A Couple Committed to Community Engagement
29 Oct 2018
Erin Chadwick, Marketing Coordinator for Gage Area Growth Enterprise (NGage), and husband Trevor Chadwick, owner and manager of Brown’s Shoe Fit Co., are young professionals and actively engaged community members. Through their work in either economic development or business management, the Chadwicks understand the importance of maintaining a strong community and encourage other young professionals to follow their lead by taking a more active role in Beatrice and Gage County.
As the Chamber’s 2014 Young Professional of the Year, Erin is, and has been, involved in numerous community organizations, including:
- YPG Leadership Team
- Noon Kiwanis Club
- Chamber Ambassadors
- Night of the Great Pumpkin Committee Co-Chair
- Beatrice Plus Advisory Board
- Sherwood Foundation Community Catalyst Cohort Member
- Leadership Beatrice Class
- Leadership Beatrice Advisory Committee
Trevor is also actively involved in community groups when not managing the store:
- Nebraska Cluster Leader, Brown’s Shoe Fit
- Main Street Beatrice Board President
- City of Beatrice Citizens Advisory Review Committee
- YMCA Foundation Board
- Night of the Great Pumpkin Committee Co-Chair
- Gage County YPG
Young professionals are underrepresented in leadership positions.
Being young professionals with full-time jobs, a business, and two young girls in school, Erin and Trevor keep busy. Still, they choose to be involved. “Having a young professional’s voice on various boards is important to me because there are few young professionals represented overall. I feel that we are at a tipping point in Beatrice, where the leadership that has been in place for years is starting to hand over the reins to younger people in town. The school boards, city and village councils, and county board are just a few of several areas where we need a voice for young professionals and those representing younger families, which is one reason I chose to run for a seat on the Beatrice School Board” commented Erin.
Employer support can help young professionals get involved, run for office, and take a more active role in the community.
We wanted to learn what they felt the biggest challenge was for young professionals, specifically young parents, getting more involved in leadership positions. “The time commitment is the biggest challenge. Volunteering and community involvement is something I am passionate about, so I make time for it. Time is likely a key reason that we haven’t seen as many young professionals run for office or join boards in recent years. Young professionals who have employers that are supportive of their work in the community can often get out during the day to go to a board meeting or volunteer event. It helps when employers recognize the value of employee engagement and their role in making the community better. When employees are involved in the community it benefits their employer by getting the company name out there. It also benefits the employee in that they may feel a better sense of pride in their community as a result of their volunteerism,” Erin explained.
“I am fortunate because I have the support of my employer, NGage,” she said. “I can be involved and find opportunities that align with our mission to grow the Gage County economy.”
Trevor has the support of an assistant manager and a full-time employee when community service calls. “Good help is hard to find, and I’m fortunate to have found it in a couple of outstanding young professionals from the community. They are able to take great care of our customers while I’m out doing volunteer work for other organizations. I hope that my employees see the value of investing in the community and when they own their own stores one day, they will take that knowledge to whatever community they land in.”
Originally from Hutchinson, Kansas, the Chadwicks decided to move to Beatrice to own and operate Brown’s when the opportunity arose. Once here, they quickly became engaged in the community and have been fully invested in Beatrice since then. "We had a choice when we bought the store. We chose to live in Beatrice when we could have chosen to move anywhere else,” commented Trevor. “And we would choose it over and over again," added Erin.
Young professionals are encouraged to share their passion.
Erin and Trevor hope to inspire other Beatrice young professionals to seek out leadership positions or to run for office. Erin suggests starting by identifying where your passions lie. “Do you love art? Are you inspired by working with youth? Is number-crunching your thing? Whatever your interests, there’s likely a volunteer opportunity for you,” she said. “Passion is definitely key. With it, you’re able to give an organization, committee or board your best.”