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SFNet Committee Spotlight: YoPro Committee 2020
By Eileen Wubbe
TSL: What would you say has been the best part of chairing the YoPro Committee? The most challenging?
Will Bence: The best part, by a wide margin, has been working with the incredible volunteers at the SFNet, both at the Executive Committee level and at the YoPro Committee level. It is great to get differing perspectives and learn from this group. Chairing the YoPro Committee has provided me unique access to work and interact with the leaders in our industry.
As for the YoPro Committee, we have been spending much of this year planning the first-ever virtual YoPro Leadership Summit (August 26-27). We have a fantastic group of volunteers, led by Kat Parker of HYPERAMS and Karen Marino of North Mill Capital. Both Kat and Karen have been instrumental in planning and leading the Summit this year.
The most challenging part has been finding the time, but our YoPro Committee consists of passionate and dedicated volunteers who help ease the workload. We have also had to navigate around the “new normal.” The pivot to a virtual conference has not been easy, but we worked diligently to ensure it remained an incredible and valuable conference for the YoPro community.
How did you get involved in the YoPro Committee? What made you decide to take on the chair role?
I was introduced to the YoPro Committee by Rob Meyers of Republic Business Credit. Rob had worked with the SFNet to create the YoPro Committee and was seeking additional support. It was an exciting opportunity to help build this group. I had previously served on the Education Committee, which helped ease the transition into this role. I was able to work with and learn from Rob as he led the YoPro group over the last few years.
The chair role was an attractive opportunity not only to give back to SFNet, but also help build on what Rob had created in the national YoPro platform for SFNet. This was a group and committee that did not exist four years ago, but in a short time we have hosted two successful YoPro Leadership Summits in Chicago in 2018 and 2019 and hosted the third annual Summit this year virtually. It has also been a wonderful way to grow existing relationships in our industry and create new ones as well.
How do you manage to juggle your full-time “day job” along with the required time for involvement in a Committee?
Finding time is always a struggle. I will say the Committee has the full support of the SFNet team in New York as well as a wonderful group of members that graciously volunteer their time. These are both a giant help. Everyone in the group brings specific strengths to the team which have collectively helped to drive a fun and successful YoPro Committee. This is certainly not a role I could do alone. Also, daycare reopening for our one-year-old son has helped tremendously.
What advice would you give to those who may be a member of an SFNet committee, but want to become more involved in a chair or sub-committee chair role?
Speak up. Raise your hand to volunteer and ask for the opportunity. SFNet is always looking for motivated members within the industry to step up and help lead the way moving forward. SFNet offers a variety of committees to best fit one’s interest, from Education, Women in Secured Finance, YoPro, among many others. Decide what you are passionate about and get more involved in a leadership capacity. I have found the role to be fulfilling both personally and professionally and I know others have had the same positive experience.
What are your goals for the YoPro Committee in 2021?
Goal number one, two, and three is to get back to an in-person YoPro Leadership Summit in 2021. We hosted two outstanding in-person events in Chicago the last two years. Last year’s event featured over 150 YoPros from around the country. I am optimistic this will happen. This year was a bit of a curveball, given the virtual format, but we still feel it provided a great experience to the attendees.
We also have a focus on building YoPro participation at the national level overall. This includes driving attendance and participation at the major SFNet events, including the ABCC in Las Vegas and Annual Convention. These are marquee events and should include the next generation of industry leaders. We are working on creative ways to help drive this and encourage more YoPro participation. Stay tuned.
Lastly, we hope to build on the success of the quarterly e-newsletter that Will Kemp from Republic Business Credit helped to create. This is a great way to provide valuable content to the YoPro community while also highlighting YoPro members.
When you are not busy at Wingspire Capital or with SFNet, what can you be found doing?Our son, Warren, turned one in early August, and he accounts for the majority of our free time. He is fully running around now so we have to keep a close eye on him. One major positive on the cutdown of travel has been being able to spend more time with my son than I would have been able to pre-COVID. He is at a fun age and discovering something new every day. I also try to stay active by playing in weekly basketball and softball leagues. Golf has become less frequent, but I try to get out when time perm