On Thursday, June 18, 2020, we took our 2nd Annual YPC Spotlight Awards virtual to recognize three ambitious young professionals making a positive impact on the Greater Philadelphia region as our Young Professionals of the Year.

We honored Sean Hand, Director – Business Development at KPMG, for his commitment to uplifting his peers and other young leaders across the city; many may know him as the founder of The Awkward Networker, a resource for young professionals to boost their networking prowess, and as our 2017-2018 Advisory Board Chair. We celebrated Will McGill, Senior Business Analyst at PECO, a leader that strives to work with his peers to improve his workplace by leading initiatives and starting dialogues. And, last but not least, we highlighted the achievements of Kathryn Whalin, Vice President | Relationship Manager at 1st Colonial Community Bank, who is an active volunteer, dedicating her time to coaching and mentoring youth in the region.

Each of our honorees has effectively exemplified a commitment to the four pillars of YPC: Lead, Develop, Network, and Volunteer. We rounded up their key advice on how they manage to do it.

What are some of the ways you balance and integrate work, volunteering, and life — how do you make it all happen?

Sean always has at least one goal he’s working towards.

One of my mentors told me that one of the keys to happiness is that you’re happiest when you’re making progress towards a goal. Keeping motivated, keeping yourself feeling like you’re here for a purpose even if that purpose isn’t saving the world.”

Will’s an adept communicator.

“Communication. Be open and honest with everyone — your boss, your loved ones — about where your priorities lie and make sure you know where your priorities lie.”

Kathryn prioritizes a daily agenda, which is especially important in uncertain times.

Keep a routine. I make sure that I still get up early in the morning, do my workout or go on a walk, have my coffee, and read the news… to decompress before starting and after ending my day.”

How do you maintain the energy to keep going?

Will keeps his friends, colleagues, and loved ones close.

“Surround yourself with the right people. I love the people that I work with. Keep your energy up by relying on the people that help keep you afloat. Stay involved in the community… with people that help you learn and grow.”

Kathryn also leans on her support group for help.

“Continue a sense of normalcy. If you haven’t heard from someone, check in on them. The city has changed a lot in a matter of months… if you have a day that you’re feeling down, reach out to your group and tell them how you feel.”

Sean doesn’t lose sight of his purpose.

“Make progress towards your goals. Create a new goal. Create a side motivation, create a side entrepreneurial mindset.”

Where do you see yourself and Philadelphia in five years?

Kathryn hopes to grow in her field and to see more people treating each other respectfully.

I’m going to continue to grow in my organization and keep setting higher goals for myself. I think we’ll all be in a growth spot in five years. We’re going to come out of this time stronger than ever. A lot is going to change. You’ll see a lot more people communicating, smiling at each other on the street, and shaking hands if we’re ever able to do that again. We’ve come a long  way. I hope to see Philadelpjhia prosper after this.

Will wants excel in his role at PECO and looks forward to the changes in the way we do business.

I’m looking forward to growing at PECO, learning more about the company, the industry, and how we can help serve our customers. I want to make more and more of an impact on [PECO] and Philadelphia as a whole. In terms of Philadelphia, I think it’s really only up from here. Innovation is going to come from this. We’re going to see things done in a completely different way. It’s been interesting to see how people have adapted and I think that’s only going to continue. People are going to start rethinking how business can be done and how to make a bigger impact.

Sean hopes have written two books, start up a speaking tour, and continue to support Philadelphia as a city of firsts.

I will have published two books. The first one will be out this year, the second one should be out in the next five years. And I’ll be on a speaking tour. As for Philadelphia… we’ve realized how much change can happen at a local level. City governments can do a lot and Philadelphia is a city of firsts. I’m eager to see what the next five years will bring.

The Young Professionals Council is committed to being a resource for Greater Philadelphia’s young leaders. We invite you to take a brief survey to let us know how we can best meet your professional and personal needs to help us as we continue to develop and implement new programs and opportunities for our members.