I'll be honest, I was under the impression that as a 22 year old who was new to the Traverse City community, no one was really that interested in what I had to say.
For a few months, I kind of just kept my mouth shut (which, if you know me personally, you know is not an easy feat). I attended meetings, conferences, events and networking nights, but I tended to only speak when spoken to and stayed inside of my shell when it came to local issues or questions where I wasn't 100% sure I knew the answer.
In my mind, I was positive that not one of these local leaders or business professionals actually cared about the opinions of a young professional, especially one who did not have much (no, really...I hadn't even been out to the dunes at this point) experience with the area.
...then the Young Professionals asked me to write this blog. My first thought was What?! Who wants to hear about a girl who moved from Florida to Michigan and her adventures adjusting to snow and thoughts on Traverse City?"
Well, I've been writing this blog for a few months now. I've been planted in Traverse City for 10 months. I've attended countless meetings, networking nights, events and conferences. I can even give someone directions on how to get to the dunes. Most importantly, I now realize that Traverse City cares a lot about what the Young Professionals in the town have to say.
I speak up in meetings and find my opinion on local issues and how to find solutions is actually valued. Local leaders are are listening to what the Young Professionals in the area have to say because they are interested and want to hear from us, not because they're simply being polite.
The Young Professionals program is continually changing for the better, and 2013 is going to bring a lot of improvements and involvement opportunities. Why? Because the YP's of Traverse City have a lot to offer, and Traverse City's leaders are taking notice.
So, if I could go back to the beginning of this year and tell myself one thing, it would be to speak up. We're lucky to live in a place where the opinions of Young Professionals matter, even if they are from 22 year old Florida transfers.