Written by Julianne Reichert, Duane Morris LLP

When asked to attend the 212th Annual Meeting of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) as a member of YPN’s Marketing & Social Media Committee, my initial thought was, “What can I gain from this experience?”

Attending the meeting was a great opportunity for exposure to over 1,300 community business leaders. After his enthusiastic opening, Rob Wonderling recognized the service of outgoing GPCC Board Chairman William P. Hankowsky, Chairman, President and CEO of Liberty Property Trust, and welcomed incoming chairman Daniel Fitzpatrick, GPCC Board Chairman, President and CEO of Citizens Bank and RBS for PA/NJ/DE Citizens. Dan commented that the GPCC’s main responsibility is to advocate on behalf of businesses in the region, to help them grow and reach their full potential. The new board members were also introduced, including YPN’s own chair and national marketing director of Liberty Property Trust, Stephanie Balan.

Another benefit of attending this meeting was the chance to watch Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent and host of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” speak firsthand. Andrea, a University of Pennsylvania alumna, credits Philadelphia as the place where her political roots began. She reflected on the recent passing of former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Arlen Specter and offered her input on the upcoming presidential election. She discussed how technology has changed quite a bit since she first began reporting on the elections. After summarizing key statistics, Andrea mentioned that none of her colleagues can predict the outcome of this election. She also encouraged voter education, citing the importance of young people and community leaders participating more in the political discussion.

As a YPN member, it’s important to push the envelope and go beyond your comfort zone by attending more GPCC events. It integrates you more effectively into the business community and is beneficial for long-term career development. I encourage my fellow YPN members to make it a goal to attend two or three chamber events a year. Just think, “What will you gain?”