By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
“If you want to participate in shaping the next 25 years of Knoxville, you should attend,” Holly Holloway of the Knoxville Chamber says in describing the upcoming “Endeavor Young Professionals Summit. “
The one-day event is set for August 19 at the Mill & Mine, 299 West Depot Avenue, and early bird registration ends this Tuesday, July 19. There’s a $25 per person discount up until the deadline.
Like any forward looking community, Knoxville recognizes its business leaders of the future are the young professionals who reside here today. The challenge is not only finding ways to inspire, connect and engage them in the community, but it’s also about making sure they stay here.
“Talent retention and recruitment is a huge part of what we do at the Chamber and Innovation Valley,” Kayla Witt, the Chamber’s Marketing Coordinator for Economic Development, said. She and Holloway, Events Manager, are overall organizers of the summit.
“Our vision for the day was to create an event that was exciting and attractive to young professionals,” Holloway said, adding, “We did not want it to be a stuffy conference.”
Starting with the primary venue, something Witt described as “super cool,” and continuing through the various activities planned throughout the day, the two Millennials clearly represent the target attendee profile.
“We thought the atmosphere in the Mill & Mine would be laid back,” Holloway said. “It will have a block party feel.”
Attendees will experience the difference as soon as they enter the Mill & Mine for the 8 a.m. registration and networking breakfast. The first thing they are likely to hear will be DJ Sterl the Perl®, former Tennessee football player Sterling Henton, playing music.
There will be two keynote presentations that continue the “super cool” factor. First up will be Jay Rogers, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Local Motors, the company revolutionizing the automotive industry through 3D printing.
As you might imagine, innovation is the topic Rogers has been assigned.
“We want to get the attendees inspired to start their personal innovation journey,” Holloway said.
During the morning, Witt says something called the “dream display” – four rolling platforms with one of the letters that spells out KNOX – will be positioned throughout the Mill & Mine. Attendees will be encouraged to use Post It notes to share their ideas on any of five topics important to the community – regional growth, outdoor and recreation, civic engagement, culture, and innovation.
Those ideas will drive one of three breakout periods later in the day before a wrap-up keynote to which attendees are encouraged to invite their supervisors. Amy Lynch, a Maryville native and current resident of Nashville who leads a firm named Generational Edge, will talk about what makes each generation great and why each is needed for a successful and vibrant community.
The “Endeavor Summit” wraps-up with a happy hour and “After Party” featuring The Electric Darling.
Witt says she and Holloway benchmarked a similar program launched 11 years ago in Omaha that now draws 1,500 attendees annually.
“We customized it to fit our community,” she adde