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NDD Ideas from St Louis FIRST team on 07/14/98 05:38:54 PM
To: Shlomo Y. Mantz/GenCounsel/EYLLP/US@EY-NAmerica, cc:
Subject: Re: NDD set-up

Well this is my first time responding to anything on a listserv, but I felt I could help answer some of your questions. First off, let me congratulate you on recognizing the need for diversity at the NDD events. And for recognizing the need to reach out to existing community groups. Both of which are activities we currently do in St. Louis, MO.

A little background.... Last year, I came across the NDD opportunity on another listserv. Thought "hey what a great opportunity for St. Louis to get involved in" and "there's no way I can do this on my own". I started making phone calls. I contacted the Young Democrats, the Young Republicans, St. Louis 2004 (a civic visioning group), CORO (a great resource and they have a branch in New York), Young Profressionals Group of Focus St. Louis, East St. Louis Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center and others to join in the planning of the event. THIS I THINK IS KEY.

The more stakeholders you involve in the planning and implementation of the event, the more successful it is. They have more ownership and want to see it succeed. I believe it is more powerful than simply inviting them to attend.

If you think about it, that is what FIRST has done to all of us....involve us on the local level, get us excited about the opportunities to unite our generation and then get us to come to Philadelphia for an annual conference --with some of us financing the trip out of our own pockets. If FIRST had just sent me an invitation out of the blue, I'm not sure I'd have been convinced that this was something I wanted to do. But instead...they got me involved locally.

This is what we want to do in St. Louis. Identify your partners---even the existing institutions probably have things like "the Young Friends of ..." Also, identify a young newspaper reporter in your area to cover your event. Maybe even invite him/her to some of your planning sessions. We had nice coverage here in St. Louis by a young writer.

Another aspect when involving others in your planning process and your NDD we use, is identify the national issue to be discussed and then localize it. What can you do in New York, St. Louis, Atlanta, Chicago to implement the solutions discussed. We did this last year with the Reinventing the American Dream? What did it mean to us as gen X'ers and what can we do in St. Louis to ensure that we each achieve the American dream we just identified. This also gives a great angle for the newspapers.

I must say St. Louis was pretty successful our first time out. We had about 40 people show up. It was on a Thursday. However, we recognize that there was a lot more we could do. This year we are reaching out to several more organizations to involve in the process to add to the diversity. We are trying to do more outreach in Illinois (we are a bi-state metropolitan region). And we have changed the date to a Saturday.

We do not charge people to come to NDD and we get people to donate items like sodas, notepads, pencils, conference space, girl scout cookies (a great resource...if you can contact your girl scout council, they have sampler cases they might donate...). The only thing we had to buy last year were the sandwiches and chips---couldn't get a grocery store to donate. Oh well, more luck this year.

Anyway, long and short of what I've been trying to say is...don't just invite them to come to the event...invite other groups to be involved in the planning and implementation of the event. It is really neat to see the synergy, the enthusiasm and the successful outcomes when you get a bunch of 'gen x slackers' all working together.

Sorry it took me so long to get to the point. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions, you can either e-mail the whole listserv or contact me directly at Have a great day.

Michelle Ratcliff St. Louis County Economic Council 121 S. Meramec Suite 900 St. Louis, MO 63105

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