Introducing Hamilton HIVE’s 2016 Executive

A new year upon us, and with it comes a year full of possibility and opportunities for Hamilton’s young professionals. It also brings with it a new executive team for Hamilton HIVE, Hamilton’s umbrella organization for young leaders, professionals, and their groups.

This year, HIVE Vice Chair Alyssa Lai will take the helm from outgoing Chair Abigail Santos, and she’ll be joined by three new members, Michael Parente (Vice Chair, Chair Elect 2017), Saif Myageri (Secretary), and Luke Baylis (Treasurer).

Each member of the Hamilton HIVE Executive brings with him or her a unique set of skills and experiences that reflect the diversity of the HIVE’s 20+ member groups. Each brings a passionate voice and strong commitment to helping young professionals prosper and thrive in Hamilton.

Let’s meet the 2016 Hamilton HIVE Executive! Click on their names to learn more.

alyssa-5Alyssa Lai - HIVE Chair

Tell me about yourself and the unique experiences and skills you are bringing to HIVE.
I’m a communications and public relations professional working to advance nonprofits and their causes in Hamilton. Born and raised in Malaysia, I came to Canada as an international student in 2008 to pursue post-secondary education at McMaster University. In 2012, I graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in communication studies and theatre and film studies (say that ten times fast).

Since I’ve graduated, I’ve done work in news reporting, web development, graphic design, photography, social media and more. Currently, I work for three nonprofits: Information Hamilton, Hamilton Children’s Choir, and the Hamilton Community Foundation. Needless to say, I am proud and humbled to be working with organizations that are making the city a vibrant and inclusive place.

My first contact with Hamilton HIVE was in 2012, as a recent McMaster grad. Since then, I have had the pleasure of working with many talented young professionals, all who are just as dedicated to advancing Hamilton. In particular, my fellow exec members this year, Abigail, Abir, and John have taught me much, as we work together to further HIVE’s mission: to attract and retain young professionals in Hamilton. Along with HIVE’s 23 member groups, they’ve helped me better understand the resources and networks that young professionals of all backgrounds need in order to thrive.

With the invaluable knowledge and experience that I’ve gained through HIVE, combined with my skills in communications and lived experienced as a newcomer, I am confident that I have the skills and experiences necessary to thrive in the role as chair for HIVE. I look forward to learning from fellow young professionals and incoming exec members Michael, Saif and Luke to lead HIVE towards greater success.

As a young professional yourself, what issues and resources do you think are most crucial to young leaders, professionals, and their groups?
Young professionals care about the issues affecting the city they live in, whether it is affordable housing, complete streets, precarious employment, climate change, arts and culture or others. It is just as important to have various platforms for them to engage with those issues. I’m particularly proud that Hamilton HIVE has over 20 member groups that provide a range of opportunities for young professionals to engage with those issues.

While having access to opportunities, including volunteer and employment, is important, young professionals want to know what they can do in the community to better themselves and also frankly, have fun. I believe HIVE is a strong network that can provide a blend of all that.

Why is a network of young professionals especially important to the City of Hamilton?
Young professionals want to know that this is the city that they can thrive in, and contribute to. Equally important is for young professionals to know that there are others like them living and working in the city. Without knowing that, it is difficult to feel belonged or envision yourself living in this city. Sure, jobs keep young professionals in the city. But beyond that is a need for a network of individuals who have encountered challenges and opportunities that are unique to young professionals. This is important to attract and retain young talent who will become leaders of tomorrow.

I consider Hamilton HIVE to be a gateway to the above. We aim to bring together people from a wide range of backgrounds to exchange knowledge and resources through professional development and networking events. HIVE, as a collective of over 20 member groups, is a platform for young professionals to connect with and learn from one another.

What’s the best advice you can give to young professionals based on your own experiences?
Don’t think you have to “know it all” to get to where you want to be. Chances are, you don’t and never will.

Instead, continue to be curious and be a learner for life. Have a goal to work towards, but also don’t be afraid to pivot because careers are non-linear. Sometimes, it’s ok to go on the road not taken, because you never know where it may take you. Take it from someone who wanted to be a prof, but have instead forgone grad school and started working in nonprofit. In hindsight, that pathway I chose has made all the difference because working at a grassroots level in the community I live in has taught me many life lessons, which I can then apply when I do become a teacher.

As Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

Trust that it will all make sense when you look back in your life to connect the dots.

Fast forward to this time next year. What do you hope to have achieved at HIVE during 2016. 
Through HIVE, I want to continue to offer value to member groups and young professionals who have participated in HIVE events and initiatives. This means being creative and thoughtful in HIVE’s programming and also drawing on our member groups’ expertise to enhance any HIVE initiative.

Recognizing that the young professionals that HIVE serves (aged 18-39) are of different stages in their lives, I want to ensure that HIVE’s programming take into consideration the varying needs of a young professional. My goal is to have HIVE become the go-to organization for any young professional looking to further their lives and careers in the city.

 
 
 
 
 

Michael Headshot HIVEMichael Parente - HIVE Vice Chair

Tell me about yourself and the unique experiences and skills you are bringing to HIVE.

I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Political Science, and halfway through a PhD I decided it was not my passion. I have found communications and public relations to be a field that I love, rich with possibility and continual learning. I have experience in education and sales and have developed direct communications skills, particularly in relation to crafting messages for different audiences. I hope to help HIVE better communicate with its key audiences including its member groups and the young professionals who are working through different levels of their professional development. At this crucial time in HIVE’s development, I want to help bring clarity and consistency to its communications.

As a young professional yourself, what issues and resources do you think are most crucial to young leaders, professionals, and their groups?

Young professionals can become overwhelmed with all the different organizations and resources that are available to them in their unique fields. Bringing those resources together in one place and giving them the real opportunities to get to the next level of their professional development (whether that is getting a job or learning a new skill set) is crucial.

Why is a network of young professionals especially important to the City of Hamilton?

Everybody is starting to understand that Hamilton is undergoing a renaissance in terms of economic development. As the city attracts more young professionals, it will become equally important to retain them. In an abstract way, a network of young professionals in Hamilton creates a sense of belonging. More practically, it means that they don’t have to look elsewhere to find the resources they need to grow professionally.

What’s the best advice you can give to young professionals based on your own experiences?

I changed directions after several years of education in a specific field, but it took a relatively short time to redirect into a completely different field. The resources and opportunities are definitely out there, but you need to seize them. More than ever before, there are groups and associations like HIVE that play a crucial facilitating role to that end.

Fast forward to this time next year. What do you hope to have achieved at HIVE during 2016.

By this time next year, I want our member organizations and our young professional demographic to have clear ideas about what HIVE can do for them. In practical terms, this means becoming the go-to expert resource for young professionals in Hamilton, bar none. From board meetings to social media platforms and the annual HIVEX Conference, I want our audiences to have no doubt about the full value of what HIVE offers.

 
 
 
 
 

Saif HeadshotSaif Myageri — HIVE Secretary

Tell me about yourself and the unique experiences and skills you are bringing to HIVE.

I moved to Hamilton in 2011 from Toronto, and it took me no time to become extremely fond of this city and its culture. Budding with potential, Hamilton has a lot to offer to all young professionals like me who are looking forward to starting their careers.

I am a Software Engineering student at McMaster who is passionate about volunteering and community engagement. My four years at McMaster have provided me with several opportunities to grow as a leader and I have learnt the importance of expanding one’s connections. I look forward to bringing some of these skill sets to Hamilton HIVE. I am certain that we can continue the progress that has been made in building a strong foundation for the city of Hamilton and for the young professionals of Hamilton.

As a young professional yourself, what issues and resources do you think are most crucial to young leaders, professionals, and their groups?

It is of vital importance that young professionals are provided with the resources that will help them transition smoothly after graduation. Hamilton HIVE has done a great job at providing the YPs of Hamilton a better opportunity to connect with the employers. Providing young professionals with the platform to showcase their skills will be beneficial for their development and make life post graduation a less daunting experience.

Why is a network of young professionals especially important to the City of Hamilton?

The youth are the driving force behind any economy and Hamilton has no shortage of talented young professionals. Building a network of young professionals is vital in ensuring that new ideas and innovations are brought to this city.

What’s the best advice you can give to young professionals based on your own experiences?

Based on my experiences, I would say that I’ve failed mostly as a result of not asking for help when I needed it the most. There are always people willing to help and there is always scope to learn despite all the failures! So don’t be afraid to seek help because we are a strong community who are willing to help each other become better than our former selves!

