Serving on the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Council is not a singular experience. If you have yet to apply, read these stories from third- and first-year council members Zach Klebba and Lynn Schneider.
Leo A Daly
Third-Year Council Member & Communications Chair
I know I’m not the smartest, the most informed, or the most capable person in any room, but I know I love my city. I know I want to celebrate all of the remarkable things happening here at home, and I know I can’t turn a blind eye to where we’re coasting in our own backyard. Over the last few years I have come to learn that the GOYP Council is the perfect platform for discovering how to do just that.
It’s hard to believe I’ll be wrapping up my third and final year of service on the council this December. It seems like yesterday I was filling out my application and anxiously preparing for the interview for which, I’ll admit, I was pretty nervous. But the same thing that motivated me to apply back in 2014 is the same thing that motivates me to finish my term with more zeal than ever, and that’s the mission of the council: “…to attract and retain young professionals to Greater Omaha through engagement, opportunity, and advocacy.”
I received the following valuable advice from an outgoing council member upon beginning my term, and I realize now the impact it has had on my overall experience: “Use every opportunity to get involved, and for the next three years be a YES man.” From day one I capitalized on every chance I could to dive in and get my hands dirty: the Communications Committee, the YP Summit planning team, the Orientation Committee, the Executive Committee; all of these time-consuming yet worthwhile experiences not only yielded relationships I’ll cherish for the rest of my life, but they opened my eyes to areas in which Omaha needs improvement.
To anyone reading this and thinking about applying for the council, do it. To anyone who thinks they’re not ready or they don’t know enough about Omaha, I’d say: you’re never going to feel prepared, and you’re never going to know everything, so there is no time like the present to get involved. Whether or not you love this city, if you have a desire to improve the quality of the Big O, then apply for a position on the council.
Lastly, if it pains you to hear about the “brain drain” and how droves of our peers are getting educated in Greater Omaha then leaving for outside opportunities, do yourself and the city a favor, be a YES person, and apply for the GOYP Council.
First-Year Council Member
I believe that one of the most important actions you can take as a young professional is to step outside of your cubicle and expand your experience by getting involved in professional organizations. Like next-level involvement! As designer, I had many great groups to pick from — AIGA, AAF, PRSA, AMA Omaha and then some. I was already a member of many of these and attended a number of their functions. However, when it came to a “next-level” commitment, I was waiting for a more unique opportunity to expand my network beyond the creative field and into the community. Enter the 2016 YP Summit. There, I learned about the opportunity to apply for the Greater Omaha Young Professional Council. I liked that I could volunteer my time while also reaching across professional fields and the Greater Omaha region.
I applied, was accepted on the council, and quickly jumped into the thick of it by also volunteering on the YP Summit Planning Committee. Did you know you can serve on the summit committee without being on the council? Neither did I. But I was motivated, and rather than let that momentum expire, I dove in the deep end as the Summit’s Marketing Co-Chair. This decision paved the way for the Council’s Communications Chair, Zach Klebba, to recruit me for his committee. And so I had found multiple opportunities to contribute before I had even completed orientation.
My first year of serving on the Council has been a challenge with the level of involvement I had committed myself to, but I have gained significant rewards already. Besides having an ear to the ground on new Chamber and city developments, and becoming the “go-to-gal” on all things YP at work, I have made wonderful connections and developed relationships with professionals from industries far different from my own. And since my company, Emspace, specializes in communications for community initiatives and nonprofits, I’ve already utilized this new network on several occasions.
My advice to a new council member would be to think long-term. Set goals for yourself, but handle obstacles individually as they come. It’s three years, that’s a lot of time to make an impact. One of the tasks that our Communications Chair asked of me for the Communications Committee was generating more social media on the GOYP Facebook page. It was one of his goals when he began on the council and now he needed more help to make it happen.
I’ve set out to help develop and plan dynamic content that eventually will drive social media. It seems simple, but it’s been a challenge. The great news is that our committee’s goals have become my goals, and so Zach’s impact transcends his three-year commitment to the council. This is how change happens. Gather a few motivated individuals to collaborate, challenge each other, engage new people and eventually, affect change.
Don’t you want to be a part of that?
I am excited to see how our contribution will affect change in Omaha and among its talented, young professionals two years from now… ten years from now… 30 years from now. Because I plan to still be here to celebrate in our success.