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By: Bridget Ebner, Content Marketing Intern

From June 24 to July 2, 2017, Engage! Cleveland hosted the fourth annual Cleveland Young Professionals Week presented by KeyBank, the largest event in its industry hosted by a nonprofit organization. Over a span of nine days, there were more than 2,000 young professionals in attendance.
During the week, Engage! Cleveland hosted 33 events for young professionals in the Cleveland area to attend. Cleveland’s young professionals were given the opportunity to network with their peers and community leaders, all while exploring the plethora of opportunities that our beloved city has to offer.

I attended the sold-out event entitled “Cleveland: City of Champions Panel Discussion” with some of my coworkers at NCM. The event had an all-star panel, that provided us with great knowledge and inspiring takeaways. Chairman and CEO of the Cleveland Indians,Paul Dolan, CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, David Gilbert and Cleveland Cavaliers & Quicken Loans Arena CEO,Len Komoroski spoke about how 2016 was the year of championships and how Cleveland has grown into such a thriving city with a vibrant community.

All three of the men offered their words of wisdom to the audience of young professionals. Here are some of the impactful words that the Cleveland panel of royalty had to say:

“The path you’re on right now is probably not going to lead you to where you think you’re going, so take chances.” -Paul Dolan

So often, we think we know the exact path we’re on. And so often, life throws curveballs at us that we never expected. If your set plan goes differently than you hoped, shake it off and roll with the punches. Just because you didn’t get that position you desperately wanted doesn’t mean your life is over. Look at the positive side — by getting denied you are able to explore other opportunities you never would have considered. Do not close yourself off to different opportunities. Instead, embrace them, and think of the wonderful experience you will gain by trying something different. You have plenty of time to figure out your life, so take chances, make mistakes and learn. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

“As much as I love Pittsburgh three rivers cannot compete with a Great Lake.” -Len Komoroski

My mom has always said, “Never forget where you came from.” Better advice has never been given. My mom was born and raised in Cleveland, and at one time lived in Washington D.C., our nation’s capital, but decided to move home because she said no city compares to Cleveland. She has instilled in me that no matter where life takes me, to always appreciate the place that made you into the person you are today. It is also very important to connect with fellow Clevelanders and to support one another. Share your strengths and talents, and offer to help each other. This city will be even greater with an even tighter knit community.

“It doesn’t have to be The Art Museum or Cavs, it can be your favorite sandwich at Melt. Whatever it is, hashtag it and put it out to the world.” -David Gilbert

Social media has played such a large role in our generation. It takes less than a second to post our thoughts, feelings and opinions online, reaching all of our followers and friends. Instead of tweeting about how the traffic downtown during a Cavs game is crazy, tweet about how lucky you are to live in such an exciting city. When you go to post that picture of you and your friends at the Indians game, include what restaurant downtown you ate at before the game or how much the city means to you. Take pride in your city and all the amenities it has to offer. Don’t stay quiet about your love for Cleveland. Whether you’re 216, 440 or 330, don’t be afraid to voice your love for our beautiful city to anyone and everyone.