The Commission

Local Young Professionals Group Celebrates Five Year Anniversary

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Last week The Commission, a Rochester-based young professionals’ group, celebrated their five-year anniversary. Launched around a table in 2013, The Commission has undergone many transformations since that point. This nonprofit organization serves as a vital connector for young professionals in Rochester to facilitate community involvement, networking, and collaboration.  

As part of this celebration last week at Pure Rock Studios, The Commission honored four individuals in the community.

Collider Coworking Community Manager Jamie Sundsbak won the “Connector of the Year” award. Jamie has brought knowledge and experience from other entrepreneurial communities to Rochester. He always finds time to meet with individuals to assess their needs and help to connect them to vital resources in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Leah Joy Bee, Owner at Canvas and Chardonnay, received the “Giver of the Year” Award. Leah hosts weekly events at her downtown business to highlight local talent and frequently donates her studio space for community causes. Leah plays a significant role in the local arts and culture scene and helps to make “dreams become reality for creative souls in our community.”

Kady Olson, owner of Wholistic Family Chiropractic, won the “Startup of the Year” award. As a newcomer to the Rochester community, Kady has built her practice patient by patient. She also invests much of her time to community outreach, education, and networking to grow her business.

Julie Brock, Executive Director at Cradle to Career, received the “I.M.P.A.C.T. Award.” As a workforce development professional and educator, Julie “inspires her students to think critically, write deeply, and give kindness out freely.” Julie is currently leading a brand-new initiative with Cradle to Career to improve educational outcomes in Rochester.

Congrats to The Commission (and all the Awardees) on reaching this milestone. Here’s to year number six!

#Emerge Episode 18 with Grace Pesch and Crystal Heim

This week on #Emerge we sit down with Grace Pesch and Crystal Heim of The Commission Executive Team. This week we talk about initiatives in Rochester that Grace and Crystal are excited about. We also chat about some women-focused programming that these ladies are developing in the community, including their first roundtable discussion coming up on June 12th. Tune in to the video to learn more.

“There’s a lot of things that women juggle and things that they face. We need to come together and talk about it and how to deal with it.” -Crystal Heim

How to Develop Your Personal Brand: A Lesson from Local Experts

Sidewalk art (with photo filter) by Eric Anderson.

Sidewalk art (with photo filter) by Eric Anderson.

This Wednesday The Commission, a Rochester-based young professionals group, held their latest Professional Development Panel discussing how to develop personal image. The expert panel included: Michael Wojcik, Rochester City Council Representative and owner of Elite Consulting; Sarah Miller, brand strategist and owner of White Space; and Christian Mogensen, Interactive Media Director at Think Mutual Bank.

Here’s what these local authorities had to say about personal branding, personal vision, and how to develop as a young professional in any community.


What is a personal brand?

A personal brand can be thought of as your legacy. It’s what you want to be known as and what you stand for as an individual.

Are personal brand and personal vision the same thing?

They are related but separate entities. A brand is like your personal theme, which develops from self-discovery. Brand also is a type of promise. How well you keep that promise becomes your reputation. Personal vision is more forward thinking and encompasses your ultimate goals and desired accomplishments.


Did you sit down and write out your personal vision or did it develop over time?

Personal brand and personal vision can change based on experiences, passions, and opportunity. Typically, our branding and personal vision development starts at a very young age when we don’t really know much about ourselves as individuals. When you develop more experience or desire to leave the safety net of an employer or perhaps even a field that you’re highly trained in to seek out something more rewarding, you’ll likely need to re-invest in yourself and develop a different, more focused vision and brand. Part of this involves learning your strengths and weaknesses and following your assets down a singular path.


How do you seek out mentors to help develop your personal brand and vision?

Look for mentors in roles that you aspire to hold some day. But mentors that failed to reach these positions might be even more valuable and have many lessons to pass on. Remember that mentorship can develop from unexpected people, so don’t close yourself off to opportunities. Always keep in mind that mentors provide opinions; you have to process feedback from these mentors and understand how it applies to you, personally.


How do you seek clarity in your personal vision?

Remember that learning is a lifelong activity. We often choose fields of study, such as during college, without really knowing ourselves. What you studied or were trained in doesn’t define you. Your actions “on the field” are what people will remember. Don’t be afraid to re-invent yourself and keep learning and exploring as an individual.

Hallmarks of Contemporary Leadership Brought into Focus at Recent Young Professional Development Panel

Last week The Commission, a non-profit organization for young professionals in Rochester, held their second Professional Development Panel, providing an in-depth, open discussion surrounding leadership.

The panel included three long-time Rochester residents and established young leaders themselves: Becca Stiles-Nogosek, Development Events and Volunteer Coordinator at Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester; Angela Mattson, Nurse Administrator for the Division of Integrated Behavioral Health at Mayo Clinic; and Nick Pompeian, commercial real estate broker and owner of Realty Growth Incorporated.

Here are the highlights from the panel discussion, addressing the definition of leadership and what it takes to be a leader in today’s professional environment.