Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby it's Cold Outside.

It's snowing.

It's snowing a lot.

A small part of my Florida-girl self dies inside with every single flake that falls from the sky, but for the most part, I feel a little bit more confident and independent with each flurry.

Why? To answer that, I will refer back to last "winter" know, the one where the lowest temperature was around 20 degrees (and that was what? Maybe once?). Where my idea of "a ton of snow" was around an inch or two, which would immediately melt the next day because the temperature would shoot back up to mid-forties. Well, to me that winter was intense. It was terrifying. I was freezing.

Not only that, but everyone laughed at me when I complained about the cold and told me that I was in for "a real shock" when I experienced my first winter...which is happening. Right now.

Winter is here and I am surviving. Heck, I'm doing better than surviving. I'm double-layering and getting use out of my multi-colored gloves and hats. My knee-length down coat is now a staple in my wardrobe. I give myself five extra minutes in the morning to brush snow off my car. Am I cold? Absolutely. Am I surviving and embracing these winter winds by strapping on my snow-boots and making my way outdoors? You bet I am.

So, this week's blog post is a reminder to embrace the "young" in young professional and engage in some outdoor winter activities. Rent some snowshoes and hike the dunes. Make a snowman or at least start a snowball fight -- this is prime packing snow right now (or so I've heard...I'm still not exactly a snow-expert). Take your kids/friends/significant other on a sledding date. Hit up the slopes and go snowboarding (they're open after have no excuse!).

If this Florida girl can make her way outdoors and come back unscathed(other than some extremely rosy cheeks. Who needs blush, right?), so can you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Help to Maintain those Resolutions with Lunch & Learn!

If you're like me, your New Year's resolution may have something to do with keeping healthy, staying fit, or just trying to get in the best shape ever (Sidenote: these have been my resolutions for the past five-ten years. However, my Birthday is January 5th, so hopes of strictly dieting are ruined every year by temptation via Birthday cake).

But! Fear not -- our first Traverse City Young Professionals Lunch & Learn can help you to keep up your healthy habits and get into the best shape of your life. Seriously.

On February 20th at the Country Club from 11:30am-1:00pm, we will be having our first Lunch & Learn of 2013. In addition to the wonderful (and well-rounded!) meal that will be offered, we will also have some excellent presenters to give you tips and tricks to staking in shape.  

Some of our presenters are as follows:

Sebastian from Formative Fitness will be speaking about baby steps to get moving or how to set a plan.
Yen Yoga and Fitness will also be in attendance speaking about yoga and general health.

So, keep those resolutions in tact and sign up join us on February 20th for some Lunching and Learning.

I intend on learning a few ways to step up my gym-game and eat a little healthier along the way (I even purchased frozen yogurt instead of ice cream in preparation...just one example of the baby steps that may possibly be discussed.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chamber Annual Dinner... and being a little more prepared this year.

As most of Traverse City's professionals know, the Chamber Annual Dinner is coming up on Friday, January 25th. This will be my second Chamber Annual Dinner, so I know a little bit more of what to expect.

If you were wondering, or even if you were not wondering -- I'm going to inform regardless so it doesn't really matter either way, last year's Chamber Annual Dinner was my first ever "Networking Event" of any sorts. It was also the first time I had to figure out how to wear a cocktail dress and heels without freezing in 20 degree temperatures (I succeeded thanks to a long, black peacoat). I was completely clueless as far as what to expect, nervous, and feeling very out of place. Thankfully I was attending with Allison Beers, who I'm still convinced knows everyone who lives in Traverse City.

Allison introduced me to some extremely influential and important individuals, helped me to learn the best and most appropriate ways of distributing my business card and making introductions and also how to properly balance being social and professional at once. She also let me know that I was absolutely not allowed to take a photo of my meal to upload on to Facebook (I was cringing as I type that. I clearly had a lot to learn). 

Well, with a year of experience under my belt, I really felt that I was going to head into the Chamber Annual Dinner completely prepared...and then they went and changed the entire format.

Instead of having groups sit at rounds of 10, there will be cocktail tables and a few tables and chairs. Instead of  a formal (but still delicious) dinner and presentation throughout, we are going to be offered a delicious assortment of food and a short 45 minute presentation.

Judy Harrison and the Swingshift Band will even be on site to provide entertainment and -- I'm sure -- a whole lot of dancing. 

I don't know about you, but I am excited. I think that this fresh take on the Chamber Annual Dinner is an excellent idea, even if I have to rework my entire game plan for the evening. 

This year, I'll make sure to pack my dancing shoes as well as plenty of business cards. Hope to see you there --oh, and make sure to stop by the Traverse City Young Professionals Pre-reception from 4:30-5:30pm in Aerie!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Young Professional's Reflection on a Year in Traverse City

So, I've been living in Traverse City for an entire year now -- my official anniversary was January 6th.

