Interviewed by: Maureen Pinchock, Corporate Communications Lead, DLL
Manager for Business Partnerships
Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN)
Festo Okidi works at the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) as the Manager for Business Partnerships. PYN is an intermediary organization dedicated to equipping young people with skills to accomplish academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal future success.
He has been with PYN since 2009, the same year he joined YPN. His involvement with YPN began with the volunteer committee which he co-chaired between 2012 and 2013. Thereafter, he served as YPN Vice Chair in 2013 to 2014.
When you moved to Philadelphia, what was one of the most surprising things you learned about the city?
I really love the different neighborhoods that Philadelphia has to offer, and how different each one is. You can have a completely different experience from one neighborhood to another. I love seeing the different cultures, the undiscovered history, and the food: it is so diverse.
Besides joining YPN, what is one thing you would recommend to a person who is new to the city?
It would be great if more young professionals became more civically engaged. As millennials, we need to take opportunities to be engaged and learn more about the City of Philadelphia, and how can all work together to create shared ownership over the neighborhoods we live in. The last election was very telling, we cannot continue to expect our voices to be heard if we do not take the initiative to get involved.
As this year’s YPN Chair, can you share some of the things you found most impactful for members
Representing YPN was a responsibility that affected me professionally and personally. Wherever I went it was a reflection that I represented over 1,500 young professionals in the region which helped me mature professionally. Over the past year I was able to put more of a focus on making sure members got the best experience with our programming.
One example of that was through the Chamber’s “Roadmap for Growth” campaign which sparked a dialogue about economic growth issues, job creation and the election for Mayor of Philadelphia. I got to see how people felt differently about various issues. It really opened my eyes to see how important specific topics were to each person, all representing different parts of the city.
Another area that impacted me this year was when we volunteered to cook meals for families in need at the local Ronald McDonald House.
Are there any books that have inspired you that you recommend we add to the YPN Professional Development Bookshelf?
It Worked for Me, by Colin Powell. The reason I love this book is because Colin Powell is a true inspiration to all. His life and career has always impressed me. He has maintained a position of respect/stature after being part of huge historical events for the US.
212 Degrees, by Sam Parker. This book is great because it focuses on how to achieve results beyond your wildest expectations.