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As you forward towards the year 2020 what is your greatest wish for Omaha?

February 2010 YP Connections: Young Professional Q&A

View the Print Media Version online now to enjoy the complete "Magazine Experience."


Each month metroMAGAZINE, in cooperation with The Greater Omaha Young Professionals, polls a group of "YPs" to obtain a brief glimpse into their lives and their insights on our community. Following are the answers which were provided to this months' Q&A:



Lizzy Rasmussen, 25

Compliance Consultant, Mutual of Omaha

When people think Omaha, they may think strong ethical culture, Midwestern values, thriving businesses, and strong corporations. These are admirable qualities that we should all be proud of; however, there are other aspects to our city that remain widely unknown.  For example, our bustling arts culture where music, fashion, and other art forms are showcased and experimented with. Omaha is also an educational treasure-trove for students at all levels with fabulous institutions like UNO, Creighton, and others. My greatest wish for Omaha in 2020 is that Omaha's brand is broadened to encompass the full array of what the city truly has to offer.

Crystal Rhoades, 31

Assistant Director, Neighborhood Center of Greater Omaha

My greatest wish for Omaha by the year 2020 is a green city. I would like to see Omaha's businesses reduce energy consumption, and as a result, their operational costs, and I would like to see more businesses and homes participate in recycling and reuse programs. I believe we need urban renewal initiatives which include retro fitting historic neighborhoods to make them more energy efficient and repair the estimated 30,000 homes in the city in need of restoration. In addition, I would like to see more high density affordable housing options in Omahas urban core, thereby reducing the need for expensive commutes, lowering road maintenance costs, and reducing pollution. Omaha also needs a significant increase in transportation options, including additional buses, light rail, bike lanes and trails, and cab or car share services. I would also like to see Metropolitan Community College expand their sustainability education programs to become the model and leader for green education. In taking these steps toward becoming a greener city we can save our community billions of dollars in operation costs for businesses, make residential utility costs more affordable, reduce pollution, and insulate ourselves from the effects of our dependence on foreign fossil fuels. I better get started!

Josh Bartee, 32

AVP - Commercial Banker, Mutual of Omaha Bank

My greatest wish for Omaha as I look forward to 2020 is to narrow, if not close, the achievement gap between poor and affluent students. There is great momentum in Omaha today in both the public and private sectors to design and improve programs for underprivileged children to help reduce this gap. Omaha is very fortunate to have strong public school systems and a population base that is extremely generous in volunteering their time and financial resources to this crucial issue. With so many organizations and individuals providing and enhancing these educational resources, I am hopeful that a greater percentage of today's 2nd graders living in poverty will be graduating from high school in 2020 and going on to college or trade schools than are today. Moreover, today's newborns will be reading and writing at or above a 4th grade level in 2020 and will not have fallen behind their peers in development. If my wish comes true, I envision a stronger and thriving Omaha beyond 2020 as many of these children will grow up to be productive community members and find jobs in the Omaha metropolitan area as they enter the workforce.



The 2010 Young Professionals Summit will be held on Thursday, March 4th, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Qwest Center Omaha.



This day-long event will provide an opportunity for young professionals, community and business leaders to come together in an open learning environment to discuss how to bridge generational leaders and community issues affecting Greater Omaha's young professionals. The Summit is presented by the Greater Omaha Young Professionals, a program of the Greater Omaha Chamber. Summit sponsors are Bellevue University and HDR, Inc.

The Summit kicks off with networking and interactive discovery activities at 8 a.m. in the pre-function area.
The opening session, featuring Patricia Martin, CEO and founder, LitLamp Communications and author of "Renaissance Generation," begins at 9 a.m.

At 10:15 a.m., there will be four breakout sessions. Session topics include engaging in politics, building your resumé through social media, eliminating poverty and homelessness in Omaha, and designing and launching an audience-specific program.

Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver at TOMS Shoes, will be the keynote luncheon speaker at 11:30 a.m. During the luncheon, the annual Young Professionals Choice Award will be presented to the Omaha Public Power District, recognizing their efforts to attract, retain and develop young professionals. Koley Jessen Attorneys is the sponsor of the award.

The first set of afternoon breakout sessions begins at 1:30 p.m. Session topics include addressing multiple faiths in the workplace, creating a competitive advantage by incorporating sustainability, using service to foster career advancement and exploring race relations.

The second set of afternoon breakout sessions begins at 2:30 p.m. Session topics include positioning yourself for success, sparking innovation through brainstorming, and bringing traditional business skills to the next generation entrepreneur.

William Taylor, founding editor of Fast Company, author and entrepreneur, is the Summit's closing speaker.

Registration for the full day is $125 (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) or $75 for the keynote luncheon only. Make your reservations by Thursday, February 25th, at  OmahaChamber.org/YPCSummit.

-end- metroMAGAZINE


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