LiveKC Initiative Aims to Attract Millennials to Kansas CityWhen most people think of a young, hip city, New York or Chicago come to mind — not Kansas City. To change that, a group of companies, including Burns & McDonnell, recently teamed up to form LiveKC, an initiative aimed at attracting millennials to Kansas City — and keeping them here.

The group comprises representatives from each of the founding partners and sponsors and regularly meets to discuss ways to engage millennials and plan events attractive to them. I’m excited to be among the LiveKC ambassadors who get to support and promote this fun initiative.

What’s So Cool About Millennials Anyway?

The millennial generation is one of the largest, with 80 million people in the United States and 2.5 billion people worldwide, compared to Baby Boomers at 76.4 million and Gen Xers at 41 million. This dominant generation is the most diverse and socially connected generation yet and aspires to make a meaningful difference. By 2030, they will make up 75 percent of the workforce. While Kansas City has a strong millennial presence, it’s essential to continue building a community in which they feel they can thrive in order to remain competitive with larger cities.

How LiveKC Is Changing the City

The goal is simple: Make Kansas City a more fun place to live, work and play. How? By planning awesome events and highlighting Kansas City’s greatest attributes. Since forming in September, LiveKC has hosted three smaller events in conjunction with major Kansas City happenings (Live Outside the Lines, Smash KC and Eve KC). Coming up later this week, the group will put on its first major event on the lawn of the Liberty Memorial: The Fiery Stick Open. This isn’t your typical networking event — and it’s one that you won’t want to miss. Organizers aim to create an atmosphere that mimics that of the 16th hole of the Phoenix Open PGA tournament, which has been described as a “haven for lunatics and loudness.” Check it out.

Get Involved

If you’re a millennial in Kansas City, or thinking about moving to Kansas City, join the movement and help us make Kansas City even better. Check out the LiveKC website and click “join the movement” to sign up. You will be the first to receive an invite to events, discounts and information about the latest and greatest in the City of Fountains. You can also check us out on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Elle Jenkins is a communications coordinator at Burns & McDonnell. She’s passionate about storytelling, strategizing and connecting with others through writing and marketing. And she’s one of the first LiveKC ambassadors. If you’d like to learn more about LiveKC, you can get the scoop from Elle by connecting with her on LinkedIn.

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Business Essentials: Tips for Successful Professional Networking

by The Burns and McDonnell Careers Team on June 25, 2014

Business Essentials: Tips for Successful Professional NetworkingNetworking is essential in the business world, yet many dread networking events. To help ease the pain and awkwardness, we asked several members of our team to share their best networking advice. Here are their tips for how to prepare for an event, conversation dos and don’ts, and advice for following up after a networking event.

BERFORE AN EVENT

How do you prepare for an event?

I study the attendee list and my notes about the individuals attending (if I’ve met them before), and also take a look at their current projects. I also check what the appropriate dress will be, ensure that I have enough business cards on hand, and grab a pen and notecards so I can jot down notes at the event. – Parker Gregg, Business Development Manager in Houston

CONVERSATION TIPS

What are some tips on networking during an event?

If you’re uncomfortable walking up to strangers, have a co-worker make your introduction. I also recommend collecting business cards and taking notes on topics discussed, especially time-sensitive items that require immediate correspondence. And if you get a question you don’t know the answer to, that’s only normal. We can’t all be experts on everything. Make sure you try and introduce them to a colleague or someone else in the industry who can provide the correct answer or look into it promptly after the event and get back to them. – Laura Drescher, Assistant Environmental Engineer in Kansas City

We all recognize that networking events can be uncomfortable and awkward. Many of us don’t feel comfortable striking up a conversation with a complete stranger, but the thing I always remind myself is that everyone else in the room is in the same boat as me. If you bite the bullet and be the first one to strike up a conversation, it’s a sign of self-confidence. The more confident and outgoing you are, the more relaxed others are going to be and the easier striking up conversation is going to be — for everyone. The most difficult part of any journey is getting started, so just dive in — take the first step in these situations and introduce yourself. It can go a long way in making the other person feel more comfortable. – Chris Woolery, College Recruiter in Kansas City

What is the worst networking line you’ve ever heard?

