By Lindsay Alderman

Last week, in our nation’s capital; all eyes were on the Des Moines community and the collective voice we brought to Washington D.C. Through top notch leadership and execution, the Greater Des Moines Partnership delivered an extremely well-orchestrated event, bringing together our elected officials with individuals from nearly every possible background: civic and community leaders, schools and universities, business owners and large corporations, non-profits and entrepreneurs.

The trip and discussion points were framed around the current Capital Crossroads Vision and our goal was to advocate collectively on matters affecting all of us Central Iowans such as: Expanding Central Iowa’s economy through international trade options, The future of National Health Care, Immigration Reform, How to leverage Federal Resources for the Central Iowa Bio Science Corridor, Interconnecting Federal K-12 Education Policy with Iowa’s reform efforts, and many, many others.

We held discussions with panelists that were experts in their field, had breakfast at the Hart Senate office with Senator Grassley, Senator Harkin, Congressman Braley, Congressman Loebsack, Congressman Boswell, Congressman Latham and Congressman King discussing the issues at hand, and how we could all work together to accomplish our common vision. We were addressed as a group by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday for Lunch, and Senator Marco Rubio on Thursday. Without steering this post too political, I can say that it was an extreme honor to hear Senator Rubio speak and the entire crowd listened intently as he displayed a certain sincerity and charisma that definitely points to why he is a rising star in the political realm.

I was honored to be attending as the 2013 incoming President for the Young Professionals Connection. Every time I introduced myself and our organization – people already knew who we were and all the amazing things we are doing. They wanted our opinion and input; they wanted to know how to further connect with the Young Professionals in our community. They want to hear out thoughts, ideas, and input. It was an honor to represent our organization, and while, YES, it felt great to be recognized as a whole for all of our efforts, I realized that with the issues at hand we were discussing– we still have a lot of work to be done, too and our city and community needs us YP’s now more than ever.

Not only did I take away from this trip some incredible new connections, but I got a first-hand experience of the issues affecting our neighbors and businesses in our community. This re-energized me and my mission of helping contribute to the overall success of our community through my actions and leadership and I’m so very grateful for the opportunity to have this experience. I would absolutely , without a doubt, completely advocate anyone taking this trip at least once in their careers, if not making it an annual trip and destination.