Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce tossed out the idea of Helping Young Professionals Emerge with an introductory meeting last spring. Chamber leaders designed HYPE to cultivate, inform and connect aspiring community leaders and hoped to attract a few people in the 21-to-40-year-old bracket.
More than 70 people showed up. Who knew!
Everyone was surprised, chamber President Patty Brown said. Even the attendees hadn’t realized there were so many of them.
Twenty-five of those young professionals are participating in the initial HYPE Leadership Training. Starting last week, they are meeting once a month with Kim Wiemer, Red Wing Shoe Co.’s “Shoe U” manager, with the intention of finding their individual strengths, becoming aware of who they are (and aren’t) as leaders and learning how to round out and balance a team. They will conclude by sharing their “personal brands” or values and talk about potential everyday applications.
The training is based on the “Strengthfinder 2.0.” Along with Shoe, Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical is a major supporter through providing most of the materials. Red Wing Ignite is providing meeting space — a nice plus, given the role broadband technology is expected to play in the future.
We also consider the two dozen employers of the HYPE trainees to be major sponsors. They committed to freeing up these professionals during the work day with the goal of making them community leaders.
Ideally, the emerging leaders in turn will help grow the local economy through business and civic involvement.
HYPE could prove to be a key, positive investment the Red Wing’s future — a year from now or 10, 20 and 30 years down the road.