Category: Next Gen Summit

Next Gen Summit | Countdown Begins

Next Gen Summit

The Next Gen Summit is just around the corner, and I couldn’t be more excited. On Wednesday, October 1st hundreds of young professionals will be flocking the hallways of the newly renovated US Cellular Center, repping their Iowa Pride. This year’s lineup for keynote and breakout speakers is jam- packed with upbeat fresh faces, and some local favorites. With brand new breakout sessions, the addition of an interactive round table discussion between young professionals and executives, and an after party at Theatre Cedar Rapids, this is bound to be the best year yet.

Many current initiatives are focusing on the engagement of college students and young professionals new to the workforce, in hopes that they will find the Corridor is a place to stay and grow their careers. The theme of “Iowa Pride” encompasses the same goal for the Next Gen. Summit. This year, I really look forward to the executive round table portion of the day, where attendees be sitting down in small groups and participating in a conversation with a local executive. The discussions will be focused on workforce retention and strengths and weaknesses of the Corridor area.

I grew up in the Des Moines area, and came to Cedar Rapids three years ago for my husband’s job. At first, I wasn’t so sure about this place. It was hard to see myself staying here long term. I heard about the Next Gen. Summit, and on a whim I decided to go. It was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to know opportunities for volunteering. They had a non-profit fair with tons of organizations to choose from. I was looking to join a board. They had a great breakout session on ways to broaden leadership skills, including joining a local board. I wanted some advice on starting my own business. They provided a great panel of entrepreneurs offering tons of advice on small businesses. The Next Gen. Summit was designed for someone like me, new to the area and looking to know why I should stay.

Companies can also take advantage of this event by sending their employees and encouraging professional development. Executives in the past have found the Next Gen. Summit provided a lot of insight to the minds of their younger workforce. This event really goes beyond networking, and basic leadership training. It is a community wide opportunity for businesses, entrepreneurs, and corporations to take part in a unique professional experience.

As a current co-chair for the Next Gen Summit, I get to know all the ins and outs of the day, which factors in a little bias. But who am I kidding? If I had nothing to do with the planning of this thing, I’d still make sure to have a front row seat. I joined the planning committee because I think it’s a terrific event, and I want to see it grow. If the Next Gen. Summit inspires more young professionals to make the Corridor their home for business and personal life, then we can definitely call this a success. I know I have my ticket reserved. See you there!

Editor’s Note: This post is written by Next Gen Summit Co-chair and ImpactCR Board Member, Tallis Strub.

The Next Gen. Summit 2014 is presented by Kaplan University, with supporting sponsors: UICCU, Van Meter, ACT, and Upper Iowa University. A full schedule of the event and registration information can be found here.

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Breaking News | Next Gen Summit Keynote


In case you are new to Cedar Rapids, just getting into the workforce, or are finally getting in touch with ImpactCR you should probably know that we co-host a little thing we like to call Next Gen Summit or NGS with EPIC.  First of all, if you don’t know what NGS is, it is a day long conference devoted to providing young pros with professional and personal development with breakout sessions on topics like entrepreneurship, leadership skills, social media, and so much more that I’m not going to tell you because you need to register and attend to find out. 😉 There are so many reasons why you and all other young professionals should know why NGS is kind of a big deal.  Number one… not to brag or anything, but we have two amazing keynotes lined up for this year’s NGS 2014.

Speaking of keynotes, we are SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED AND HONORED to announce our midday keynote is… drumroll please… Tana Goertz.  You may know her as a finalist and overall winner of the Street Smarts Team on NBC’s “The Apprentice” with none other than Donald Trump.  Mr. Trump quotes her as being a woman that has,”that rare combination of laid-back charm and razor sharp execution. She doesn’t put up with nonsense,” (In Touch Weekly).

Now that you’re all like, “OK.  Cool.  An internationally-recognized reality star, entrepreneur, speaker, radio talk show host, author, project manager and business coach with a passion for people is going to come talk to us, but what does she do when she’s not hanging out with Donald.”  So,  I’m really not sure that she hangs out with Mr. Trump, but just sayin’… she did for 18 weeks.

