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Next Gen. Summit: Generations learning together

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Linley Cavin and Taylor Blazek, guest columnists

Hundreds of professionals, both new to their careers and experienced, will converge in downtown Iowa City for the Next Gen. Summit on Thursday. This professional development event is the largest young professional conference in the region! And while that is fantastic in itself, the collaboration across Iowa’s Creative Corridor to make it happen, speaks volumes to our region’s ability to work together to create something attractive, exciting and innovative.

Next Gen. Summit is about cultivating our next generation of leaders. The north end of the Corridor, represented by ImpactCR, the young professionals group associated with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and the south end of the Corridor represented by EPIC, the young professionals group associated with the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce have come together for the past five years to co-produce an event with a mutual agreement that the Creative Corridor is greater than the sum of its parts.

Regardless of which part of the Corridor we hail from, attendees seek engagement, inspiration and a desire to be challenged. This year, Next Gen. Summit will deliver on those expectations. Specialists from around the nation, and some cultivated right here in the Corridor, will share their insight and expertise.

Speaking of working collaboratively, Next Gen. Summit goes beyond just bringing together our region and its young professionals; it’s also a space for all generations to discover together. As important as it is for young professionals to understand what it is that drives us, it is equally important for managers and employers to understand that too.

Our workforce will see a lot of change in the coming years. The Department of Labor predicts that in 2030, Millennials will make up about half of the U.S. labor force, 44% to be exact. It is imperative that all generations are able to collaborate efficiently and effectively. Next Gen. Summit offers a platform to have these kinds of conversations and learn from each other.

We encourage professionals of all experience levels to join us for this regional event. If this will be your first year at the Summit – get ready. Come with an open mind and plenty of room for business cards, we are a networking crazed bunch and proud of it. If you are returning to Next Gen. Summit, welcome back and prepare for your passion to be reignited.

This event gives us hope and indicates that a cohesive region is possible and we can create something great for our business community and beyond…together. We are the next generation of leaders who will carry that torch and connect all corners of the Corridor to continue this progress, this excitement and this growth.

• Linley Cavin of ImpactCR, ane Taylor Blazek, of EPIC, are co-chairs of the Next Gen. Summit.

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