Every year the Greater Des Moines Partnership sends the President-Elect of the Young Professionals Connection (YPC) to Washington D.C. on the annual trip with a few select Partnership individuals. This year our President-Elect Emilee Richardson attended and has some interested thoughts to share...
Last week, I was in Washington, D.C. representing YPC on The Partnership's annual trip. In case you don't know, each year, The Partnership takes roughly 200 business executives and community leaders to D.C. in order to educate, advocate and network. Each year, the YPC president-elect is sent on the trip. This year, that privilege was mine.
This trip is very unique. The Partnership represents more than 4,700 businesses and 150,000 employees. And on this year's trip, 190 of us represented one unified voice, advocating for the issues most important to Greater Des Moines (DSM). That's a powerful voice, wouldn't you agree? Our formal sessions included everything from education to immigration and from housing and the arts. Our luncheons included speakers like Rep. Paul Ryan and his Democratic counterpart Rep. Chris Van Hollen as well as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. One thing I learned on this trip: Washington cares about Iowa.
The D.C. Experience
On Thursday morning, we had a breakfast with the entire Iowa Congressional delegation: Sen. Grassley, Sen. Harkin, Rep. Braley, Rep. King, Rep. Latham and Rep. Loebsack. It was somewhat surreal to see them all in one place, speaking to a bipartisan group of Iowans. They each had their hot button issues to speak on, but the bottom line was an overwhelming sense of Iowa pride. Congressman Braley even suggested that "we'd get a lot more done here in Washington if we had more potlucks."
Along the way, we also got to do some fun things, too. On Wednesday night, I had dinner with a group organized by the Des Moines Social Club's Zachary Mannheimer. We went to a restaurant called Jaleo, where we proceeded to dine on 17 very... um, *interesting* courses of Spanish tapas followed by two more dessert courses. The 18 of us formed a special bond after being so brave. And on Thursday, I joined a group that toured the Pentagon!
Overall, the trip for me represented a chance to make connections and talk about the great work YPC does for the community. Another thing I learned: People think very highly of our organization. One woman even shared that she had seen one of our committee meetings at Gateway Market and gushed to her husband, "THOSE are the future leaders of Des Moines!"
I met so many incredible people on this trip, and I'm excited to find ways to collaborate with these new friends as I continue in my leadership roles with YPC!