My wife, Laurie, and I recently were privileged to host 30 young professionals to begin the conversation about developing a young professionals’ network in Victoria. We had engineers from area plants; faculty and staff from UHV, Victoria College and Victoria Independent School District; lawyers; accountants; entrepreneurs; and nonprofit directors.
It was a strong representation of the people who are the lifeblood of Victoria’s future. These people have made a deliberate choice to come here and create a life for themselves. That’s exciting to be around because it will have a tremendous impact on all of us.
I explained to the group that the university is committed to being a catalyst in getting the young professionals’ network up and running. As I have said before, my mission as UHV’s president is to make UHV a destination university. In my view, part of making UHV a destination involves making Victoria a destination. And part of making Victoria a destination means ensuring there is a healthy and nurturing environment for young professionals so that when they come here, they will decide to stay. That led me to invite this exceptional group of professionals to begin the conversation about what is needed and where we go from here.
In terms of what is needed, the group mentioned a number of things that will really help young professionals as well as everybody else. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, there were a number of things mentioned in this group that have been expressed in other conversations we are having with the community.
Among those issues was mention of a reliable and more comprehensive calendar with accurate information about what is happening in Victoria and the region. Gathering spaces, particularly a dog park, were seen as a real need. Making the city a place where people can both walk and bike is seen as a plus by those who want to maintain their fitness.
Gatherings to allow young professionals to meet and network with other young professionals are highly desirable. This was especially evident when, during the course of a lively conversation, there were several comments along the lines of “I don’t know any of these people!” and “Where have you people been since I came here?”
In terms of what to do next, it was the clear preference of the group to move forward to build this network. The group has chosen the third Tuesday of the month as the regular meeting time for those interested in connecting with this effort. That means the group will next meet July 16. We will find a spot where the group can gather, fellowship together and then talk business. If you have an interest in connecting with the group, the best way to do so in the near future is to send me an email at email@example.com.
We hope to put together a website or Facebook page soon to allow folks to find us. Keep an eye on my blog for more to come.