert photo reviews, and more.  Our newest volunteer role is our digital street team.  We’re gathering a group of committed volunteers to share upcoming events, news, photos, and video on social media to get the word out about everything KDHX has to offer.

Whatever a person’s interests and availability are, we strive to find a volunteer opportunity that is interesting and fulfilling. We are always excited to welcome new volunteers, so anyone interested can email our volunteer coordinator, Scott Bahan at volunteer@kdhx.org for more information.

4. Please share some upcoming events from the jam-packed KDHX events calendar.

  • Tuesdays at KDHX: Each Tuesday night of the month, KDHX hosts free events at The Stage. First Tuesdays feature a musical narrative film. Second Tuesdays feature 40s & 45s – bring your vinyl, enjoy local beer releases, and listen to a playlist curated by a KDHX DJ created from your vinyl. Third Tuesdays feature a musical documentary film. Fourth Tuesdays feature Sessions: an interactive educational event including panels, multi-media presentations, and live music.
  • Harvest Sessions: Weekly live music hosted by KDHX at the Tower Grove Farmers Market.  Upcoming this Saturday: Greg Silsby
  • Friday, June 13, 7:30pm: “Nothing Can Hurt Me,” an evening with the music of Big Star, featuring Jody Stephens of Big Star; a screening of “Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Music of Big Star”; and a live musical performance by members of Magnolia Summer and The Feed.
  • Thursday, July 31: Concert at The Stage: Bradford Lee Folk & the Bluegrass Playboys
  • Wednesday, August 6: Concert at The Stage: Mandolin Orange

 For more information about any of our events, visit KDHX.org/Events.

  1. Can you explain more about the exciting new app that allows listeners to stream 88.1?  

88.1 KDHX is on the air 24 hours a day with unique and diverse programming.  You can stream KDHX on your computer at KDHX.org, but you can also listen in on your smartphone. There are a couple of different radio apps that facilitate listening, but we especially use TuneIn.  TuneIn’s free app allows you to stream KDHX anytime – just choose KDHX as a “favorite” and take KDHX with you everywhere you go!

  1. Do you have anything more you would like to share?

KDHX is a thoughtful, progressive, and visionary institution.  We are always striving to be even better than we’ve been before. We’re committed to creating a community like no other and being on the cutting edge of technology and media. There’s something very special here that can’t be denied.  KDHX is magic!

Philanthropy in Local Arts and Culture

Recently, 50 young professionals attended a YPN-exclusive event at the newly opened KDHX  Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media building in Grand Center. Two of the most generous philanthropists in the region, RBC members Michael Staenberg and John Ferring, discussed philanthropy in local arts and culture.

Both Staenberg and Ferring responded to questions about their philanthropic giving and discussed how they have prioritized giving back since they were young.  Staenberg cited a mentor who took an interest in him during high school and encouraged him to begin on the path to success. Ferring originally moved to Lafayette Square when the neighborhood was experiencing a renewal; in a new community that needed support, service was an obvious choice for John and his wife.

 Michael Staenberg communicated his pride in his investment in the Jewish Community Center which he also helped design and build. The Jewish Community Center is a resource provided to the entire community and serves thousands of local residents each year. He’s also proud of the RBC’s It’s Our Region Fund and the thousands of people impacted by the Small Change Big Impact grant program. 

 John Ferring is pleased with his involvement in the fundraising efforts for the renovation of the Central Library building. His favorite spot in the building is the Fine Arts Room with its beautiful ceiling, and he encourages young professionals to visit. In October, Ferring looks forward to leading the fundraising efforts for the renovation and reopening of Jazz at the Bistro.

 Both men advocated for young professionals to find an organization they can put “sweat equity” into, in order to make a difference now.

