SGForum 2020: Be a Part of the Story

SGForum 2020 was definitely one for the books! With nearly 500 joining us virtually, we provided professional, personal and community development through a variety of sessions, and talked all about the power of storytelling.

We kicked off the day by hearing from Jason Roberts with the Better Block Foundation, who talked to us about creating the place we dream of living in, not in decades, but days. His talk encouraged young professionals to make change in your community and not to wait around for others to do something. “If you’re passionate about something you have everything it takes to be a leader.”

Our first mini session was titled, There’s No Place Like SGF. During this fast-paced session, we got to hear from five young professionals on how they are building the life they dream of in Springfield. From mural festivals to musicians, we are grateful these young professionals choose this community to make change and make it a better place. According to Brandy Harris with the Boys & Girls Club of Springfield, “Why do I stay in Springfield? It’s a town with a heartbeat that helps keep people alive. This town, and the people in it, built me.”

The next mini session, SGF: A Place For You & Me, featured a panel of young professionals who are a part of the inclusion and diversity story in 417-land. They shared stories of how they are ensuring all young professionals have a seat at the table and a chance to shape the future of our community. We learned that representation matters and mentorship is hugely valuable. In order to move forward, Christa Moss shared, “I think we need to stop apologizing and start working on what we’ve learned in the past to change our future.”

Our last mini session, Once Upon a Time in SGF, was all about using stories to inspire, connect and persuade. Two local storytellers took the stage to share about how their experiences, personally and professionally have taught them how to use stories in all aspects of life. Sarah Jenkins, with Mostly Serious Interactive Agency, shared three storytelling lessons from sketch comedy: have a unique point of view, heighten the joke and subvert expectations. She used these lessons to get more young professionals to vote through her initiative, SGFing Vote. Logan Aguirre, with 417 Magazine, closed out the session by sharing how she and her team at 417 decide if a story is worth sharing in their publication or not. She used their criteria to help us think about how we can persuade others to love SGF by sharing our own SGF love letters.

We ended the day by hearing from Beth Silvers with Pantsuit Politics, who joined us virtually to talk about how we can still listen to each other, even when we disagree. A few of our top takeaways from her talk were: disagreement is inevitable and important, asking questions is a great way to move forward, even if what you think they are saying is “totally bananas”, and “get stronger by giving grace, to yourself and to your co-workers.”

We never wanted the day to end because it was so good, but we learned a lot and are looking forward to gathering again in 2021. Thank you to everyone who joined us, and to our sponsors for making this amazing day possible!

If you missed the event, or can’t get enough of it, you can view the recording of the full day below.

You can also watch the individual sessions at the links below: