Ten young professionals were honored in September by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Grand River Connection at the 11th annual 10 Over the Next Ten Awards. The evening was spent celebrating the innovative and entrepreneurial leadership from Greater Lansing’s best and brightest young professionals. The award is given to those young professionals likely to make a significant impact in our community over the next 10 years.
As a recipient of the award in 2014, it was a great honor to be recognized as one of the young professionals that was active in the community. However, the title of this article speaks to what the award is truly about: It’s not what you did – it’s what you do now and in the future.
I heard the award referenced this way by Tom Ruis, a 2009 recipient, a few years ago when he was quoting the 2007 award winner, Aaron Matthews. At the time, I thought receiving the award was about everything I had done beforehand: my professional and personal accomplishments, community involvement and more. But Ruis’ words challenged the way I thought about the award, why I received it and how moving forward was my responsibility to live up to its prestige.
In both my professional and personal life, I keep in mind every day that what I’m doing now needs to continue as a good example of what the award means. All previous award recipients have a major responsibility to be bigger than the award and reach beyond a simple title. The award is about leading by example, being part of the positive transformation of our community and working together for a better tomorrow — all with integrity, honor and a sincere heart.
The ten individuals who received the 2017 award join the ranks of more than 100 young professionals before them; most importantly, they have been given the responsibility that comes with receiving the award and will all strive to continue as a positive force in the community.
My call to action is this: get involved in our community. For the Greater Lansing region to be stronger, it is incumbent upon not only these 10 Over the Next Ten alumni, but all our region’s young professionals to set an example and challenge others to do the same.
Lansing is stronger and better when we all work together — everybody wins.