Currently, Tana is sharing her message to “go out and be unforgettable.”  Through her speaking engagements, Tana shares her tips on how to succeed in business and in life.  She has become an accomplished professional speaker who aims to educate, motivate and inspire people to take action immediately through her highly energetic presentations.  She also hosts a weekly radio segment titled, “Hey Tana Time” where she shares practical solutions to listeners’ everyday situations.

Be sure to follow Tana leading up to the conference via Facebook and Twitter.

Next Gen Summit will be held on October 1st, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids Convention Complex.  To register, click here.  This year’s Next Gen. Summit presenting sponsor is Kaplan University.  Supporting sponsors are University of Iowa Community Credit Union and Van Meter Inc.

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Young Professional Profile | Jennifer Germaine


On November 6, we announced our Incoming Chair for 2014 at our Make Your Mark Siren Wednesday – Jennifer Germaine. HUGE Congratulations to Jennifer on her new role with ImpactCR and being awarded the Make Your Mark Award!

You recently moved from Omaha, what brought you to Cedar Rapids?

I am originally from Vinton, Iowa. I never thought I would move back to Cedar Rapids, but after living in Omaha for several years, I was ready to come back home. I came back to be closer to family, good friends, and my family’s cabin on the Mississippi River. I’m an avid boater and missed the water dearly! I also love my job – I’m an attorney with Day Rettig Peiffer, P.C. practicing in the areas of benefit plans (healthcare and retirement), corporate and estate planning.

How did you come to be involved with ImpactCR?

Originally, I joined ImpactCR for the networking. I was looking to meet other young professionals in the area. A couple of months later, I was introduced to Beth Malicki and the idea of the Next Gen. Summit. A few months later we held the first Summit. It seems like such a whirlwind looking back but I was hooked from that point on! I joined the ImpactCR board of advisors the next January.

The Next Gen. Summit has become a premier event for young professionals in the Creative Corridor. What role have you played in creating this event the past two years?

I guess you can say I was one of the founders of the idea. I went to the Omaha Young Professionals Summit multiple years while living in Omaha and wanted to have something similar in Eastern Iowa. I remember initially meeting with Beth Malicki about the summit and her indicating it would be a small exclusive event for approximately 100 people. I told her I envisioned it being much bigger. We ended up engaging EPIC from Iowa City to join us in planning the Summit too. We had over 300 people attend the first half-day Summit. I was also the Co-Chair for the all-day Next Gen. Summit that occurred October 1, 2013. We, once again, had approximately 300 attendees. We are already planning for the 2014 Summit. Attendees should expect an even bigger and better day from last year!

Congratulations on your recent nomination as incoming chair for ImpactCR! Do you have any specific goals for the Board of Advisors over the next two years?

I have so many goals! One goal I have is a very simplistic goal, but one that is very dear to my heart and to the core of ImpactCR – to get more young professionals and next geners to engage in our events and the Corridor. I want to make sure each and every person that attends an ImpactCR event feels welcome, inspired, and excited to be working/living in the Corridor. Also, ImpactCR is much more than just a networking group. ImpactCR provides leadership, professional and personal development, service opportunities and cultural engagement in the community. Enhancing those features within the organization by continuing current programing and/or reinventing what is currently offered is another goal I have. Oh, and let’s not forget the Next Gen. Summit! That is guaranteed to become even bigger and better for 2014!!!! Get ready!!

What advice do you have for young professionals?

Force yourself outside of your comfort zone. The feeling of accomplishment you get after you achieve a goal/task that you initially thought was impossible is worth every bit of torture you went through by putting yourself out there. Reaching further than you think possible is one of the greatest ways to develop yourself.

I also truly believe in the art of networking. I take time to learn about people from all walks of life and am genuinely interested in everyone’s life story. I have been repeatedly surprised at which contacts have taken me places in my professional career, as well as personally, that I never expected.

What is your favorite thing to do or place to go in the Creative Corridor?

