The Young Lions

I recently attended a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  Back in my political days, I would attend these gatherings of business and community leaders on a regular basis.  However, it has been years since I've done that.

Even though I'm no longer a political figure, I still enjoying a great networking opportunity. The Chamber luncheon provides a great venue to have compelling conversations and meet people who are passionately interested in the future of this community.  It was nice being there with absolutely no agenda or desired outcome and objectively listening and observing.

If you could go back in time to a similar luncheon; 5, 10, or 15 years ago, you would see what I saw.  There has been a complete shift in the influence structure of our community.  The young lions are rising up, getting their voices heard, and exerting the respect and influence they have earned in the trenches.

I don't deny, nor would I ever, that the big money players have faded away.  They are there, quietly doing what they do best:  running successful companies, making wise investments, and yes, reaping rewards born out of their skill, knowledge, and experience.  To some degree, these multi-millionaires have always stayed out of the light.  They prefer being unnoticed.

The ones who stand out, as I reflect on the event, are largely in their thirties and forties.  They come from all sectors: business, industry, government, public, and social profit.  I can picture them in my head working the room, exerting the influence they have earned over many years of hard work, volunteerism and leadership.  It was a refreshing scene.

As we anticipate a municipal election in the fall, my prediction is that you will see many of these young lions rise up and roar.  Their names will show up on the ballot in stronger numbers than we've seen before and they will likely be successful.  They are connected, passionate, smart and motivated.

Has this shift been accelerated because of the fire?  I would suggest that the answer is yes.  This is a time of tremendous change in our community, change that is far from over.  Those who have all the attributes I've listed above see the opportunity and they're going to grab it.  Meanwhile, I'll be on the sidelines cheering them on.


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