A few weeks ago, I was drinking a tallboy on the rooftop deck of the Des Moines Social Club, in the sunshine, with friends. I was dressed smart (Joe Crimmings was shooting free headshots for us!) and feeling pretty damn great because tallboy+friends+sunshine in a city I love is hard to beat.
It was a YNPN Des Moines event, and that evening I spent a few minutes talking with a writer from the National Journal (who is a pretty recent Drake grad) for what turned into this article: Do the Most Hipster Thing Possible – Move to Des Moines.
I think/write/talk a lot about how it was important for me, in choosing Des Moines, to try to create experiences. To be among the people working to make things happen. I thought that was how to grow as a leader. And it is, but it’s not the only way.
I’m inspired by amazing peers planning and executing events for the Des Moines Art Center and AIGA Iowa and DMMC and YPC and Market Day and so on, because there is so. much. going. on. here. It’s incredible. A crazy amount of behind-the-scenes work goes into any and all of these groups and activities.
Every single thing I’m involved in planning, from a smallish meeting to helping with big events like TEDxDesMoines or activities with YNPN Des Moines or for my job, is preceded with a pit in my stomach. Event planning is not something that comes naturally to me. Not as naturally as writing, at least. Let’s just say I’m not a spreadsheet-y person. It’s like stage fright meets addiction. When the event is happening/over, I get an adrenaline rush and it’s a relief and I accidentally start planning the next thing*. These opportunities are how I meet and work with different people and get a tiny taste of entrepreneurship. But it’s not the only way to engage.
I also want us to recognize the goers. Maybe you’re not quoted or profiled or on the board of anything, but you show up. There are people in our community who are amazing at attending and attending and attending. (I see you on Instagram at 15 evens in the time it takes me to cook dinner and get in my sweatpants and I bow to your endurance.) Those people build up our community as much or more than those of us who work in our niches.
I am not a great goer. Especially not since becoming a parent. All the sudden, I get it. How challenging it can be to support all of these worthwhile, interesting events in the mix of work and family and chores and going for a run so I can wear things other than sweatpants.
So I just want to say thanks to anyone and everyone who has ever come to anything I’ve put on. Here’s to all of the goers.
Save the date: Jan. 8, 2015 YNPN Des Moines will host our first Non-Conference at the Des Moines Social Club. It will explore topics in nonprofit management through the lens of art. So excited!