Taylor Hartley
Events and genKC Coordinator
KC Chamber

Be Engaged, Be Willing, Be an Expert: Advice for Young Professionals in 2017


GenKC recently hosted an impactful professional development event, Roundtables: “Taking Ownership of Your Career” sponsored by Bank Midwest and FleishmanHillard. GenKC’s professional development events provide young professionals the opportunity to network with and learn from Kansas City community leaders. This leadership event was held at H&R Block, and featured 15 Kansas City business and community leaders. Young professionals engaged with table leaders by asking questions, discussing industry trends and receiving career advice. Read on for great takeaways from various presenters and attendees…

1. Believe in Yourself
Attendee Patrice Basso said she was most impacted by advice given by Chandra Clark (External Relationships Manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City). “If you don’t tell yourself you are enough, you will never be enough,” said Clark. “Be brilliant, be bold, and be brave.” According to Clark, believing in who you are and what you are capable of is the first step to developing yourself personally and professionally.

2. Know Yourself
Table leader Mark Ciaramitaro (Vice President of Product Innovation and New Business at H&R Block) shared his most frequent advice for young professionals. “Take the time to do important homework on yourself.  Ask who you are, what you want to accomplish and why? What makes you unique? Then, convert your answers into a concise and compelling elevator pitch.” Ciaramitaro advised attendees not to be afraid to ask the hard questions – it may lead to better understanding yourself and where you best fit.

3.  Be a Problem Solver
Lance Collins (Director of Properties at YRC Freight) attributes some of his success to his ability to problem-solve. Collins suggested that young professionals should “always try to be the best solution to the problem, challenge or need.” Kaniah Konkoly-Thege (General Counsel at Honeywell FM&T) also encouraged young professionals to learn to bridge the gap between issues while being innovative in their solutions. Managers and company leaders are looking for problem-solvers who are willing to make the solution work.

4. Be Engaged
Karen Hogan (Division Manager at Turner Construction Company) encourages young professionals to “find an organization that is meaningful to you, and then join a committee within that organization. This will allow you to be an active member in the community.” Engaging yourself in the community is useful in not only giving back, but also in developing and expanding your network.

5. Be an Expert
Bucky Brooks (Principal at Copaken Brooks) and Will Fox (Sr. Vice President, Client Manager at Bank of America Merrill Lynch) both emphasized the importance of being experts in your field. Fox reminded his table participants to focus on being the best at their current role before aspiring to move up the ladder. Developing your expertise will make you valuable to both your company and your peers.

6. Be Willing
“Be open to learning and do not be afraid to admit when you do not understand. You may have a deep understanding of your division, but you may also be lacking key information that impacts business decisions simply because you do not interface with other divisions or functions,” said Kaniah Konkoly-Thege (General Counsel at Honeywell FM&T). A willingness to learn shows leadership that you are committed to professional growth.

In 2017, we want to grow and learn with you. Make it your resolution to join genKC and the thousands of young professionals in Kansas City who are actively working towards bettering themselves and their community. Email for more information. 

Posted: 1/4/2017 11:44:30 AM