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My Incredible Experience as a YP on the DMDC Trip

YPC DMDC

May 31, 2018

Over the course of three days in the beginning of May, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to represent the Young Professionals Connection (YPC) on the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s 39th annual DMDC trip. As I boarded the chartered plane in the early hours of May 9, my stomach filled with butterflies. I was excited that this trip would allow me to connect with some of Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) most influential business and community leaders and to see and explore our nation’s capital through a DSM lens.

Action packed three days

On the first day we arrived, we had the unique experience of attending an executive administration briefing where our group heard from different members of President Trump’s staff on issues that pertained closely to Iowa — mainly trade and agriculture. Did I mention that this briefing was on the same grounds as the White House? What an experience! 

YP on DMDC tripAfter the administration briefing, I joined 400 or so others who headed to the Iowa Congressional Reception on the rooftop of the Hall of States Building. It was an opportunity to interact with everyone on the trip as well as our leaders in Washington.

Of the numerous things I learned on this trip, I would say one of my favorite aspects was hearing about work being done on water quality and water trails here in DSM. I met many of the individuals working on this initiative at the reception and I can’t wait to see how the region advances by activating our waterways! You can see by the picture below how this place got its name!

YP on DMDC tripAfter the reception, I was fortunate enough to attend dinner with the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce at The Georgetown Club, which is known for its historic ties to Washington, D.C. I was welcomed with open arms and was able to hear from experienced trip attendees about the great connections that they’ve made over the years from the DMDC trip. I truly believe that many of these people will continue to be mentors and leaders to me following DMDC.

DMDC on Capitol HillThe next day started with (arguably) my favorite portion of the trip. We made our way to the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill where our Iowa representatives were there to speak to us on matters that pertain to the region and The Partnership’s federal agenda. The speeches ranged on a variety of topics including trade and taxes. One of my favorite parts was when we witnessed Sen. Joni Ernst award the City of Altoona for its sesquicentennial, which has been entered into the Congressional Record.

Networking on DMDC tripBreakfast also provided me with an opportunity to meet Dan Houston, Chairman, President and CEO of Principal (my employer). He currently serves as The Partnership’s Board Chair and spoke at several of our sessions. His leadership of the large group was inspiring and energizing. After an introduction at breakfast, I was able to connect with Dan and other Principal employees for a photo. One of my favorite moments!

After an interesting presentation on big data and transportation, we made our way to a private tour of the United States Capitol. It was fascinating to learn about all the different elements that make up the building especially the Iowa touches located throughout! This tour led right into a fantastic dinner at The Hamilton, where trip participants showed their talents and networking continued.

On the last day of the trip, my morning began with a conversation with trip-goers and senior staffers for our Iowa delegation on higher education loans as well as the importance of focus on K-12. It was captivating conversation and I have a lot to learn in this space! Our final speaker for the trip was Jeff Zeleny, who is the CNN Senior White House Correspondent. He offered incredible firsthand insight of the ins and outs of covering President Obama and President Trump. I, along with nearly 200 other attendees, then headed to the airport and boarded the plane back to DSM. It was then that I got a chance to truly reflect on my DMDC experience.

Reflections on an incredible trip

First, the connections made on this trip are beyond what I could have expected. These are business and community leaders that give their time and efforts to ensure that DSM has a seat at the federal table. They are also open and want to hear from young professionals in this community and I hope to continue to work with many of them over the next coming days, weeks and years.

Secondly, my takeaway advice to young professionals is say hello, shake hands and don’t be afraid to tell your story. There are so many DSM business and community leaders — I would argue, all of them — that want to hear our perspective and ideas. We also have so much to learn from them. We can all benefit from connecting with each other, which is something this trip allowed, and it starts with a simple email or phone call.

I am so thankful for The Partnership for planning and executing this trip and to YPC for giving me this opportunity. I hope to see all of you at YPC’s upcoming events and I look forward to continuing to tell my #DMDC2018 story!

Young Professionals Connection (YPC) aims to attract and retain young professionals in Greater Des Moines (DSM) by connecting emerging leaders to each other and to the community through social, civic, charitable and professional development endeavors. Learn how you can get involved.