I’m a recruiter, so I’ve heard more than my share of networking lines over the course of my career. One of the most cringeworthy is “Do you remember me?” That question immediately puts pressure on person to whom the question has been posed and can pretty much be a guarantee that you’ll start the conversation on an awkward note. If you think you’ve met someone before but aren’t sure if they’ll remember you, just kick off the conversation by saying, “Hi [insert name]. I’m [insert name] with [insert company]. I think we might’ve met briefly at [insert networking event], but I’m not 100% sure. How have you been?” – Lauren Bertram, Recruitment Manager in Kansas City

What is your go-to conversation starter?

I like to put people at ease because I think it makes conversation, especially with a stranger, easier and more relaxed. So my strategy is to ask people about themselves — their job, background, family, hobbies, etc., and then let the conversation flow naturally from there. It makes everything easier! – Rachel Thompson, Environmental Engineer in Kansas City

My go-to conversation starter is “What do you do?” If you can get someone to talk about themselves they’ll be comfortable, open up more easily, and it’ll help the rest of the conversation go more smoothly. – Chris Woolery

What’s your biggest networking don’t?

My biggest piece of advice when it comes to networking is to not be self-centered. Don’t dominate the conversations you’re involved in, instead, make sure you focus and listen to others. It’s important to be interested in what they have to say. – Jason Dunn, Human Resources Generalist in Wallingford, Conn.

FOLLOWING UP

What do you do after an event?

When I attend an event, I try to follow up as quickly as possible with all the people I’ve met. I try to schedule meetings based on any conversations I had with prospective customers so that I can strike while the iron is hot (and they still remember me!). I also try to send notes to colleagues about anything pertinent I learned and write thank you notes where appropriate. – Parker Gregg

I think it’s super important to try and connect with people I’ve met at an event on LinkedIn. Also, if I grabbed their business card, I try to shoot them an email to tell them how much I enjoyed meeting them. Both of these things are easy to do and go a long way toward helping you build your network. – Lauren Bertram

How do you maintain professional relationships and start new ones?

When it comes to building relationships with existing clients, potential clients, competitors, vendors and regulators, getting involved in professional societies has been extremely beneficial for me. As a result of my involvement in these societies, each time I attend a conference or event, I already know at least a handful of people in the room who are more than willing to introduce me to others. – Laura Drescher

When I meet new people, one of my goals is to try to exchange emails with them after the fact. This is a small step and doesn’t take much time, but it’s a great opportunity to build relationships, discuss possible business opportunities and share information. – Rachel Thompson

There you have it. Networking advice from myriad folks within our organization. What about you? What are your favorite networking tips? We’d love to hear them.

Other resources on this topic:

The Burns & McDonnell Careers Blog: 3 Networking Tips to Help Build Relationships

The Burns & McDonnell Careers Blog: Networking Tips for Introverts from an Introverted Engineer

Inc: Networking Tips: Go from Awkward to Awesome

photo credit: Petter Palander Flickr cc

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Burns & McDonnell’s Minneapolis-St. Paul Office Earns Top Workplaces ‘Three-Peat’

June 23, 2014

After starting out small with just two employees in 2007, our Minneapolis-St. Paul office staff has grown to 74 in seven years. One reason for the explosive growth: a healthy and welcoming work environment. But don’t just take my word for it — the Star Tribune recently named our office to its Top Workplaces list, [...]

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Get Surge Hiring Right the First Time

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Surge hiring isn’t something that has a lot of airtime in the business world these days. But sometimes, a business needs to rapidly expand its team — maybe due to sudden growth or landing a major new contract. Whether you need to hire 15 people or 500, failing to plan ahead can leave you spinning [...]

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The Best Career Advice I Ever Received

June 17, 2014

Whether you’re just starting out in your professional career or have several years of experience under your belt, a little career advice from seasoned pros from time to time can help keep you inspired and motivated. So we asked several of our A/E/C professionals to share thoughts and career advice that helped get them where [...]

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15 Steps to Getting the Most from Your Next Engineering Conference

June 3, 2014

Attending conferences can offer many benefits — both professional and personal — and open up opportunities for engineering professionals. Bouncing ideas off other engineers and catching up with the latest industry developments can not only increase your knowledge, it can also improve your standing in the engineering community and help advance your career. Here are [...]

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