by Kristy Sturgill
Staff Writer, Clarmoer Progress
Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority is launching a new group for young professionals called Claremore Collective on Jan. 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Will Rogers Memorial. The group is for people between the ages of 21 and 45 who want to develop and work on special initiatives in the community.
“You should get involved if you believe that Claremore is a great place to work, live and play,” said Brandon Irby, executive committee chair of the new organization and Associate Director at CIEDA. “We will be unified as one voice to move the city forward. That is why our tagline for this year is, ‘Together for the city.’”
Claremore Collective is organized into work crews, each with a specific purpose. Each crew holds monthly meetings, organizes initiatives, hosts events and promotes volunteer opportunities.
The association consists of five crews: Arts and Entertainment, Attraction, Development, Government Relations and Next Gen Leadership. Those who join the association can participate in one or more groups by volunteering for initiatives and by attending monthly meetings.
All of the meetings are at the North Block Common on Claremore Main Street.
The development group meets the last Wednesday of every month from 12 p.m. until 1 p.m. Government relations meets the first Friday every month from 12 p.m. until 1 p.m. and Next Gen Leadership meets the first Wednesday every month from 12 p.m. until 1 p.m. The attraction group meets the first Thursday of every month from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. The arts and entertainment group meets immediately after, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and live performances will happen at most arts and entertainment meetings.
The inaugural leadership team consists of Matt Ballard, Carla Battle, Crystal Campbell, Ryan Eaton, Sarah Fiegener, Josh Froman, Brandon Irby, Jeri Koehler, Jacob Krumwide, Ben Lepak, Katelyn Tittle, Chris Walker and Brad Ward.
Chris Walker, the co-crew leader for Next Gen Leadership, said he has been looking to find a way to plug into the things going on in Claremore.
“There was not an organization ready to show anyone what steps they should take and how to get directly involved. It was something I was looking for and so I definitely wanted to be a part of this year’s leadership,” said Walker. “There is such a broad range of things that I think this group is going to accomplish, and it is going to give people a way to take ideas to the next level inside the city.”
The executive director is Crystal Campbell, who organized the renovations at Will Rogers Park and the building of the splash pad. Campbell hosted a focus group in April to see if a young professionals group was needed.
“The focus group was to see if there were people out there who wanted to work together and there was. I am so excited about progress. We have one of the most unique towns. We have a rich cultural past and we want to polish the legacy people have set before us and create something future generations will be proud of,” said Campbell.
Over the last year, Campbell and Irby have been laying the leadership foundation and the organizing the structure of the new organization. They spoke with leaders and members of Tulsa Young Professionals (TYPROS) to gain insight into creating a successful young professionals association.
After the inaugural year, leadership in the association will be a three-year process beginning with involvement in a crew. Nomination for co-crew leader and crew leaders will happen every year. After serving as a crew leader, a member can be nominated to serve as the new executive committee chair-elect.
“We have a broad scope of who wants to get involved, show up to meetings and volunteer on some initiatives,” said Irby.
Irby said an important aspect of launching Claremore Collective required recruiting the first generation of leadership with both experience and the skill to get the organization off to a good start.
“We needed leaders who could push us from the dock and get us sailing. I am very pleased with the leadership that we have assembled for this inaugural year. They represent municipal government, county government, major employers, small business owners and civic organizations,” said Irby.
A goal of the group is to provide opportunities to those wanting to lead and provide a unifying organization for the specified demographic.
“Claremore Collective implies it takes an army and we are better together,” said Irby.
CIEDA is financially supporting the group and considers the association a tool for workforce attainment and attraction. Campbell said she encourages anyone who is interested or curious about the group to come to the launch on January 21.
“We have so many groups and a lot of people doing great things and now they can come together. There are so many wonderful opportunities in our town and the possibilities are almost mind-boggling. I am ready to see the momentum we have and do some great things,” said Campbell. For more information, visit Claremorecollective.com.