 The Regional Business Council understands that corporate involvement and investment are critical to improving the region’s health, prosperity and general quality of life. For member participation, the RBC supports several key regional institutions including Forest Park, the Zoo-Museum District, the United Way of Greater St. Louis, Forest Park Forever, the Saint Louis Art Museum., Missouri Botanical Garden, the Missouri Historical Society, the Saint Louis Science Center, and the Saint Louis Zoo. The RBC’s signature entrepreneurial program, Social Venture Partners, focuses on building capacity for select area nonprofits by providing funds and hands-on expertise. The It’s Our Region Fund invests in high-impact capital projects in the St. Louis region.

Developing a Diverse and Talented Professional Workforce

Through the Mentor Network program, the RBC connects over 145 business and engineering students with RBC executives each academic year. The Mentor Network program pairs students from universities in the region with executives who share career experiences, practical knowledge and insight into opportunities in our Louis region.

 We had the opportunity to sit down with Alexandria McCuien, who has participated as a mentee in the Mentor Network program.

  •  How did you learn about Mentor Network program?

I learned about the program from our Director of Operations of the Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, Caprice Moore, at Webster University during my sophomore year of undergrad. Caprice felt I would be a good match for the program and encouraged me to apply.

  •  Did the Mentor Network program provide you with impactful insight into the St. Louis business community?

Yes, it did. The Mentor Network program allowed me to see how large the St. Louis business community really is and has helped shape me into the professional I’ve become.

  • Can you share an important piece of advice from your mentor?

One of my mentors encouraged me to continue to be myself, work hard no matter what, and give back to my community. He said everything else will come together if I remember those three things.

  • What piece of advice would you provide to upcoming or recent graduates?

I would tell upcoming and recent graduates the three pieces of advice my mentor gave me (see above). Also, networking and branding are very important.

  •  Why would you suggest others partake in the Mentor Network program?

I met individuals who assisted in the development of my professional network, my professional support system and individuals who offered professional guidance.The Mentor Network program is a great opportunity that students should definitely partake in.

Join St. Louis Area Professionals to Help Fight Local Hunger

T.C SlaterThe St. Louis Area Foodbank is hosting Friends of the Foodbank, a Networking Happy Hour, on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 from 5:00-8:30 p.m.

We had the opportunity to discuss Friends of the Foodbank with YPN member T.C. Slater and learn about his involvement with the organization.

  • What is Friends of the Foodbank?

Friends of the Foodbank is an organization that provides a great way to volunteer your time in small increments to a very worthy cause – hunger relief.  This group partners with the St. Louis Area Foodbank staff to help distribute hunger awareness information at fun events, including networking gatherings, concerts and happy hours.

  • How do the Friends of the Foodbank assist local families?

Hunger can be addressed. We can make a difference. The organization helps spread the word locally, encouraging individuals to become more involved in the cause. Each “Friend” brings something different to the table. Engaging them in the conversation raises awareness which is the critical first step. Many of the “Friends” events have a small fundraising element.  One simple factoid to remember: The St. Louis Area Foodbank can provide four meals for a local family with each dollar donated.

  • What is a surprising fact that local residents don’t realize about the St. Louis Foodbank?

When you say “St. Louis Area Foodbank,” people might visualize a small food pantry or soup kitchen.  Residents don’t always understand the size of the organization and the volume of food distributed. We try to schedule events at the Foodbank, whenever possible, to provide an opportunity to see just how massive the issue of hunger is in our community and what we are doing to address it. The Foodbank distributes food and personal care items to more than 500 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other nonprofit programs in 26 area counties (14 in Missouri and 12 in Illinois). Last year alone, the Foodbank distributed 35 million pounds of food.

  • How can YPN members get involved?

We’d love to see everyone at our first networking happy hour and encourage YPN members to sign up for the Friends of the Foodbank email list. This will keep you up to date on events and ways to raise awareness in our community.  http://www.stlfoodbank.org/friends

  • Do you have anything more you would like to share with YPN members?

Each week, more than 57,000 people count on the Foodbank for assistance. Kids make up the largest percentage of those in need (nearly 40 percent).  With the school year coming to an end, many children who were receiving free or reduced breakfast/lunch options will have to find those meals elsewhere or simply go without. This is a great time to become involved with Friends of the Foodbank!

Click here for more information or to register for tonight’s event