Fast forward to this time next year. What do you hope to have achieved at HIVE during 2016.

I hope to have strengthened my connections with like minded individuals across the city and to have provided myself with the opportunity to learn from everyone involved at Hamilton HIVE. I also hope to have helped Hamilton HIVE become the best organization for young professionals to go to for help.

 
 
 
 
 

Luke BaylisLuke Baylis — HIVE Treasurer

Tell me about yourself and the unique experiences and skills you are bringing to HIVE.

My name is Luke Baylis and I am a leader. I take great pride in my work ethic and enjoy problem solving. Hamilton has become the place I now call home; I got involved in HIVE because I want to make a difference.

I am an avid golfer. Before studying the Financial Services program at Mohawk College, I studied economics in the USA on a golf scholarship. I have not had the time play competitively in a few years, but I still enjoy the game and try to play as often as possible. Some other hobbies of mine include fishing, and reading business/leadership books. My favourite book would be Good to Great by Jim Collins. I could not properly answer this question without mentioning my obsession for the Toronto Blue Jays. I enjoy watching baseball so much because it fulfills my love for sports and statistics.

I will be starting my career in May 2016 as a financial advisor after I finish serving my term as president of the Mohawk Students’ Association. No I am not a politician; I am an elective representative who serves the student body. The reason I want to be a financial advisor is simple. I can help make clients reach their dreams. Everyone has different needs. Being able to listen, communicate, and understand those needs will allow me to properly advise clients on strategies to achieve their goals. The financial services industry also rewards hard workers like myself with fair compensation. This is a career that allows me to make a good living and help others. It does not get any better than that.

Two things at HIVE I want to focus on are HIVEX and fundraising. I have ideas for both and look forward to sharing my ideas with the executive and Board. Once things are approved, I look forward to sharing with our entire network of young professionals.

As a young professional yourself, what issues and resources do you think are most crucial to young leaders, professionals, and their groups?

I do not feel the need to speak to what issues are most important to the different groups of young professionals. Each group understands itself way better then I do. What I can do is help groups by using my networks to introduce people who can help with whatever the issue may be.

Why is a network of young professionals especially important to the City of Hamilton?

Young professionals in Hamilton are so important because of the amount of change that is taking place. The physical changes are the easiest to notice. The culture that Hamilton has and the pride that Hamiltonians have is nothing short of incredible.

The size of Hamilton is perfect for young professionals. I mean, what other city do you have the opportunity to network with executives of large companies who are willing to listen and mentor you? I’m not saying other cities do not have good leaders, but looking through a holistic lens, Hamilton has great leaders who want to develop young leaders all over the city.

What’s the best advice you can give to young professionals based on your own experiences?

The best advice I can give young professionals.

  1. Be yourself and have confidence in your abilities.
  2. Don’t be out worked by anybody. This includes everything from preparation to execution.
  • Focus on the process. Far too often, the results are not in your control, and that’s okay. Focus on what you can do, set SMART goals, and accept the result knowing you did everything in your power. This includes failure; I have failed at many things in my life. Make adjustments, and try again. I love learning from mistakes.
  1. Have a healthy work-life balance. This is different for everybody, and it can change over time.
  2. Be a leader. Leaders are not based on titles. Leading is about doing and helping others do. It is important to respect the titles people have earned. Respect a person’s job title and don’t fear it. At the end of the day, we are all human.

 

Fast forward to this time next year. What do you hope to have achieved at HIVE during 2016.

To answer this question I will be taking my own advice (question 4). As long as I focus on the process the results will follow. I am looking forward to a great year!

Jessica Rose

Jessica Rose is a writer, editor, and social-media coordinator who lives and works in Hamilton's downtown core. Since earning a degree in journalism from Carleton University, Jessica has written for many publications in Hamilton and across Canada. She is the Director of Programming for gritLIT: Hamilton's Readers and Writers Festival, a Living Arts blogger for the Hamilton Arts Council, and the writer of "Shelf Life," her column in Hamilton Magazine. Outside of gritLIT, Jessica is the Public Relations Chair for Hamilton HIVE young professional organization. For more, visit www.notmytypewriter.com or find Jessica on twitter at @NotMyTypewriter.

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