Our HYP Board President Rebecca attended the first Montana Young Professionals Summit. She provides her perspectives in a guest blog post below!
In August, I attended the first annual networking summit organized specifically for Montana young professionals. I admit that I wasn’t very excited about a weekend of small talk with people I didn’t know. Part of my ambivalence had to do with the fact that I hate small talk; part of it stemmed from the fact that August weekends are precious; part of it was because I love Helena, have a job, and have a fantastic group of friends. Why should I travel to Great Falls to hang out with new people when I could stay home and do what I would normally do on a summer weekend with people I know I like?
After thinking about the summit for a while, I realized that, while the wise words from Governor Bullock and the panelists and presenters were valuable, what I most appreciated were the people. Around 100 young professionals from across Montana attended the summit. I was lucky enough to meet many of them over the course of the weekend and I hope to stay connected to this network of engaged Montanans in the years to come. Stepping out of my day-to-day routine to network with a bunch of strangers was uncomfortable, but it brought with it new perspectives that expand my way of thinking. The summit facilitated such networking by providing plenty of down time, thought-provoking presentations, and a group of people who were all interested in meeting other young professionals around the state.
I’ve lived in Helena for the last eight years and I think the longer you live here, the more comfortable it gets. It’s a really great little city. Without even realizing it, though, we all fall into our routines. I always think of a Thoreau quote that says, “It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves.” It’s not at all that the beaten track is bad. To me, it’s a reminder that routines can become deeply etched into who we are, making it harder and harder to step out of that beaten track to experience something different. Think of all the people, experiences, ideas, and perspectives that you simply don’t cross paths with in your daily routine!
Being involved in Helena Young Professionals, and being open to the networking that is a big part of the group, has opened my eyes to parts of Helena I wouldn’t have experienced if I let myself continue along in my comfortable little bubble. It hasn’t necessarily been the professional development or the great deals on our benefits card that made the difference. It’s the people, and you totally get it: Earlier this year, when we (HYP board) asked you (HYP members) why you joined HYP, 60% said you wanted to network and meet new people. That’s fantastic! Our mission is to bring you together through our events to help make that happen.
HYP has monthly networking lunches and evening events at which I am still meeting new people, even after many years of living in Helena. Come join us. Let us know how we can do better to help you meet people. If you feel like you want to step out further from your routine and meet people outside of the Helena community, think about attending the Montana Young Professionals Networking Summit next year in Billings. Then help bring the event home to Helena for its third iteration.
I can’t wait to see you at a HYP event in the future!
- Rebecca, HYP Board President