I love so many things about the Creative Corridor! NewBo Market, the Newbo area in general, and the restaurants and entertainment venues in downtown Cedar Rapids are some of my favorite places. I love heading out on the trails at Indian Creek during the summer and the downtown Farmers Market. I also adore the new Federal Courthouse and feel so lucky to be an attorney that gets to practice in such a beautiful building (spoken like a true attorney!!)!

Thank you so much Jennifer! We all appreciate the hard work you have put into the Next Gen. Summit over the last two years. I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

YP Handbook: Leave Your Card

Every once in a while, we’ll come across a YP blog post that features ImpactCR.  Who doesn’t love when your group is recognized for how awesome we are?  Christoph Trappe hung out at the ImpactCR table at the Corridor Welcome Reception and came across a pretty innovative way to hit up those who might be a little… shall we say… lazy.

Email News: Easy to sign up – Drop Card in Bowl

I admit it.  I’m lazy.  I don’t want to fill out long forms (on paper or online) to sign up for email newsletters.  You might not want to either.

With that in mind this caught my eye at the ImpactCR table at the Corridor Welcome Reception at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance on May 7, 2013.

This is so easy.  Leave your card in the bowl to stay in touch.  No lengthy sign-up required.


The easier the sign-up the more likely I am to get on the list, especially if I’m on the fence or whether to sign up or  not.

Full disclosure:  I’m on the ImpactCR Board, staffed the table that night but had nothing to do with the set-up.  Thanks, Mallory Mohwinkle!

Christoph and Katie

While my opinion may be slightly biased, this is pretty genius!  Quick, to the point and I don’t have to wait for someone else to fill out the signup sheet and I can move on to more important stuff like networking and finding out about local businesses and organizations.  Great job, Mallory!  Huge thanks to Katie and Christoph for manning the table.

Editors Note:  Permission to use this blog post (original post here) and pictures was granted by Christoph prior to publishing this post.

Committee Mingle Recap

We had a great turn out at Wednesday’s Committee Mingle at Fieldhouse Downtown.  If you didn’t have a chance to attend, we had a number of new faces and so many excited members with innovate and creative ideas to share.  The brain wheels were turning and we can’t wait to see what comes to fruition over the next few months.

Here are a few pictures from the evening:





In case you did not know… we have a little thing I’d like to call NEXT. GEN. SUMMIT. coming up on MONDAY!  Already?!  I know, right!?  If you’re not signed up, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  Get that request into your boss this morning with a copy of our 10 Reasons to Make Ask Your Boss to Send You to the Summit and get your rear to The Hotel at Kirkwood Monday morning at 8 a.m.!   Can’t make it all day, but still want to see Rebecca Ryan?  No problemo dude!  $35 gets you lunch and a ticket for our keynote address – Is Iowa’s Creative Corridor future-ready?.  See you there!

We have a ton of events going on in the next couple weeks!  Stay tuned for more info!  Until next time…

{Are you on a committee?  What kind of events do you think we should have in the upcoming months?}


Top 10 Reasons Your Boss Should Send You To The Next Gen Summit

1. Retention. Every company is concerned about losing the talent they have spent valuable money training, especially the younger generation.  The Summit is focused on bringing the younger generation together to find inspiration in their workplace and throughout Iowa’s Creative Corridor.

2. Networking. Attendees will have a unique opportunity to network with other young professionals and community leaders about their lives and your company.  Word of mouth is the cheapest form of advertising.

3. Personal and Professional Development. Breakout sessions are geared toward personal and professional development — teaching and refining key leadership and communication skills to help each individual make a greater impact in their company.

4. Community Involvement. Breakout session speakers will explain the importance of getting involved in their community and how community involvement can further their careers and your company goals.  Our pre-luncheon United Way Non-Profit Fair will help attendees become more familiar with local service opportunities and causes.

5. Celebrating Diversity.  Attendees will learn ideas and strategies on how to move away from intolerance and toward celebration.

6. Unhinging Ideas.  Employers are concerned their younger generation employees are not satisfied with living in the Creative Corridor, and ultimately may leave.  The Summit encourages the younger generation to come together to unhinge these ideas and get involved in making the Creative Corridor the place they want to live.