Last year this time, I was just settling in. I was learning the in and outs of snow driving. I did not really have anyone other than my boss and a few people I'd met here and there that I could consider a good friend. I was not even thinking about dating. Shoot, I wasn't even really thinking that I would end up living in Traverse City past my three month internship.

Well, this past year has brought on a whole lot of change. While some people tend to stay away from change, I embrace it. I say "Bring it on!"

I now have a respectable amount of people who I could call up on a moment's notice and ask if they'd like to get together for dinner or a weekend outing...including my boss. I can even recite the specials for local Traverse City restaurants on cue -- half-off sushi at Firefly, anyone? I'm in a relationship (it's going well, thank you for asking). My internship turned into a full-time job at Events North, so now thoughts of remaining in Traverse City linger every single day.

I'm ready to see what 2013 has in store for me and for the rest of Traverse City's Young Professional Community.

....although I still have not perfected the art of driving in the snow.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Guest Blogger: Warren Call

We're kicking off the New Year with a guest blog from our new Young Professionals Chair, Warren Call. We are so excited to have Warren representing the Young Professionals program and cannot wait for an amazing year! Take it away, Warren:

Warren and his wife

“From Rome to Eden.”  That’s the title of the novel my wife is currently writing.  The title refers to the move I put her through when we decided to get married.  Rome is where we met, I went to school and she lived for eight years (quite happily with no interest in moving to a small cold town in the States).  Eden refers to Eden Hill, a spot on the north shore of Crystal Lake (near Beulah) where I grew up.  And Yes, I did actually ask her to make that move for me.  Luckily for me, she was crazy enough to go for it.  Luckily for both of us, it was a great move to make – eventually buying a house in Traverse City, Beulah would have been too small for her…

Let’s backtrack… After high school I went to MSU, then moved to Utah to be a ski bum, then moved to Rome for grad school and worked a bit in NYC – basically any place more exciting than Northern Michigan.  I travelled the world, prepared for a big-city career and met an exotic woman.  Then something funny happened, when I thought about where I wanted to make a life for my family – I came back here.   

How often have you heard some version of this story and what does it say about this area? 

Obviously we are surrounded by natural beauty and we get the chance to enjoy it.  But the pace of life also allows me to walk my kids to school… and I know my neighbors.  There is small-town character and I feel involved in my community.  My family can enjoy world-class beaches, National Parks, and more year-round outdoor activities that I can count.  This mix of nature (Eden) and quality of life brought me back.

But that natural beauty also makes this area a vacation destination and that influx of diverse people provides us with far more cultural activities, art, festivals, and cuisine than our size would otherwise dictate.  It’s the unique amenities like Interlochen, The Film Festival, and our restaurants and wineries that keep my wife from getting bored. 

So we are very lucky to have an abundance of natural beauty, small-town charm, arts and culture – but good luck finding a job!  And if you a lucky enough to find one, remember a view of the bay is half your pay…

But does that have to be true?  With the changing knowledge-based economy and the advent of mobile technology, the business environment of Northern Michigan may be changing as well.  After all, if you could choose to work from anywhere, many people would choose to work from here.

There are huge benefits to creating a community of smart, young, ambitious, entrepreneurial people centered on Traverse City.  Many young people are choosing “Destination Careers” because where they live is just as important as what they do for a living.  There is a great opportunity to promote this area as a career destination, not just a vacation destination.  We can provide these talented people with the tools and mentoring to be successful here.  We can recruit young professionals here – or bring them back here – or keep them here (keep you here) in the first place. 

It’s with this concept in mind that I’m very excited to be the 2013 YP Committee Chair.  My focus will be to develop what I’m calling the Recruit and Retain Initiative. 

This plan fits with the Chamber’s ongoing program to attract, retain and grow young talent in Northern Michigan.  Last year the Chamber’s Careers Magazine, titled toward a young demographic, got off to a great start and has been very well received.  This year, look for the Chamber to produce a Traverse City Young Professionals promotional video highlighting the successful young professionals of this area and the benefits our area provides to young people. 

In conjunction with the Chamber’s efforts, the Committee’s work regarding the 2013 Recruit and Retain Initiative will focus on three areas:

First, we can leverage our networks to create a team of local people that connect young professionals in our area with young people that are considering making a move to Northern Michigan.

Secondly, we can serve as a conduit linking student and alumni groups from across the Midwest with our business community to highlight the benefits of starting a career in Northern Michigan.

Third and perhaps most importantly for those of us who already live here, we can foster the professional development and career growth of our existing young professionals and our new recruits through the Chamber’s mentorship program. 

I’m really excited about where the Traverse City Young Professionals Program is headed in 2013.  It’s going to be a great year and I hope you will be involved.  I believe we can highlight the attractiveness of this area for “Destination Careers” and build a thriving economy to match our natural Eden.