Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reportback: Twin Cities Rotaract Club Cascading Conversations Tour Stop

The Minnesota Rising Cascading Conversations Tour has been making its way to emerging Minnesota leaders and their organizations throughout this past year. Earlier this month, members of Twin Cities Rotaract had a chance to connect one-on-one with each other and share their values and visions for the future of our state and communities. See below for a guest blog post and photos recapping the engaging and energizing conversation by 2012-2013 President, James Horsman!

The Twin Cities Rotaract Club had the pleasure of hosting Minnesota Rising’s Cascading Conversations Tour during its club meeting on Wednesday, November 14th at the Chatterbox Pub in St. Paul. Minnesota Rising founder, Diane Tran, facilitated the discussion as meeting participants were provided the opportunity to reflect on their passions for involvement in the community and how this enthusiasm can be turned into action that benefits the future of Minnesota. Diane began by leading an excellent discussion on the importance of the young professional community to share ideas about how to shape Minnesota’s future as its members begin to assume leadership positions at work, school, and in the political system.

The group then broke down into pairs to have a one on one conversation about what values are meaningful to them and how they have demonstrated these ideals through participation in organizations or the community in the past. Essential to this linkage between personal core values and putting them into action was identifying how trust is built. This connection was key as it allowed the participants to feel more comfortable in offering what drives their own value system while also reflecting on defining trust in the organizations that will implement these values into actions that shape Minnesota’s future. The closing segment was then to synthesize the participant’s engagement in ways that benefit Minnesota’s evolving future. The discussion was especially timely in the wake of the recent election that revealed how rapidly changing demographics and social attitudes continue to shape the political makeup, and therefore future vision, of both Minnesota and United States in general.

Once the individual conversation time was over, Diane asked for the participants’ feedback for the group. This discussion revealed a multitude of responses. Twin Cities Rotaractor, Andrew Mullan, talked about how spending time overseas on a service trip to Venezuela made him appreciate what Minnesota has to offer. He also spoke of the importance of listening to the viewpoints of others and respecting their point of view when seeking solutions to the challenges that Minnesota faces. The best solutions will be found through involvement in organizations that share this tolerance of ideas. Rotaractors and returning Peace Corps members, Dana Dallavalle and Nick Halbert, discussed their experiences in Central America in relation to their views of life in Minnesota. Dana shared how the fast-paced, increasingly timed life of Americans contrasted with the more relationship-based way of life she became so accustomed to during her time in Panama. In fact, the most common theme throughout the evening was the importance of taking time to get to know one another in a meaningful way on a one to one basis to understand each other’s point of view.

Minnesota enjoys a reputation of engagement, concern for the well-being of others, and civic pride. Our consistently high rates of volunteerism and voter participation prove this. While Minnesotans may not always agree on the outcomes, they agree in the power of having a voice. The expression of the collective voice is the direction of the state. Cascading Conversations such as these allows individuals to share their beliefs and ensure that the values of young Minnesotans become the future values of the state. Diane herself said it best after the meeting when she stated to the participants, “I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the fun things you're up to, the incredible recent accomplishments of your members, and the deep sense of commitment you each seem to have to the development of your lives and the lives of your communities.” As the conversation continues, this commitment is critical to developing and determining future leadership of Minnesota.

The Twin Cities Rotaract is dedicated to making our community a better place. Our club represents the best of the Twin Cities young professionals looking for opportunities in professional development, international travel, and community service. Visit us at or on Facebook or email me for more info.

James Horsman
President, Twin Cities Rotaract ’12-‘13

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