Leadership Connection 2014 Recap: 2nd Annual Gathering of YPO Leaders

Leadership Connection 2014 Recap: 2nd Annual Gathering of YPO Leaders

Guest post from Nicole Beckley (Emerge 2013). Nicole is Marketing Director for Merlot Skin Care and a freelance writer for TRIBEZA.

What are the biggest challenges facing Young Professional Organizations in Austin? How do an organization’s goals get set? What specific skills do organization leaders need? Will future young leaders even know who the Red Hot Chili Peppers are?

These were some of the big questions raised at Leadership Austin’s 2nd Annual Leadership Connection event at LifeWorks on Tuesday, June 24.

Bringing together more than 20 different young professional organizations (YPOs), the event offered a unique opportunity for organization leaders to discuss overarching community issues, share organization success strategies, and talk about bridge-building (and “Under The Bridge”-building) for future leaders.


While the attendees represented organizations working in different areas in the Austin community—from the arts, to entrepreneurship, to non-profits—they admitted to facing similar challenges in organizing and engaging members and reaching into the larger community.

With conversations deftly guided by David Courreges (Emerge 2007, Essential 2014), John King (Emerge 2011), and Lemuel Williams (Emerge 2012), attendees discussed how their different YPOs can work on honing leadership skills, cultivating relationships, and addressing Austin’s growth.

Some of their tips for organizational success:

  • Targeting recent graduates and new Austin transplants to join YPOs
  • Offering programming that balances philanthropic events with social events
  • Communicating clearly and effectively with organization members
  • Finding tangible ways to show how larger issues (transportation, education, etc.) affect people’s daily lives
  • Clarifying the organization’s mission


The evening offered a chance for organization leaders, who might not otherwise meet, to get to share best practices and collaboration opportunities.

It also marked the kick-off to recruitment season for Leadership Austin’s Emerge program, which aims to bring together developing leaders who represent a diverse array of industries and community interests.

Thanks to Zilker Brewing Company, LifeWorks, and the Leadership Austin team for making the event possible. And special thanks to all of the YPOs in attendance:

American Society of Civil Engineers Younger Member Forum
Austin Black Lawyers Association
Austin Area Urban League Young Professionals
Austin Emerging Arts Leaders
Austin Symphony BATS
Austin Young Chamber
Austin Young Lawyers Association
Habitat Young Professionals
Inherit Austin
LEAP for LifeWorks
The Creative Fund
The Long Center
The University of Texas at Austin
Young Leaders Society
Young Men’s Business League
Young Nonprofit Professionals Network
Young Professionals in Transportation – Austin Chapter
Young Women’s Alliance