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YPN Blog: January 2017

Posted By Katy Keller, Indian Trail Parks and Recreation, Thursday, January 5, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hello Young Professionals!

My name is Katy Keller, and I work with Indian Trail Parks and Recreation as a Program Coordinator. In a previous blog, Jared Mull from Transylvania County talked about why and how to get involved at the NCRPA level. This month I am going to build off of that and talk about taking on leadership roles early in your career.

When taking on leadership roles, here are several things to consider:

1) Find your passion. What are you passionate about? What do you want to do? Where do you want to be in 10 years? I struggle with these questions. Honestly, how are you supposed to professionally say, “I don’t know the right answer to this question.”  Instead, focus on your values. Write down what is most important to you and stick with it. From there, create your vision and write down goals that can help you achieve it. Once you have these down, get invested. Stand behind your cause.

2) It’s not always about you. We have all heard that there is no “I” in team. When taking on leadership roles, it’s important to take a “team” stance. Your decisions are now based on what is best for the team versus what is best for you as an individual. Know your own strengths and weaknesses first and strive to enhance them. Communication is key. The way you speak to others is just as important as how others receive the information. Make sure that the message is not lost in the delivery.

3) Watch, listen and learn. Great leaders should always want to learn more. To better your team, you have to better yourself. If people are talking to you, truly listen to what they have to say before speaking. One of the biggest things that I have learned is observing how people react to situations – whether it’s a peer or more distinguished professional. Find a distinguished professional either in your department or in the field. Establish a connection and get their advice or watch how they react to situations. Learn from them. When it comes to learning, always continue to seek out knowledge whether it’s through a workshop, conference, or other professionals.

4. Be at the table. If you’re truly ready to take on a leadership role, it’s time to make your presence known. Speak up at meetings. You have to get invested and get involved. Whether it’s speaking up at a meeting, signing up to do a session at conference, or wanting to get more involved in the NCRPA Young Professionals Network. Sell yourself. Don’t like public speaking or even speaking up? Join the club. Amy Cuddy’s Tedx explains it best in Fake It Till You Make It.

Here are some great resources and tips on ways that you can get involved:

  • Jump on a monthly conference call (some examples listed below):
    • NCRPA Young Professionals Network – information can be found here.
    • NRPA Young Professionals Network – next meeting is January 19 at 2pm
  • Find a Mentor
    • Find a distinguished professional in your department or field and send them an email introducing yourself.
    • NCRPA YPNs along with NRPA YPNs typically have a “Take a Professional Out to Lunch” or a similar program that pairs you with a distinguished professional in the field. Take advantage of this!
  • NCRPA Forums
    • Have a question or need some resources? Ask through the NCRPA Forum! On the flip side, if you can answer any of the questions that are coming through, do so. Get your name out there and get involved.

Ultimately, it is your decision whether you choose to take on a leadership role. I encourage each of you to take the next step in speaking up because what you have to say matters. As young professionals, we are the future, and you should have a say in that. 


Meet the Author

Katy Keller is a Program Coordinator with Indian Trail Parks & Recreation. Katy is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina and received her B.S. degree in Recreation & Park Management from Appalachian State University. Katy has previously worked as a Recreation Specialist for Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation. In March 2015, she was hired by the Town of Indian Trail, where her main responsibilities include programming, marketing, and overseeing contracts. Katy is also the East Central Regional rep for the NRPA’s YPN State Associations Committee and is active in the NCRPA YPN with Student Outreach. Outside of work Katy enjoys spending time with her husband and keeping up with her two toddlers.

If you would like to contact Katy or get more involved in the NRPA YPN, Katy can be reached at kkeller@admin.indiantrail.org or 704-821-8114.

If you are interested in being a guest author for the YPN Blog, please contact Nicole at nicole@ncpra.net or 919-832-5868

Tags:  leadership  leadership roles  professional development  young professionals  ypn 

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