Winston Churchill would be smiling today. He once said, “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you”. A couple of our Shapers got to experience this phenomenon first hand at Shape North America 2016: Bridging Purpose. With all of the negativity that fills our feeds on a daily basis: news, social media, etc., events like Shape North America are crucial for the advancement of our Hubs and for personal growth from our Shapers as well. Equally as incredible as the conversations, actions and innovative ideas that took place in Minneapolis (thanks for everything homies!) is the fact that although there is negativity all around us, we are part of a Global Community of young professionals that is committed to combating and defeating these forces with: positivity, love and a lot of bad ass people!

The event exceeded our wildest expectations and was one of the most powerful experiences that we’ve ever been a part of as a Hub. We met Shapers from all over North America, and the rest of the world as well: Chandirah, Lancaster, Oslow, Toronto, Montreal, Manila, Mexico City, San Francisco (pretty much our older sibling at this point), Seattle (ditto on the sibling thing), Milwaukie, New York City to name just a fraction of who showed up! Two things that are for sure: 1. These cities have incredible young professionals that are going to create a better world 2. These young professionals not only know how to: empathize, strategize, executing the impossible, and lead, we also know how to party (SHAPERS SHOTS).

While all of the aforementioned was awesome, it was the incredible content and agenda that the Minneapolis Hub provided that truly made this event so special. They set the pinnacle for Shape NA moving forward (no pressure: DC, SacTown, and Canada, also best of luck to all of you!).  It's not very often that you can get 130+ young professionals that are exceptional in their respective industries in the same room to discuss the issues that the world is dealing with (BLM, People who are experiencing homelessness, terrorism, ecological issues, gender equality, social justice, equal pay, blood donation crisis, worst refugee crisis since WW2... this list only scratches the surface of issues discussed). The process of flushing out issues was emotionally and intellectually invigorating. The calls to action upon returning to our communities are where the fruits of our labor will blossom.

It’s also not very often that you can get a group of 130+ 20-30 year olds in a room to stay focused, emotionally engaged, and expect them to come up with solution after solution in regards to the world’s greatest problems. With the Shapers Community that is not the case. We were fortunate to participate and have the options of so many thought provoking workshops, seminars, and speeches that covered so many different topics: identity driven leadership and how we can leverage that into social justice for our communities, how to cross-collaborate more effectively with other Hubs, how to stakeholder map, how to Side Hustle like a boss (check out Diversability, Tiffany Yu is a true definition of a boss), how to organize your community efficiently and powerfully, ShapeChange (helping social entrepreneurs from Minnesota improve upon their already amazing ideas), how to lead more authentically, and hearing Doug Baker (CEO of EcoLab) talk about the 5 myths to success were just a few of the opportunities that we were provided by the amazing Minneapolis Shapers.  

This trip was simply outstanding, inspiring and the experiences aforementioned do not do justice to how many learning opportunities there were. We cannot wait until next year already and in a few years, look forward to hopefully hosting Shape North America! Portland is a beautiful city and we have an open invitation to all Shapers who travel here to reach out whenever you are in need of assistance, or if you’re in the area (we have lots of beer and brunch options for you).

Churchill also stated once, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”. The dude knows stuff plain and simple. That quotation perfectly sums up the responsibility that Global Shapers now face. With so much discussion it’s time to execute, it’s on us to change this world and we’ve got the platform to do it. We have the support network of other Hubs, we have the plans hashed out, we have the people to do it, what we don’t have is time to waste.

***Portland Young Professionals***

 If this resonates with you, and you have a desire to be part of an incredible community of people, and you are in the Portland area, please don’t hesitate to apply to be a member on our website (pdxshapers.org) and Jesse Pyrch will reach out! We are always hosting meet and greets and will be participating in more and more volunteering events in the area. Be on the lookout for those opportunities and come meet the squad!