Last night at the Young Professionals Network Reception, Missouri was awarded the State Network of the Year. I have had the pleasure of working with the State Advisory Board for nearly three years now. So what does it take to win such a prestigious award?
As Missouri YPN’s name and reputation has grown, the Advisory Board identified a need for a new logo to better represent the group and its values. In May 2015, Missouri YPN adopted a new logo and rebranded its website. They helped share their new look by providing temporary tattoos of the new logo at a State Business Conference with over 350 members in attendance.
Any good YPN is also known as the social club. We hosted some great events last year, all of which resulted in new YPN members and new RPAC investors. Our most unique and most successful event was definitely our Zip and Sip event. In addition to food and networking, attendees had the opportunity to “zip” line and “sip” on some adult beverages. The only cost to participate was a $15 RPAC investment. The Zip and Sip created much awareness about what YPN is about and our core values. It communicated the importance of investing in RPAC—at any age. We had over 30 first-time investors and raised over $500 for RPAC.
Coordinating charitable events across the State is core to Missouri YPN. From January to April, Missouri YPN hosted a key drive called, Keys to the Heart, to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Members were asked to collect old keys. Broker offices and Local Board offices across the state gathered keys and brought them to the state’s April Business Conference. The turnout was unbelievable. Thousands of keys were collected. These keys were turned into scrap metal and the proceeds benefited Ronald McDonald charities across the State.
And now for the game changer. This one effort has completely changed our State Association from the inside-out. In 2014, the Missouri YPN started a formal scholarship program for new agents wishing to attend a Missouri REALTORS® business conference for the first time. This program had been a dream of the Advisory Board. As the “new kids on the block” they knew what it was like to attend a State meeting not knowing anyone or how to navigate the meetings.
Here is how it works:
Each scholarship recipient receives a paid shared hotel room (with another first-time attendee) and is assigned a mentor from the Missouri YPN Advisory Board to help them network, meet people and navigate the three-day conference. There were five applicants in April 2014. At the next business conference in September, we had more applicants than scholarships available and had to turn people away. New agents were attending State meetings for the first time and getting connected to YPN. The success of the program caught on and other Specialty Groups wanted to be a part of it. In April of 2015 we were able to double our numbers and offer 12 scholarships. We also added a welcome reception for all first time attendees. Nearly 100% of the scholarship participants joined YPN and two of the scholarship recipients are now Missouri YPN Advisory Board Members. The program has become so successful that the Missouri REALTORS® Advocacy Committee has become a partner and we are able to offer 24 scholarships in September 2015. In addition to offering the scholarship program, the YPN Advisory Board members personally call all first time attendees to all state meetings and introduce themselves and invite them to come to our meeting and sponsored events.
Not only do we have more YPN members than ever before and a more engaged group, this energy has spilled over into the rest of the Association. Almost every scholarship recipient attend subsequent State meetings and several of them have gone on to serve in leadership positions at the Local and State level. Our meetings and our committees are noticeably different and our experienced members enjoy the opportunity to mentor and give back to the next generation.
This is powerful stuff and one of the most rewarding parts of my role at Missouri REALTORS®. Kudos to all the YPNer’s in Missouri—2015 State Network of the Year!
Find out more about this program here.