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YPC and Life After College

YPC Life After College

May 29, 2019

While one of the roles of going to school is to prepare students for adulthood, there is still a certain shock that comes with the challenges of navigating life out of college. However, Greater Des Moines (DSM) has a unique advantage in softening the blow of post-graduate life by offering the vast resources and opportunities of a big city while maintaining a small-town feel. This speaks to the success young professionals can achieve in their professional and social lives through their ease of access to enact positive change through personal development and contributions to their employers and the community at large.

Discovering Diversity in DSM

At a glance, DSM’s job market boasts market-leading employers, each with immense diversity in the experience and competencies they seek out. While Des Moines is not the only city possessing these features, it stands out from the pack by fostering a professional culture that values inclusion and collaboration. I have seen this firsthand through the firm I work for, Principal Financial Group. They place a great deal of value on equipping young professionals with the tools for success through professional and networking events that serve as a forum for new employees to learn the secrets of the trade from long-time members of the firm. A memorable event that exemplified these efforts was a joint effort between the Young Professional Connection (YPC) and Principal to host a Lunch n’ Learn at Principal where CEO Dan Houston, gave a presentation on his background, experience at the firm and lessons learned over the years. The Q&A and open dialogue between Houston and the audience spoke to the down-to-earth nature of the CEO and how Principal and DSM are unique in their ability to facilitate collaboration between recent graduates and long-time employees. Without a doubt, my experience at Principal is an embodiment of the professional culture of the region, where the selfless and team-oriented attitudes of long-time professionals are used to build an inclusive environment that leverages the size and scope of the city’s industries to allow change-driven and relationship-focused young professionals to excel in their careers. 

The DSM Advantage

Additionally, efforts to bolster an environment that encourages success among young professionals extends far beyond the walls of DSM’s workspaces. Organizations like YPC use innovative means to create events that take full advantage of the city’s vibrant social scene. One of my favorite YPC offerings from this past year was Sips, Samples and Sights, one of many YPC signature events. This architectural walking tour around the Historic East Village offered samples of food and drink, along with compelling facts and anecdotes about the history and industry that has molded this trendy community. The transformation of the Historic East Village from an industrial corridor to a booming collection of businesses, stores and residences is a fantastic selling point YPC utilizes to capture the dramatic transformation the city has undergone to become a bustling locale where high-caliber industry meets an eclectic offering of social and cultural attractions. Conveying this image of DSM to the young professional is at the core of the organization. Furthermore, the tireless effort of the organization’s leadership to put on exciting events that capture the excitement that DSM brings to all facets of a young professional’s life is a testament to the growth the city is experiencing and the continued prosperity that is to come with a growing presence of young professionals ready to make their mark on the city. 

A Commitment to the Future

The Why Des Moines Event is yet another example of a YPC's commitment to furthering their mission.  I jumped at the opportunity to take part in this event because it was just a year ago that I was feeling the stress of finding a job and developing a game plan for adjusting to life out of college. With these memories still fresh in my mind, I wanted to express how DSM has been an asset in providing a smooth transition from college to adult life, where there are ample opportunities for me to grow in my career while being an engaged member of the inclusive young professional community.

As one of the many young professionals molding the future of DSM, I will continue to take advantage of the uplifting and inclusive environment this city provides in order to benefit from experiences and skills in ways that improve the community and firm I work for. I have no doubt that there are countless others throughout DSM who share my sentiments and are taking action to further the city’s culture of valuing young talent that is driven to enact positive change. This, in turn, will allow the next wave of college graduates to recognize that there’s no better place to call home than DSM. 

About Young Professionals Connection (YPC)

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.

Luke Austin

Luke Austin graduated from Drake in May 2018 with a degree in Quantitative Economics and International Business. Luke began working for Principal in June of 2018 and will start a part-time Master's program in August. He began attending YPC events in August of 2018.