By Joshua J. Tijerina – I remember walking into my very first Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend (YBP) meeting late one weeknight almost six years ago. The group had barely begun and hadn’t quite found its footing in the community yet. It was meeting after hours in a second floor conference room inside Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi’s (TAMU-CC) UC building. There were twelve people around a table discussing various topics such as general goals, how to achieve them, and the types of events to plan in order to attract more people.
I was new in the financial sales business with New York Life at that time. Steve DeAses was there, then Vice President of YBP and an engineer working for AEP. Paige Terry, at that time she was Paige Kimball, was the group’s secretary. Michael Hunter was also there; he was this tall guy that kept fielding questions from everyone about his father. I had no idea why that was. It was my first time meeting any of these people.
That following year Steve would become President and ask me to accept the Executive Board position of Treasurer. The board was comprised of people whose passion for this small YBP group translated into a call to action and I wanted to be a part of it. It was one of the best calls that I have ever answered. That calling led to my being Vice President the next year and then President of YBP for two more years after that. Since that time it has been a habit of mine to ensure that we hit the ground running and never stop.
But now, as my tenure ends and I finally term out of the YBP leadership, it is time to take a breath and see how far we have come and where we are going. I cannot help but think of them and others whom I have met over the years who exemplify what it is to be a Young Business Professional of the Coastal Bend. Steve now runs his own engineering consulting firm as well as a handful of other business interests. Paige Terry is now the Executive Director of Leadership Corpus Christi, the third oldest leadership program in Texas, and a wife and mother to a wonderful family. Michael Hunter has become a respected insurance professional and a servant leader in his own right (I know who his father is now by the way).
As the organization evolves further, the individual members are intended to develop as well and become experienced, influential members of the community that others look to. As YBP impacts the community it serves it should also impact the members who serve it. We are meant to utilize YBP as a proving ground to hone leadership skill sets, to engage ourselves in networking opportunities, to seek civic experiences, and to use it as a springboard. I am pleased to say that we as individuals are becoming those people as we continue to increase our significance in the circles that we have chosen to be a part of. There are so many individual success stories I am acutely aware of that I would need to write a book to share them all. This article could never suffice.
The members of YBP are without question the emerging leaders in Corpus Christi. It is a concept that was established years ago among that handful of people sitting around a table on an otherwise empty TAMU-CC campus. We created our own board of directors and now we are being asked to serve on other boards. We are being asked to lead the charge in varying areas of civic and professional interest. We are perceived, and rightly so, as the people in our city who must lead the charge for… well for anything of substance and value really. Corpus Christi city leaders and the media call on YBP and recognize us as the voice of not only a generation, but of a progressive and entrepreneurial mindset. Our footprint of influence and the value of our membership have grown into an actionable force within a city that is aching for action to be taken. YBP has a stable full of talented individuals with cutting-edge skills and creative attitudes eager to be utilized. Corpus Christi has no choice but to profit from the talent of organized, self-disciplined, and willing young professionals.
As the new President of YBP, Claudia Huerta, takes over she now inherits an organization that is vastly different from the one I inherited four years ago. Luckily, for YBP, she is no rookie. Her years of service to the organization and her profession bring with it finely tuned experience. This is essential as there are more leaders than ever before asking for more responsibility and wanting to be pushed forward. The organization has the added responsibility of facilitating (along with Ideas Week Corpus Christi) the CCU40 program that we finally acquired this year. We have a new executive director whose non-stop energy aligns with the intentions of the board members around him and TAMU-CC (who still faithfully charters YBP). There is an expanding membership and an exceedingly higher expectation, but now there is also a firmer foundation. A stronger sense of duty and value within the organization and the Coastal Bend exists that took years to build.
No longer is YBP a handful of people in a conference room wondering about goals and what to do next. It is an organized membership with a distinct mission and vision that is poised for long-term success and sustainability. As we reach the crest of the mountain at the end of this year we look outwards to the horizon at the next mountain and ask ourselves: What can we do to get there?
So, do you want to be a part of it? The last time YBP set out to make a difference I jumped in headfirst and therein found success, friendships, business opportunities, and leadership skills that I never would have gained so quickly otherwise. YBP is once again setting its sights on the next mountain to climb. Will you come along to build and grow with it? Hurry, because 2016 is upon us. The Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend is ready. Are you?
Joshua Tijerina has served on the Mayor’s Interagency Committee, the Downtown Management District Board of Directors, and as the Past President of the Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend. He is an expert in Life & Health Insurance and writes on issues relevant to young professionals such as leadership, civic engagement, and business relations.