7. A Manifesto For America’s Next Leaders.  The keynote address will feature nationally acclaimed multi-generational expert and young professional guru, Rebecca Ryan with Next Generation Consulting.  Her keynote will focus on inspiring young attendees to become the next leaders.

8. BigWigs Can Participate Too.  CEOs, Managers, or other ‘BigWigs’ that send attendees to the Summit can also participate in a FREE exclusive session featuring keynote speaker, Rebecca Ryan.  She will discuss the steps companies can take to retain their now and next generation of employees.

9. Invest in Your Young Professionals.  Show your young professionals you are invested in their future by sending them to the Summit!

10. Bringing New Visionary Energy to Their Work.  Send attendees to the Summit this year to learn how to become empowered leaders, to be inspired and have new appreciation for their role in your workplace and their community.

5 W’s (and H) of the Next Gen Summit

October is a very exciting month for ImpactCR!  Why you ask?  BECAUSE WE ARE FINALLY CO-HOSTING OUR VERY FIRST NEXT GEN YP SUMMIT!  Whew.  Sorry to yell, but I’m so stoked for this event.  Not only is this event the first of it’s kind for our organization, but we are collaborating with EPIC (Empowered Professionals of the Iowa City area).  Don’t worry… I had to ask too.  They’re like ImpactCR, but in Iowa City.  Awesome, right!?  That’s what we thought, so when they said that they’d send some brain power our way, we got even more excited.  I’m not sure how much more excited we could be… but you catch my drift.

Moving on… So you know I’m pumped, but I’m sure you would like to know why.  Of course…. let me tell you about the Next Gen Summit.  We’ll start with the remaining W’s (because I already told you What) and the H.

WHO… is this for?  YOU of course!  If you consider yourself a young professional, don’t care how old you are, we want you to be there.  If you’re a CEO, BigWig, executive, leader within your company or simply interested in the development of our future professionals, we want you there too!

WHERE/WHEN… do I need to be there? The Hotel at Kirkwood on October 15th from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.. CEO’s/BigWigs, etc. you have a special time to be there.  Don’t fret.  I’ll get to that in a moment. 😉

WHY are you hosting this cool AMAZING event that I simply must attend?  Because the Iowa City group said it right… we want to help empower the young professionals in the creative corridor.  This half day event features workshops that touch on professional communication skills, starting your own business, diversity and how to become the next top dog.  We want to help you connect with others in the corridor who are just like you and what better way than all in one place, with those who have quite possibly gotten it right.

HOW… do I get signed up? Click this link and complete the registration form.  There is a charge of $75, but tell your boss you want to go and see if they’ll buy if you fly.  Yeah, that one was pretty lame, but you get it.  Tell them how awesome this event is, or wait for the next post where I’ll give you 10 reasons to tell your boss why you  should need to be there!

Don’t have a typical employer who can pay your admission? Perhaps you’re an entrepreneur or start-up with a tight budget. Don’t fret! We have two full and six partial scholarships to give away, thanks to the generosity of University of Iowa Community Credit Union. Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on October 1.  (Follow the registration link above to download the application.)

OK… I have one more H. 

HOW… can we put on an event like this? With the help of volunteers from ImpactCR and EPIC, along with some amazing people from the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, we were able to make this event possible.  Not to mention our sponsors from Kaplan University, Van Meter and Corridor CoWorks, as well as our other business and media sponsors.  A huge round of applause goes out to all of these individuals… and your boss who is going to not only make sure you get there, but they attend as well.


On to you CEOs, executives, BigWigs and other organizational leaders!  You have your very own session with Rebecca Ryan from Next Generation Consulting with the important topic –  Will they love you or leave you?.  There is limited availability, so don’t wait to register!  It’s free with lunch which is only $35 or $300 with a 10 top.  Interested?  I knew you would be!  Click this link to register yourself and a few of your best and brightest!

Keep checking back for more on the Next Gen. Summit and don’t forget to ‘Like’ Next Gen. Summit on Facebook!

{Have you signed up for the Next Gen. Summit yet?  If not, are you going to? Why/ why not?}